We’ve been in a bit of a renovation mode in our house in recent days, ripping up our carpet and laying down laminate flooring one room at a time. We haven’t been in any sort of a hurry, so we spread the first two room’s worth of work over a little more than a week.
There’s a small segment of the hallway that’s part of the renovation, including the floor just inside the entrance. This space—about five foot square—was covered in floor tile that’s been coming loose from the foundation over the last year. When I got out some tools to remove the tile it came up very easily, leaving a solid layer of mastic behind.
The best tools I had available to remove the mastic was my old framing hammer and a heavy duty chisel borrowed from my father-in-law. I set the blade of the chisel against the mastic and went to work, striking the hammer against the butt of the chisel in order to remove the mastic inch by inch.
In the beginning, I was careful to watch where I was swinging the hammer, ensuring the head impacted the chisel. But as I gained confidence I would get distracted and look down to watch the chisel as it progressed across the floor.
I’m sure you can guess what happened each and every time. I’d invariably wind up smacking my thumb painfully. Why? Because I took my eye off the point of impact.
Where’s Your Focus?
When you’re working toward any sort of goal—getting out of debt, starting your own business, or becoming a better spouse—it’s important to keep your eyes focused on the point that will make the most impact.
Though it sounds counter-intuitive, this almost never means focusing on your ultimate goal. In my mastic removal technique, my goal was to clear off the underlying concrete and create a smooth, level surface suitable for the new laminate flooring. My mistake was focusing on the progress I was making instead of on the action creating that progress—the point of impact.
So let’s say you’re getting out of debt. You need to keep your attention focused where it can do the most good—namely budgeting and using every spare dollar to rid yourself of that debt as quickly as possible. Yes, your ultimate goal is debt freedom, but don’t get distracted and start looking off into the horizon and lose sight of the here and now.
When a desired goal loses its impetus it becomes nothing more than an empty wish.
Where should your focus be at the moment? What is the point in your life which, when given your complete attention, has the greatest impact in moving your toward your goal?
Also published on Medium.
I’m Jeff M. Miller, and I help ordinary people who are stuck in a rut change their behaviors so they can be extraordinary. I’m an entrepreneur who retired from my full-time job in my early 40s to work from home. I’m a financial counselor, life coach, graphic designer, and passionate believer in helping others improve their lives a little more each day.
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