In the age of news shorts, 10 second video clips, vanishing snap-chats, 20 minute food deliveries and 45 second blog posts (does the last one seem familiar? 🙂 ), it is no surprise that our collective patience levels have dropped considerably.
With such limited patience, it is hard to stay focused. Jack Ma of Alibaba fame gives the example of a task that requires catching 1 out of 9 rabbits in a room. Easier said than done, as the furry fellows scramble like mad across the room. The difficulty arises because the catcher keeps shifting focus from one rabbit to the next depending on how close the rabbit is. If one jumps away, the catcher locks in to the next, and then the next, eventually ending up with none.
Our daily lives too tempt us with multiple opportunities. This work, that work, this book, that book, this song, that song, this class, that class, this movie, that movie, learning this, learning that, this restaurant, that restaurant. Oh so many options!
It would help to lock targets on one rabbit, on one task, and expend energies on that goal, for that period of time. Multi-tasking is good, but 60 minutes dedicated to one task followed by 60 minutes to another is always better than 60 minutes of attention simultaneously allocated to ten tasks (rabbits).
Interestingly, we never lose focus when watching Netflix or our favourite sports games, do we? Nothing wrong in taking some time off to enjoy these at all. But also good to remember, that in a way, we are paying to watch these people do their jobs. How many people are paying to watch us do ours? The stars and celebrities got to where they are by focusing on their lives and building their skills. We should do the same, till we get a paying audience.