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Wrong Obsessions

The number one killer of creativity is distractions and dealing with life’s challenges requires a lot of creativity.

Recently, I spotted my young son Andrew running on our couch. Andrew said he was getting in the required daily four thousand steps because his Fitbit device said he was behind. He was so serious about the arbitrary goal that it worried me a bit. I didn’t think a Fitbit should be dictating Andrew’s daily activity, so I took the device away and suggested he focus instead on school, friends, being a big brother and, well… being a kid.

It got me thinking about how easy it is to let random things distract us. In this era, few of us can escape distractions. Our attention is constantly being pulled in so many directions it’s tough to focus on our life’s mission.

And while the news can often present a compelling storyline, even following macro-issues in the economy or politics can leave us feeling powerless. Sooner or later, we project those negative feelings onto our lives, creating even more distractions. It’s a downward-spiraling feedback loop leading inevitably to ennui.

And it doesn’t stop there. The moment we step outside we are bombarded by flashing marketing messages promising us a better life if we just buy this latest luxury car or wear the latest fashion brand (which looks exactly the same as the last brand). These messages keep us distracted from improving our lives and only hook us with an obsession for gaining useless material goods.

The last year was full of distractions. But we are still not focusing on the right things.

Instead of focusing on getting back to normal after Covid-19, some people worry the mask mandates will rob them of freedom or they believe a false narrative that the government has bungled the vaccine.

This kind of thinking is alien to me. Throughout the pandemic my only concern was to avoid catching something that could, you know, kill me. I am just as cautious as the next person, but there’s a huge world of difference between prudent hesitancy and stubborn defiance.

I am a keen observer of humans and I have noticed the key to success is about focusing on the right parts of life. It requires constantly improving no matter where you are. Getting trapped in the cobweb of ridiculous obsessions only dampens our ability to achieve success. We must give our goals the attention they deserve.

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