Focus in a World Full of Noise

A great example of how difficult focus can be is how I spent 40 min on YouTube before I actually started writing this article. It can be so hard to concentrate when there are fun and easier alternatives surrounding us. Video games, movies, YouTube, anything can be more enticing as it doesn’t require as much effort and can be incredibly fun. Goals and dreams can be so hard to achieve when there are so many fun distracting alternatives that provide immediate gratification.

But how does someone maintain focus? How does someone keep working towards their goal when so much of the world is designed to keep us distracted? I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately. My friends and I had recently gotten back into League of Legends. It’s fun, it’s easy to spend hours on it, and it’s pretty addictive. It got to the point where I wanted to get better at the game more and found myself playing rather than actually writing or drawing. My workflow was completely ruined and my thoughts went more toward learning the game rather than improving my writing and drawing skills. How do you not lose yourself to something easier and fun when your goals feel daunting and difficult in comparison?

The best way I can think of to overcome this hurdle is to not avoid the distraction completely, but incorporate it into your schedule. I think it works to varying degrees for people. For myself, I realized I’m not the type to be able to quit something cold turkey, especially if it’s something I really enjoy doing. It’s the battle between work and fun where a balance is hard to maintain. Lean towards work too hard and the inevitable feeling of burnout creeps in. Work becomes dreadful and difficult where it should feel rewarding. Lean towards fun too much and life feels almost frivolous and meaningless. While it’s enjoyable, there’s the encroaching feeling of wasting life away without achieving something meaningful. Balancing that distracting noise is key but definitely harder said than done.

There is so much willpower needed for this mentality however. I can’t look back with satisfaction on the weekends where all I’ve done is play games. I chose to distract myself and play excessively rather than hone my own skills and work towards my goals. I leaned far too hard into having fun and enjoying the momentary fun. But I think this regretful attitude is also a trap in a sense. It’s easy to spiral into a self-defeating mentality with each setback. All we can really do is acknowledge it and try to move on, try to learn from it rather than dwell on it. I hope that in the future I rebuild and maintain the discipline I had cultivated to further my goals of being a writer and an artist.

– Raphael

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