You’ve probably heard people say that if you have goals you want to accomplish in your life, you need to look at those goals in relation to how you’re actually spending your time and adjust accordingly. The theory is that if you say you want to be a singer, for example, but are spending most of your time watching television rather than practicing or recording, in noticing this supposed conflict you can dispense with the distraction and redirect more energy towards pursuing your goal of singing.
This is a totally valid concept – we can certainly allow ourselves to be taken off of our path out of fear, especially when we’re talking about a potentially delicate thing like creative expression – but if you’ll indulge me for a moment, may I present another possible interpretation of such distraction?
What if you are, in fact doing exactly what you want to be doing? What if what you think you want isn’t what you actually want and, rather than resisting your “distraction”, it’s more about parlaying it into something more fulfilling?
So, let’s look at the watching TV all day thing – something many of us can fall prey to for any number of reasons. Maybe we’re searching for inspiration. Maybe we’re legit tired or overwhelmed and need a break. Maybe it is a real distraction because you’re afraid that your practicing or whatever project you’re “supposed” to be engaged in isn’t going to work out somehow. Totally been there.
But what if it’s something else? When you’re in this mode, I invite you to take a conscious approach to it to see if there might be some wisdom or insight there for you. What kinds of shows are you watching? Cop dramas? Sit coms? Cooking or baking shows? Can you pinpoint what in particular you might be attracted to about those shows? Ha! I just wrote “shoes” down by accident and if I hadn’t caught it, y’all would be, “Wait. When did she start talking about shoes?” Anyway, have a look at that. Do you love all the medical procedures and terminology in your hospital dramas? Do you love the character development? Do you love the witty dialogue in your comedy?
In being aware of your thoughts during these moments of distraction, you may discover some new things about yourself. It might be providing insight into some new elements you want to bring into your life. I love watching baking shows not only because I have a sweet tooth – believe me, I would reach into the TV and pull out those cakes if I could – but there can be such artistry and beauty to these creations. A visual feast as well as a gastronomical one. So, I don’t know if I need to become a baker necessarily, but I realized I definitely want to try my hand at cake and cookie decorating. In fact, I was on a waiting list for a class a short while back. And, in general, I think there is more of a visual component I can incorporate into what I do. Maybe you want to take a stand-up comedy class if you find yourself repeated attracted to it. Maybe you want to try writing if you love the storylines and dialogues of your favourite shows. Maybe you want to look into the medical field if you love the operating room scenes.
If you’re someone who gets overly drawn into social situations that you feel are taking you away from your work – phone calls, coffee meetings, whatever – there’s likely a reason why you’re letting it happen. If you are always the one giving advice to your friends – and are happy to do so as opposed to resenting it – perhaps you’d be great as a counsellor. Do your meetings often take place over delicious meals? Being a food critic or a chef might be right up your alley.
My point is, these distractions might be giving you clues to complimentary activities or a whole new path that might be very fulfilling for you so it’s worth some contemplation and analysis, in my humble opinion. Of course, it could totally be a psychological mechanism to protect you from potential failure or frustration, too, but I’m just saying.
Have a great day!