Olympic Sized Focus

It’s not the sort of thing that keeps me glued to my TV set, but I have enjoyed watching a bit of the Olympic Games so far.

First, both the artist and planner in me was blown away by the opening ceremony. To have that vision is one thing, to be able to execute it is another. That much technology, that many people – so many things could have gone wrong, but they didn’t. The technology and numbers were intended to impress – and they did – but they were used primarily in service of a beautiful narrative. The committee and the artistic directors could have taken an easier way out, but they chose not to – which to me was much more impressive. To imagine that program was remarkable, to believe it possible was astonishing, to pursue it with without compromise was extraordinary. Beyond the pleasure I took in watching it, it stretched me. If good art helps us too see, perhaps great art helps us to see what is possible.

But, of course, the Olympics are about the athletes. I am amazed by the focus and discipline that has brought them to this time and place. The physical discipline is impressive enough, but it’s the mental focus that really knocks my socks off. To be relatively relaxed and in the moment, shutting out every internal worry and external distraction, and just do your thing as well as you can do it under those circumstances is nearly baffling to me – ’cause whatever that skill or talent is, I ain’t got it. I’m sure I could improve with practice, but that laser-beam concentration they have? I don’t know that I could ever achieve that…

But that laser-beam concentration doesn’t exist without goals – and audacious ones at that. If you want to win gold medals and break world records, single-minded focus is simply what is necessary. Physical prowess alone will never get you there.

Like the artistic directors of the opening ceremony, athletes such as Michael Phelps and Dara Torres have audacious goals, believe them possible, and pursue them without compromise – and, not so surprisingly, attain success from their efforts.

And, in the process, show us what is possible. You can’t help but wonder what the effects of such clarity and concentration would have in your own life…


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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



© 2008 Cairene MacDonald, Third Hand Works. All Rights Reserved.

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