So initially I thought I'd write on some of the brain-stuff surrounding focus.. but then (ironically) my mind went off on a tangent and I ended up somewhere completely different! This is something I enjoy about writing blog posts!
Something my kids have not yet learnt to do (although we should try it soon) is harness the focusing power of a magnifying glass to start a fire, which is the picture that came to mind when thinking of the Jeff Goins quote above: "Focus is.. something you create".
The key thing about starting a fire in this way isn't necessarily the size of the magnifying glass, but about position and patience. If you orient it appropriately to the sun, and if you're patient at sustaining it's focus, then the focussed sunlight heats up the locus point enough to cause ignition. Ideally it's paper or twigs that are being burnt and not small insects!
|My dad's amazing sundial..|
Here is another example of the importance of correct positioning - for a sundial to be accurate, the angle of the gnomon needs to vary depending on latitude.. so to use the sundial in the West Midlands we need to tilt the base accordingly to compensate for our change in latitude! I love the level of thoughtfulness my dad exhibits in the amazing things he makes.
As regular readers will know, recurring themes for me include thinking big and being the best expression of who you are. For both the sundial and the magnifying glass, it's not about how big or small they are, the key point is about positioning. So too in our lives, it's not necessarily how gifted or talented we may or may not be, it's about how we position ourselves to use those gifts and talents to the best effect. When we're doing what we're made by God to do we'll be happier in ourselves and contributing best to the world around us.
|Has your focus diffused?|
On this note, I read a really helpful LinkedIn article by Chester Elton the other week on job-sculpting. The essential premise was that "dream jobs" are rare, but by making small changes to your current situation you can make it more satisfying. I'd encourage you to read the article, but the main questions it asked were: What can I add/alter/delegate?
Not giant questions, but a helpful framework to help you adjust your position - like the magnifying glass - to better effect. Making small changes can make a big difference - as Sir Clive Woodward would say "Doing 100 things 1% better" to make a 100% change.
For me, 1% changes are manageable. In my work, one thing I've been trying to add over the last year is more writing in different forms. I've been able to delegate some technical aspects to make space for this. I'm enjoying my job more as a result.
"So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God." (Ecclesiastes 2:24)
|Need to refocus your magnifying glass?|
Has the sun moved since you last focussed your magnifying glass? Or maybe your life is in a different place now than when you set up your sundial. Either way, to create (or re-create) focus, it might be time to assess your position again - are there small things to add, alter or delegate?
I'd love to hear from you - if this post has been helpful, why not share some things you plan to add, alter or delegate in the comments box below?
Thanks for taking the time to read Life Under the Magnifying Glass. If you've enjoyed it please share it with your friends on social media! Why not subscribe to The Potting Shed Podcast on iTunes for the audio version and much more (direct RSS feed is here).
I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org