Everyone Gets Distracted by Trivial Things. Remington Has a Plan to Stay Focused on What Matters

(Photo by Abyan Athif on Unsplash)

IT WASN'T UNTIL 1879 that man starting using electricity as a source of light. Prior to that, all the way back to Adam and Eve, man lived by the light of fire. And, since 1879, as our life got brighter, our focus got divided — and life became more challenging.


I was in a seminar back in the '80s where the lecturer placed two goldfish bowls out on the table. He then placed five rocks the size of a fist on the table and labeled them God, family, you, work and friends.

He explained that the goldfish bowl was your brain and that those five items are the most important items in your life. He then took the rocks and placed them in the goldfish bowl with the last rock just barely making it into the bowl, and then he looked to the audience and asked if our mind was full. The answer by all was a resounding yes.

He then reached under the table and pulled out a bag of pebbles which he poured into the goldfish bowl that settled in between the spaces of the rocks. He then looked at the audience and asked again, was our mind full? A much shyer and hesitant yes came from the crowd.

Then he pulled out a bag of fine white sand and poured that into the bowl and it settled into the remaining nooks and crannies, and then he looked at the audience and asked, "Is your mind full now?" This time a more reserved yes came from the crowd.

Then reaching under the table for the last time he pulled out a pitcher of water and filled in the remaining areas.

Addressing the class, he began to tell us that even the five most important things in our lives can get covered up by the smallest and most unimportant distractions of our daily lives.

He then took out five more rocks and placed them next to the second goldfish bowl. All five stones were labeled as before. This time he first filled the goldfish bowl with the pebbles, then the sand and lastly the water with the five rocks representing the most important things in our lives on the side. He then said that some people are so full of distractions in their mind that they don't even have room to fit the five most important things in their life into their day. Mind you, this seminar took place before the invention of the PC and all that came afterwards.

How much easier is to get distracted in today's world?

People would tell me that they have a "to do" list however, their "to do" list is usually about work, not about life. I was that person for 20 years after the seminar, having my "to do" list which never really got accomplished because of distractions. It wasn't until 2005 that I had my a-ha moment.

Today, I wake up, go for a walk, read a little passage from the Bible and something from Wallace Wattles, James Allen or any other great thinker. I then meditate in prayer, and then finally I set up my day. Just like an airline pilot who has an 88-point checklist that he or she performs before every flight. Before you take off every morning, make sure you have done your pre-flight plan for your day. Prepare yourself for your best life ever.

Here's my set-up for my day:

I consider my intentions. What do I plan to do with this day or bring forth to the day? This really sets my day up for success.

What am I grateful for? What persons, things, accomplishments do I need to acknowledge? It could be my home, my dog, my spouse, my health, friends anything.

My great "I am's." These are images about me. How do I want people to see me? Strong, loving, forgiving and so on.

What am I going to create today? A new friend, customer, an idea, image. Each day, I limit it to just one thing.

I write these down on a 3x5 index card and carry it with me for the day and, should I feel like I am straying from my agreements, I can pull out my card and get back on track. Having a plan for your day, whether written by candlelight or electric, is setting yourself up for success.

Peter Remington is an executive at Houston CityBook and also a business consultant and life coach. For more information on him and his Prepare 4 More, visit here.

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