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Many of us have plans for our future; dreams and goals and our own definition of success. If we are steadfast, with work and perseverance, we will reach what we strive for. But then there are the hiccups along the way – the distractions. Are you heading the right way, or are you easily distracted?
What is a distraction? How can we recognize them in our lives?
In order to truly know what a distraction is, we need to get to the root of the word and what it means in our life. Like many words, distraction has more than one meaning and knowing how it applies to you and your path is paramount to freeing yourself from it.
1. a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.
“the company found passenger travel a distraction from the main business of moving freight”
synonyms: diversion, interruption, disturbance, interference, hindrance
“a distraction from the real issues”
2. extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.
“he knew she was nervous by her uncharacteristic air of distraction”
synonyms: frenzy, hysteria, mental distress, madness, insanity, mania
In the first definition, distraction is defined as a thing that prevents us from giving our full attention to something. We are a very easily distracted society today; jumping from one thing to the next without much thought.
We let many little things distract us from getting things done – binging on Netflix instead of cleaning or studying, playing video games instead of socializing, surfing Facebook instead of having meaningful diner conversation with family. I am guilty of all of these and then some! Much like Dug from Up! is distracted by squirrels, we too are easily distracted by things we cannot catch, but we chase after anyway.
Then there are the big distractions. Things that come that you have no control over but completely obscure your view on your path of life. We’ve all experienced these, too. Loss of something or someone like a job, partner, parent. Illness, finances, and actions of others. How many times have you thought or said that you couldn’t do something you really wanted because you didn’t have the money, the time, the freedom? Something was standing in your way; distracting you from the end goal.
I am easily distracted by family matters. I have a ‘fix it and make everyone feel better’ tendency and often find myself very wrapped up in the lives of those I care about. I let their goals as well as their problems keep me from paying attention to my own. I have let the distraction of those things get in my way and block my journey too many times to count, but over the past year I am learning one very important step to avoid distractions:
Stay in my lane. Fight my own traffic. Travel my own road.
Yes, it is hard to stay focused on your life goals when someone you care about is lost on their own highway, but we cannot help them, especially if we cannot help ourselves.
You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog you see. – Winston Churchill
It is worth noting that the second definition of distraction has to do with absence of mind – Mental distress, agitation, nervousness, hysteria and even mania. This type of distraction comes from letting the distraction of definition one take control. We become so distracted by loss, by failure, by the actions of others, that we become distracted in our heads, too. Everything goes to feeding that distraction, because we become consumed by it.
Over the years, I have been consumed by one thing that was not my own. One thing not in my lane. It obstructed my view, addled my brain. I have been living the entire definition of distracted and it is only in finally recognizing it that I can be free of it. Break the entanglements, stay in my lane.
Of course, it is easier said than done. Being free from distractions mean you must retain focus. One step at a time, one day at a time. Keep moving forward, in your own lane, doing your own thing. Look ahead – not behind you, not to the side; rubbernecking into someone else’s lane.
What is distracting you from where you want to be in life?
Only you can recognize it, only you can turn from it. But in order to get to the goal you have set for yourself, turn from it you must.
Instead of living easily distracted, become deeply enthralled in that which you seek. Take the step, free yourself.
Be well, Peaches,