What do you hold most dear? Something that you could possibly not be able to live without? Is it an heirloom? A gift? Cars? Clothing? Jewellery?
How do we define what is most important to us? Something that is so unique and giving, that we begin to use the word precious in order to solidify the gravity of its existence? An inanimate object that does nothing. Most of the time even interacting with it won’t do much. Perhaps the item is a physical connection to an action or a memory. Or a representation of a loved one long gone.
At a pretty young age, I discovered that materials was a temporary thing. They could break, be stolen or taken away from me. And that anything tangible in this world to me, was also tangible to someone else and therefore always had the potential to cause disappointments. But just as material items was a temporary thing, so was happiness. Happiness was temporary because life was temporary. Nothing would last forever, and that was what created value for all things that brought joy or lessons to be learnt.
The problem was then, how to keep a constant stream of happiness as it was something that would never last. That it had to continuously be created in order to be enjoyed.
I discovered that you had to work for it. And that effort was required to maintain a constant stream of happiness. You couldn’t just do some work and then expect that to last. For as long as you wanted happiness, you had to work for it. And this kind of work required focus. Without focus, are you working? Without a line of sight to the end game, is there any kind of change that would actually warrant happiness? Or was it just wasting energy?
There is a difference between focused work and working for the sake of working. And that is energy wasted vs energy spent. And only one of those is going to maintain a constant stream of happiness.
I lost my focus. Growing up, there isn’t much to focus on. You have school, friends and your family. The future lingers as a shadowy thought, but nothing that can take you away from the good times to be had. As you get older, more and more responsibilities tend to pile up and things begin to clutter and cause you to lose the focus. That shadowy thought melds into the dark as if it never was. Only with a clear goal can you maintain that focus, and I had lost it.
I fell into the ‘realism’ trap. The trap that used fear to control me telling me I had to give up the things I would enjoy in order to do the things that was necessary in order to live a decent life. Except that was the ultimate lie. I had even begun to believe it thinking that I actually enjoyed the tasks I was performing. And to some degree I did and still do. But not as a living. Not for someone else. And certainly not in an environment where self-expression was never going to be a thing. I had lost the focus to change the world through expression and instead do the things that would make me money and only money.
Losing this focus, I lost my happiness. And this didn’t happen instantly. It took years to manifest until it took hold and nearly destroyed everything. It got so bad I began questioning my existence entirely, wondering what the point was to anything when you had no fire to live with. And make no mistake, there has to be fire. Because without it, there is either denial or an early death. And neither of those were an option for me.
And here we are with you reading what my fire has created. I’m back to doing something I love, and while it isn’t easy to change your entire career much less your life to suit the focus recovered, I have noticed how much less I hate myself. I have noticed how much more I want to be awake first thing in the morning. I have realized how much more I am willing to work.
Having the kind of focus that no one can break so that you can do and build the things you want for your life and future is about as rare of a gem as it gets. And there is nothing that will match that. Ever. Build your focus until what you love to do becomes your living. And then do that for the rest of your days and adjust as necessary.
Focus is the most precious thing I have ever lost and I will not allow that again. It cost me 10 years of my life and some would say that it was not lost, but adjusted its course in order for me to gain the experience necessary to propel further forward then ever before.
And while that may be true I know one thing is for certain. I understand the value of focus now and it will be never lost again.