I have a hard time focusing on anything for an extended period of time. Usually, I am distracted by new psychological findings, random science facts, or trivial pursuit-esque knowledge. I have a brief attention span and consciously expose myself to vulnerable environments. While the specific contents of these external stimuli vary, their methods are similar. Thus, I’m still living and learning a habitually distracting lifestyle. (i.e. I like
to read blogs. While I read up on different subjects, I am still doing
one activity, reading blogs).
Enter learning new things that force you to use a different part of your brain. Enter video games. I learned to play video games for an extended period last weekend. Specifically, I played Wii Mario Kart for a few hours.
I had to learn to drive all over again. The purpose of the game is to drive as quickly as possible to your destination. In the process, you have opponents who want to squirt you with squid-juice, throw bombs at you, and trip you with other wily devices. It was difficult enough to stay on the road and turn early enough at the sharp corners, I had no time to notice what items I had picked up or where the other drivers were located. I was still learning to drive,
so I just focused on driving. Over and over again, I focused on improving to drive, and ignored things that jumped across the around. After a few rounds, I noticed my driving progressively improve. However, I still haven’t gotten to the point where I can notice what objects I pick up.
Enter real life. It would be a stretch to perfectly compare life with video games. However, something became apparent through this experience. When you’re learning something for the first time, it’s a struggle to grab everything. Instead, you can focus on learning the fundamentals, which are likely 50% of what you need to know. But once you’re proficient in the fundamentals, it’s pertinent to retain that mindset of learning the main things and not to get distracted by peripheral distractions. Because that’s when I stop improving and only feel that I’m growing in knowledge about the game. (i.e. you know the name of that player?
Yeah, I do…. (uh, so what?)) And for me, that’s key. I’m beyond learning the basic fundamentals. But there are advanced fundamentals to be conquered and I need to learn to filter out the side distractions and the things that run onto your screen temporarily (both metaphorically in video games and in real life).
Sometimes, proverbs say it best.
“The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing.” -German Proverb