Taking Your Eye Off The Ball

IMG_0770Taking your eye off the ball has unwanted consequences.

I let my breakfast porridge overcook, it exploded and went everywhere.

The meant I had to start from scratch. This time, instead of taking my eye off the ball, I gave it my full attention, resulting in perfect porridge.

You see, I was trying to do at least 3 things at the same time. Put porridge in microwave, set timer. Fill kettle for second cup of tea. Check emails on phone to save time later.

To be fair, it usually works a treat. Except I took my eye off the ball, and after giving it a good stir, I set the second cooking time on high instead of simmer. It was a recipe for disaster!

I find it’s the little things that go wrong so easily. The things we take for granted. Because they’ve become so familiar, we operate on auto-pilot.

Everyone makes decisions that can go one way or another. It’s called life. And while exploding porridge isn’t life changing, other decisions can be.

I’ve just finished Greg McKeown‘s excellent book ‘Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less’, and whilst it’s about getting more done in less time, it’s principles apply equally well to day-to-day living.

For instance, saying yes to a commitment that you’d much rather say no to. It’s going to impact you in a myriad of ways, disrupting your inner well-being, as well as have repercussions in other areas of your life.

It may be essential to the person making the request, but it’s not essential to you. Instead of saying, ‘Let me consider what’s involved and I’ll get back to you’, you fidget a bit, looking for an easy way to refuse, nothing springs to mind, so you reply, ‘em, OK’, instead.

The mind, being focussed on looking for an escape route, doesn’t even nudge you to ask what it entails.

We all have our own hopes and wishes. Yet many of us still commit our precious time, and our precious resources, to somebody else’s dream leaving little or no time to pursue our own. How mad is that.

Saying yes can other consequences. One is you stick to a commitment you’re not passionate about. You’ve given your word and that’s that. All fine and dandy, except you get known for your diligence and this encourages others to take advantage of you.

You may choose to chicken out with a text, email or get someone else to tell them you’ve changed your mind. This may leave the other person irritated with you as they’ve made plans that do include you which means more work for them.

Not your problem, but saying no because it’s not an essential task for you when asked, could have saved a shed load of grief for all parties concerned.

When you take your eye off the ball that’s working for your best interests, you risk letting others making decisions on how you live your life.

It’s truly a good idea to ask for time to consider the request. Nobody is going to say no to your thoughtful response. Explore what’s being ask of you. Are you going to love, or hate, being involved?

Take time to see how you’re feel about the request. Your feelings never lie and you ignore them at your peril.

There will be times when you feel obligated to say yes. I urge you to still ask for time to enable you to discover exactly what the request entails. It may be that whilst you can’t give them 100%, you can fulfil part of their request.

Your life, your choice. Be the decider of what you do.

Sometimes it takes the porridge exploding to make you think. Phew, taking your eye of the ball can happen in a moments lack of focus. The results from it can take you from inner well-being to feeling out of sync in your world.

Read Greg’s book and see if it resonates. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain. Now where’s that blasted ball disappeared to now.

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