The Joker said famously in The Dark Knight (2008), “Why so serious?” And this just about sums us up, doesn’t it? Many of us get so bound up in our fear, a.k.a. worry, stress and anxiety—using our inappropriate coping mechanisms to get through, to boot—we get sucked into a whirlwind of misery, which often times we can’t readily extract ourselves from. This leads to even more misery—it just comes in a different shaped box.
Our problem simply surrounds focus or lack thereof.
By simply not focussing enough—not being disciplined enough—not being selective enough—we’re won to any vast number of things that have nothing to do with us and our true purpose in life. We get trapped; sometimes without even being aware. It’s not hard to become distracted in this crazy world. In fact, that’s the default. Choose anyone; ten-to-one they’re fractured, busy, tired, stressed, annoyed; feeling helpless and hopeless—a good part of the time at least. It’s what we come to expect to see. Everyone’s “busy,” after all.
But busy doing what? Does it matter?
Of course it matters. Everything we do (and don’t do) matters. When we’re miserable it matters! If we don’t learn to fight back at these feelings of hopelessness they’ll take us away on a current, swept out to the sea named Chaotic Insanity.
Cutting to the chase then, our focus is at the centre of our satisfaction of life. This is not happiness, though it could be viewed that way. When we’re appropriately focused, two good things happen. Firstly, we have our minds occupied—they’re distracted from the distractions. We don’t have the time, awareness or inclination for fear and anxiety. The opportunity for it evaporates. Phew!
Secondly, we are positively striving for a goal—and it could be basically anything we want to chase, but certainly something meaningful. Light-bulb moment: this is a classic reason why goal-setting is so fundamental to good living—it centres and focuses our thought. It gets us prepared for the taste of victory. Winning—especially personal battles—always tastes good!
The golden lesson in life is we have the ability, even the propensity, to focus; and if we don’t focus on good, positive things, our minds get busy on something else “worthy” of our concern, even if it brings a triple-hassle factor with it. Our minds don’t discriminate; they just want to be kept active. You control it or it will control you. Not such a difficult choice now, is it?
It would be just as easy for us to focus on a positive thing as a negative thing. We must therefore pick goals—active things—with which to focus on; something worthy of our thought, effort and commitment; and something positive.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.