The Art of Distraction
by Stacy McKenna
It’s amazing to me how creative I can be when I’m procrastinating. Who knew how clean and organized your office and home can get when a dreaded deadline is hovering above? Here I am, once again, stricken with a fierce case of “Student Syndrome”: Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow? -‐ that has my creative flow blocked. Or has it? Ironically, in my frustration of not focusing on my writing, I realized how wildly creative I am in perfecting the art of distraction. And, furthermore, how it has prompted me to write about it. I mean, really, who can’t relate to procrastination and being distracted when we live in a world where we are constantly and consistently being bombarded with stimuli day in and day out. The “pings” of a new email or text message are far more familiar to us than the sound of our own breath. Sad, but alas, a true story.
So where I am going with this, you ask? It’s hilarious to me that you think I know. Did you not just read the first paragraph? I’m on a deadline and completely unfocused and distracted (ping!...as I receive another text message). Divine timing, wouldn’t you say?
All kidding aside, it’s in our perception of the way we see life that makes all the difference. It was my simple change in perception that has my fingers hitting this keyboard, rather than the usual beating myself up for not writing as yet another day comes to a close. So what did my perception change to? And how does one do this? Well, whilst pulling my usual crap of “let me just check my gmail account, then I’ll start….” I came upon a beautiful and inspiring email from one of my clients. Not only is he moving full throttle towards the life of his dreams, but he wants to set up more sessions with me to continue this momentum of dreaming big, stepping outside his comfort zone and expanding himself and thus, his life. I must admit this is not a rare occasion, but I do believe that receiving this email in that moment was no coincidence. You see, just minutes prior I was frustrated and feeling small and upon reading his email, the little voice inside me proclaimed with a resounding boom: “How dare you be stingy with your gifts!” And then it hit me. What was I actually focused upon? Well, let’s see…What I wasn’t doing, what I wasn’t getting done, what I was lacking in, the time I was wasting, etc. You see, the frustration and self-‐loathing always formidably breeds when we are focused upon what we don’t want. In fact, when we do this, we get more of the same and the sense of dread lies heavily upon us like a cold tombstone.
It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.
– Lucille Ball
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.
– Anne Frank
You see, I believe, we are all here to share our gifts. Do you know what yours are? First, get clear on them. Think about the times when you feel exhilarated and passionate. Pay attention to the things that you could, with reckless abandon, talk about or do effortlessly and tirelessly. If you’re still stuck ask a close friend who doesn’t ever hold back (thankfully, all of us has one of those friends), “What do you think I’m really good at? When do you think I shine the most?”
Once you are clear on your gifts, give them away. Over and over and over again. If you make people laugh make it a point to give the gift of laughter every day. If you’re awesome at playing an instrument, play a piece or song every day. Whatever gifts you have, commit to carving out a little time each day to bask in it/them and in doing so not only will you feel better, but also your life will begin to expand. How so? It is by focusing on what brings us joy that joy is created. What you put out into the Universe will always come back to you exponentially. It’s Universal Law. It’s Quantum Physics. It’s that simple.
So I asked myself: “ What IS working?”” What am I being really good at today?” And in that moment, not only did a tremendous smile come over my face, but a new idea to write about effortlessly dropped into my lap. Why not write about this experience I was having and how easily one can shift because of a shift in perception? My shift in perception was realizing that just because I wasn’t working on my deadline doesn’t mean I wasn’t being creative. In fact, I was being creative as all hell with a plethora of ways to distract myself! Once I acknowledged myself for actually being creative I sat at my desk, opened up my MacBook and began writing this little ditty to share with all of you.
So what gifts do you possess that you are being stingy with? How many excuses have you come up with that have your passions lying upon a dust-‐ridden shelf? Are you focused on what you don’t want/what’s not working and feeling suffocated by the burden of doing so? Here’s a novel idea…choose to make time for your dreams, instead of excuses.
Do you want to hear the really good news? You have a choice. You can change your perception in an instant. And in that instant, you can change your life.