Attention To Distraction Is Attention Wasted

Trying to solve the world’s problems is a great distraction from doing the work that actually matters.

Every moment spent trying to fix the world outside of our reach is time, energy, and attention not given to our personal lives, our relationships, and our community.

Every moment spent focused on perceived problems beyond our control or influence is time, energy, and attention not given to our calling, our purpose, and our unique contribution to the world.

Our families need us, our communities need us, and our dreams needs us.

Time is fleeting. Energy misspent is easily exhausted. Attention is precious, limited, and non-retrievable once given away.

We must not waste what we have on that which we cannot affect.

There is nothing out there that needs our effort, our attention, our thoughts, our feelings, or our insight more than our loved ones do, more than our communities do, or more than our work does, whether our work is personal, communal, creative, or some combination of these.

In order to give our time, energy, and attention to something or someone, we must turn away and take it away from something or someone else.

This should be a conscious, measured, and intentional decision not an accidental and careless distraction.

Our limited resources should not be wasted on problems or people that did not or do not want or need our help, especially if we cannot actually help them.

We cannot contribute to, collaborate with, or create that which matters most if our focus is being given to every next, loudest distraction that comes our way.

The distractions will not stop. The onus is on us to pause, turn away, and refocus.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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