Do you know someone who just clears your head every time you talk with them? I just got off a Skype chat with that person. Her name’s Luminita, aka The Purpose Fairy (definitely check out her blog).
Every time we chat, she gives my soul a breath of fresh air. Today, I confessed to her something I have been struggling a lot with lately. You may have experienced this too. I was learning too much and applying too little. My focus was out of balance.
There are too many things to do and the internet magnifies them x 100. Too many articles to learn. Too many status updates to comment on. Too many funny videos to catch our attention. It’s overwhelming how much information is bombarding our brains every moment. Everything is fighting for our attention.
Here’s a short list of what’s consumed too much of my learning focus lately…
- Story telling
- Self publishing
- How to write short stories
- Search engine optimization
- Website traffic
- Bit coins
- Learning Thai
- Time management techniques
- Ukulele chords
- Body language
- Misc personal growth lists
- Float tanks as a business
- Starting a business in Thailand
- Researching new apartments
- Various meditation techniques
- Everything about Udemy courses
- How millionaires think
- Pickup theory
- And the list goes on…
It’s hard to spot at first. Can you see the problem? All of these topics are great to learn in their own right, but they do not converge. They do not all support each other. They are too fragmented. Additionally, my brain will not hold them all. I am having a Focus meltdown right now.
It’s time to rethink the way I am structuring my experience. My goal is to achieve certain results. Therefore, I need to focus on the skills that complement each other and the goals I want to achieve.
It would be nice to become exceptional in all of those areas listed above, but there is a cost. An unseen cost.
Insanity, loss of self, and minimal results.
Mind your bowl
You may have had similar times in your life when you just kept learning more and more. Adding more and more knowledge into your brain – to the point of overflowing.
Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Tao Te Ching, 9th verse, as translated by Steven Mitchell
These words fell on my ear, as spoken in this beautiful audio of the Tao, while I was laying in bed last night. It struck a chord deep within my soul and I replayed the verse several times.
I had unconsciously been filling my bowl to the brim. Life was spilling everywhere, with little focus. However, learning was not the problem – it was balance.
Balance your experience
I lost the balance between experience and knowledge. Experience is what life is made of. Not articles, training courses, and books. Too much of my focus was entranced by learning “the next new thing.”
I just need to read this one more article then I’ll get it.
This course will solve all of my problems.
After I read this book, I will be an expert.
Guess what. Experts aren’t made from purely consuming content. Experts are made by applying content and producing results in real life.
Luminita, in our chat, reminded me to let go, turn off, and begin experiencing in order to learn. Now I am refocusing. There is no more time to dilly-dally around like this. My awareness has shown me the nature of the problem, and I will do my best to come back to center.
I will focus on these main areas to balance learning and doing.
- More writing!
- Finishing my book.
- Writing more blog posts.
- Writing more guest posts.
- Implementing traffic techniques for my blog.
- Learning website Traffic.
- Learning self publishing.
- Learning Thai.
- Learning to say no.
You can see that I picked things closely related to each other (besides Thai lol). My main goal is to improve my writing and grow my audience. Learning traffic, self publishing, and writing guest posts are all aspects of growing my blog. They support each other. I think it’s important to grow complementary skills like this.
Yes, all the rest of those topics from the first list are still very fascinating, but I need to prioritize and focus on who I want to be. What skills do I want to have as a person? What will it take for me to get there?
Here are my priorities.
- I want to be an author.
- I want to inspire people.
- I want to be a great story teller.
- I want to live on my own terms.
- I want to meet Thai chicks (Priorities, priorities, priorities!).
Focusing, experiencing, and saying no are the keys.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not an expert at this yet. Architecting a life begins with awareness of what’s happening and what you want to happen instead. I have begun to see that my problem is overfilling my cup.
Now I am letting go. Focusing on who I really want to be. And experiencing the application of learning – instead of just learning.
How do you stay balanced?
If you have experienced a similar dilemma in your life and have some tips or ideas for me, please leave a comment below. I’m curious to see how you approach the obstacles of focus and balance in your life goals.