The Myth of Focus

dog on road trip

Day Three: 2017 Novel Writing Road Trip Insights

Road trips are great contemplative times.  As I took over driving from Nevada to Utah, I turned off the radio and just thought!  My husband Mike slept peacefully up against the door of our Prius. (Our car is too packed to move the seat back.)
In the quiet of the car, I suddenly started to wonder which direction I was going.  I knew I was on I-15 North, but sometimes roads labeled east actually go south, so I couldn’t be sure at this precise moment what direction I was traveling. The sun was overhead, so that didn’t help. I didn’t want to fiddle with the dashboard to find the map with the compass on the screen, so I just kept driving not knowing if Denver was ahead or on my right (so to speak). It was all fine, of course, but when Mike woke up and told me we actually were going north, everything felt much better. Once I knew I was going north for sure, it put everything else in perspective. I could visualize the map. I could feel Denver to the east;I knew where home was; I could even estimate how many miles were left to reach our summer road trip goal. It was the label that helped!

Billie and Mike at the San Rafael’s, Utah

Let’s face it.  Our businesses, our projects, never have one focus, one direction. The plural of focus (foci) is an awkward word maybe because of the nature of focus itself. Sometimes we feel guilty about not focusing on one thing. But in life we have many “centers of attention.” What if we would put a label on each?  What if we visualize each of the important issues of our life as a direction we are going at one particular moment. If we give a label to each, we might not feel so scattered or pulled or guilty. It doesn’t matter the meaning of the label we use, it’s just a label. For example, if my unfinished novel is labeled north; the marketing of my children’s book, south; my short story ‘zines on Etsy, east; and this road trip blog “west,” I might not feel that I’m skimping on one aspect in favor of another. I’m just traveling one direction, however brief, until I turn in another.

There are those of us who never focus on one task at a time.  My mother was on e.  She’d start washing the dishes , suddenly stop and begin vacuuming. She’d stop vacuuming and comb her hair. This went on all day long.  You get the idea.  I don’t think my mother ever felt she needed to focus. She must just have liked taking the winding road through her day.

…Just a little thought along the road in Utah.

Do You Stop Short of Success?

Do you tend to stop just short of success

Boycott “Shortstops”

Do you stop short of success? Funny I should ask! Today is March 15th. I’ve been working for two weeks on a St. Patrick’s Day marketing idea that would bring people to my website to buy my little children’s book, “Lucky, the Left Pawed Puppy”. I have left myself a whopping two days for promotion.

This article won’t be long because I do realize I’m writing this instead of doing my other work. But this is what I always do. I stop just this short of success, and maybe you do too.  But I’m not going to do that today. screenshot Irish Memory Match Game for St. Patrick's Day

Your Past May Be Present 

So where did this new discipline of mine (if it kicks in soon) come from? Google, of course, is the answer. I simply searched and found two wonderful articles that might help you if you’re a “stopper” like me. The first piece, “The Fear of Success” was written by Dr. Susanne Babbel for Psychology Today, resonated with me the most. Dr. Babbel discusses the surprising link between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and fear of success. She addresses, as well, the avoidance of situations that might “get our hopes up. Sound familiar?

The second article, “Fear of Success: Do You Have One Of These 6 Symptoms?” will be helpful in identifying whether or not you fall into this “un-merry” band of brothers (and sisters). There are also insightful questions at the end of the article which just might propel you towards the success you really do want.

I’ll be off now tweeting my promotion because a St. Patrick’s Day marketing scheme just can’t wait until Easter.




Learn Almost Anything, Anytime, for Less Than a Few Venti Frappuccinos

Full Disclosure: I have absolutely NO connection to this website other than having taken classes at the website mentioned in this article.

screen shot of art classes at udemyWhen I was searching craigslist for someone who might do a professionally looking video for me, I found a young videographer who was interested in taking on my project. “First,” he told me, “try some of the classes on udemy.com. They’ll be a great guide for you before starting your kickstarter video and they’re really inexpensive – $10, $20.
I ended up deciding not to go with kickstarter,” but I did find Udemy. I’m not in love with the name “udemy”; it’s hard to remember and people don’t catch it when you tell them about this great offering.  However, I am in love with the classes! You can find hundreds of interesting, informative, and well-produced courses on this website – everything from writing a novel to software development. You can even find “Happiness Classes” under “Personal Growth”. Just use the search bar within the website and you might happen upon something you’ve been looking for for a long time!

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Three Simple Words to Save Face in Election Year 2016 or Any Other Time of Your Life

handsome man looking embarrassed
By November 8, 2016, or possibly before, there is going to be a need for a few people, if not millions, to save face. The conventions are over at the date of this posting, and the debates haven’t started. Whether you're Democrat, Republican, Independent, or any other party, there are several scenarios that can play out in the next few months that can cause many of us to have a reason to save face, preserve our dignity, and regain credibility for the proclamations and predictions we made to friends and family about this election. "Donald Trump will never make it to election day." "Hillary will reverse her decision on TTP". "The Millennials simply won't turn out to vote." 

But this year's election aside, in our everyday interactions, there are times that we make proclamations or take stands with our friends, neighbors, family, and our spouses based on our psychological needs. Why did we have to negate a friend's idea or suggestion? "Oh, I really didn't like the Jason Bourne movies - way too violent for me." Is a statement like this made out of some need to prove our exceptional moral character? Or what about a seemingly innocuous statement, "Hybrid cars are such a good environmental choice," spoken to our cousin who we know loves her Chevy Suburban? Or more importantly, what about our interactions with our spouses? "If you weren't so stubborn, I wouldn't have yelled" - a statement skirting responsibility for our own actions. 

But no matter what the reason for our very human tendency to often revert to the less noble part of ourselves, when our choices or proclamations have been proven to be psychologically needy or unsound or based on illogical conclusions or false assumptions; if we have acted in a way that is embarrassing on a small-scale or a large-scale, there are simply three words that can go a long way in helping us save face:

I WAS WRONG!

Depending on the situation you might want to add a sentence or two in front or in back of this statement.  If you're going for humor, you can add: "What was I thinking?  I must have been on drugs." If your actions directly affected another person, you will want to add a sincere apology: "I'm so sorry."  It doesn't matter whether our positions were of little consequence, as in our opinion about a movie or a restaurant, or of huge consequence, as in action taken against another.  Whenwe say these three words,  "I was wrong,"  we honor not only the other person, but ourselves as well.