Do you ever have a goal or a path that you want to follow but no matter what you do, how much planning or thought you put into it you can’t seem to get there?
Whatever it is you’re working towards, great things take time. And time is a precious commodity today. There are a million things competing for your time and your attention everyday and it’s easy to let your self get distracted from working towards those goals.
So maybe that’s your problem, you tell your self that you don’t have time to pursue this goal. Life is too hectic and crazy to give it your full attention. Maybe friends, family, and social obligations are getting in the way, or you’re too busy at work or school and don’t have time for anything else, or you need time to take care of yourself; work out, relax, watch TV, etc. These are all valid and important ways to spend your time but the truth is they’re distractions. Distractions from your goals, from feeling fulfilled, and reaching your full potential. Turning a plan into action is a very difficult thing to do and it takes incredible determination and focus.
In Buddhism there are two sets of mind, dog mind and lion mind. Imagine you’re standing in front of a dog holding a bone. The dog’s looking at the bone and you’re moving the bone around, up and down, left and right and the dog’s eyes follow the bone. The dog doesn’t look at you or notice what else is going on in the room, he only sees the bone. If you were to throw the bone into the corner of the room the dog would go chasing after it as if he didn’t have a choice.
Now, for what ever reason, imagine you’re standing in front of a lion, holding the same bone. The lion sees the bone, but he also sees you, a bigger bag of bones. As you move the bone around the lion is aware of it’s movements but he’s not really following them. If you were to throw the bone the lion probably wouldn’t chase after it. He might turn his head and look at it but then we would set his sights back on you.
In these two scenarios the bone represents the distractions in our lives and we can either be like the dog, chasing every distraction that gets thrown our way. Or we can be like the lion, observe everything carefully, choose which bones we want to go chasing after, and always keep our eyes on the bigger picture.
Over the last few years I’ve come to realize my priorities in life and what is truly important to me and that’s really helped me decide how and what I want to focus my energy on. But recently I’ve become distracted from my big picture goals. Or rather, I’ve let myself follow silly little distractions too often. And these little distractions, while sometimes they might be fun at the time, aren’t fulfilling and they keep me from feeling like I’m moving forward in life.
So, one of my NEW goals is to cut down on distractions so I can work more towards my big picture goals and use my time in fulfilling meaningful ways. Now, I don’t want this to sound like I’m never going to meet my friends for drinks again, or stop watching Netflix, or going to concerts or other things I love. But I want to, I need to, start noticing and becoming aware of what’s distracting me and choose the bones I chase more carefully. It’s never a good thing to get too caught up in work or goals and loose sight of perspective and other things that are important. Because life is so much more than goals and work and like with everything else it’s about finding balance. And in this case its a balance between the things you have to do, want to do, and what distracts you from them.