You’re a creative person with a giving heart and big dreams. You want to be happy and successful, give back to others, and leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren. But, you don’t even know how to stay focused long enough to complete one task or check off one goal, let alone a life’s worth.
Focus is a multi-armed monster, and today’s arm is the concept of your quiver full of arrows. Archers keep their arrows in a bag called a quiver; they pull one arrow at a time, set in on the shelf of the bow, nock the arrow to the string, and focus on their target. To focus on what they’re hoping to hit, they silence the noise around them. They carry nothing with them that doesn’t improve their chances of success.
You, with all your dreams and talents have many things you like, movies you watch, people with whom you associate, and distractions; you must learn to quiet the noise. Turn down the volume of your life and only allow in people and things that will help you hit your target. The only things in your quiver must be things that will help you succeed.
I’m a football fan. I enjoy watching football and if I allow myself I can indulge in all of the talk that surrounds the game, teams, and players. From sports radio and tv channels to football Twitter accounts and friends and family, there’s no shortage of ways to satiate my football indulgence. This football season however, I have opted out. I decided to say no to all things sports related in the name of focusing. I am learning how to stay focused.
There’s nothing wrong with football, sports, or entertainment, but to remain focused, my quiver can contain only things that help me hit my target. Just because there’s nothing wrong with it doesn’t mean it’s something I need to spend time on right now. Besides, the athletes I’d be watching are already living their dreams. I, however, am not yet, and therefore must focus.
Before you decide that an inability to focus is your problem, make sure it’s not just a lack of target clarity. If you know exactly what your one (and only one at a time) target is, then focus begins by checking your quiver.
What’s in your quiver? If you have your sights set on a goal, a specific target, what you allow in your life’s quiver must not only help you hit your target, but it must not draw you farther from your target.
The more detractors and distractions you allow, the farther your target gets and the harder it becomes to focus.The more distractions you allow, the farther your target gets & the harder it is to focus.
My example of football is a simple one because I can simply remove the people and things (arrows) that have to do with football and replace them. For you, whatever your target, removing the arrows may mean literally cutting off friendships, turning off your phone or notifications, or giving up something you enjoy for a short time.
The quiver test- does it help me hit the mark? Not will it in the future or could it possibly? Answer in one second, does it right now help you reach your goal? If there’s hesitation or the answer is no, remove it. You can justify why you should keep it/them all you want, but lying to yourself only hurts you.
Our world is loud and our lives are noisy. From notification lights and sounds, to people who won’t be quiet, our days are full of distractions. It is your job to filter the noise and fill your quiver, meaning equip yourself and fill your life, with only the people and things that will help you hit the bullseye. Once you do, you’ll have time to indulge in those distractions before setting up to hit the next target.
Focus is about deciding what’s important, consistently reminding yourself of your target, keeping your goal in mind, and training your thoughts and actions to do only the things associated with the task before you.