So here I sit in the car, Joanne my wife is inside the store getting our usual weekend dairy fix. For her, no doubt ice cream, double scoop vanilla macadamia nut and chocolate. For me, easy same thing as it has been for as long as I can remember, vanilla surf shake (basically double everything!).
Yes we frequently visit the icon that is Jim’s Milk Bar, Newcastle.
But the story isn’t about our delight of the dairy kind the story is about the six (6) young men walking out of the apartment block across the street. Each of them, eye and mind buried in the information that is emanating from the screen of their mobile phones.
A closed front door causes quite an obstacle when you are not paying attention to where you are going. But no where near as much as the bus stop sign they all walk into and land butt first on the ground.
By this time I am in hysterical laughter, tears roll down my cheeks, not so much at their misfortune, but more because of their stupidity.
We all at various times in our lives have either attempted to or have been instructed to “narrow our focus” and in many situations a narrowed focus can be hugely advantageous. But not all!
Any high achiever will tell you that being able to switch between narrow to wide focus, internal to external focus and all points in between is a must. It is a skill that requires both training and awareness, it is an attribute that can and will bring with it immense benefit.
By themselves, neither wide external or narrow internal or the complete opposite will deliver in each and every situation. However, the ability to recognise the need and the capability to switch between the two parameters probably will.
The problem for me is the modern day mobile phone narrows focus, and although there is advantage in this, it can also create tunnel vision and therefore take away our opportunity for peripheral awareness. When we narrow our focus we can undoubtedly see a clear path infront of us, however do it too much and for too long and that path soon becomes too familiar. We become bored with what we see, the little detail, those small variances, the intricacies that can provide advantage are missed.
And because of our extended practise of narrowed focus, we also miss the critical information that is going on around us. Change in conditions, a different game being played, new opposition, stronger competition, a change of circumstance, increased opportunity.
By switching between wide and narrow, internal to external focus we expose ourselves to all information, insight and understanding. Yes to some degree, all of this information could cause a level of confusion. However this confusion is because of too much information and is way better than decisions made on limited or incorrect information.
Open your eyes and your ears, expose yourself to a wider focus and explore the spectrum of variables, possibilities and opportunities.
And as you do make sure you avoid the bus stop signs and that…
The Journey Continues!