I remember playing Quake 3 a long time ago on a few of the maps for the game that were situation in “space” with small bridges interconnecting between the different areas of the map. For anyone who remembers playing these maps, they knew that not only did you get a point for killing an opponent but you also lost a point for falling off the map (and falling to your death below in the “void”). For those who understood the basics of these maps, they soon realised that the normal strategy of killing as many opponents as possible wasn’t the most important thing. Instead staying on the map and avoiding falling off was actually the more important goal. Often if you could just stay on the map, you’d have a far higher score than those who continually fell off or got bumped off, as some would even have negative scores from falling so may times.
Why I’m bringing this up is that I’ve been realizing more and more in my life that distractions are what keeps me from achieving what I want. Again, I’m noticing that the strategy isn’t so much to focus on your goals (which is still important of course) but to instead to focus on avoiding the pitfalls of distraction along the way to achieving your goals. This is doubly important today as there are so many wonderful distractions out there to lure us away from our goals like sirens calling out to sailors to lead them to their doom.
Here’s a quick example of what I mean. Back in the nineties, I worked for a cybercafe that had a lot of great people working there and I loved their company, as we’d often sit and discuss various things of interest during the slow points of the day. In addition, during our breaks we had the opportunity to play the latest computer games on the machines there. In effect, there were a lot of enticing and enjoyable aspects to the job. However, one of the owners of the place was probably one of the worst bosses I’ve ever had in my life. He talked to people like they were two year olds who had no concept of what they were talking about, no matter their previous experience. In addition, he was constantly rude to staff and even to customers at times (yet I’m sure he never realized this).
Anyways, the point I’m trying to make here is that it was only when I decided I would no longer partake of playing on the computers, in other words avoid the enjoyments and distractions of the job, that I was able to focus on actually getting out of that job and finding another one. Previous to that point, no matter how hard I tried to focus, I always got distracted by the enjoyments of the job and always felt that “well, it actually isn’t that bad” when in fact, yes it really was that bad. Again, how I achieved my goal was not so much focusing on it but instead focusing on avoiding the distractions along the way (which in turn kept me from achieving my goal).