Saturday, February 19, 2005


We went to Disneyworld last month. I was sitting on the wall outside the Magic Kingdom waiting for Mickey and his friends to do their show and open the park. Sitting next to me was a bright dark-haired little boy who was looking at the map of the park and excitedly telling his mom all the things they had to see. I smiled at her as he told everyone in earshot about how his map told him where all the bathrooms were in case she had to use them. Then he surprised her by telling her something about an attraction she hadn't expected to hear.

"Who told you that?" she asked.
"Nobody. I focused" the little genius replied.
She laughed. "They're teaching 5 year-olds to focus now".

I could just imagine his kindergarten teacher telling her class to focus so they could answer her questions. And of course our young friend is absolutely right. To achieve anything worthwhile you have to focus. Meaning to concentrate on doing one thing really well and avoiding distractions. Ellen MacArthur has just broken the world record for sailing solo non-stop around the world. Her whole sailing career is one of single-minded laser-like focus to become the best ocean racer she can be. I'm sure I would be a better sailor if I only focused more. Focused on practicing and getting fit. Focused during races on the important stuff like what the wind and current are doing.

Easy to say. Much much harder to do. But if a 5-year-old can focus, there's hope for the rest of us.

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