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10/01/2011

Focus on the Present

Baseball2
This isn't a blog about baseball, but give me a moment and I promise I'll tie this all into the title. It happened, it really did. The Cardinal's started September almost eight games out of the Wild Card chase and on the last day of the regular season, an hour after the last pitch of their successful game against the Houston Astros, they made it to the playoff's. They didn't do it alone. They had a little help from the Atlanta Brave's as they choked and crashed over the last month of their season, but they made it. Die hard fans watched and moaned to themselves about another year without playoff baseball. Fair weather fans gave up and started counting the days to football season. Now we're all wearing Cardinal red and trying not to think past today's game. Because if we don't win today, we won't move forward.

I know it's a playoff series, we have to win three, but first we must win today and that's a lot like accomplishing anything. You have to complete what's happening right now before you move on.

I have to do laundry today to have clean clothes tomorrow. I have to get groceries today before I can cook dinner all week. I have to write today, to end up with a novel. It's easy to get so focused on the future, that you neglect what's right in front of you. Have you ever seen a shortstop make an amazing play to snag the baseball then fumbled the ball on the throw. He's so focused on throwing the runner out he didn't have a handle on the ball to begin with. I do this all the time. Not failing to throw runners out at first, I've never done that. It could be said that I fail to that all the time. What I mean is I get so focused on what I'm trying to accomplish I screw up what I'm doing right now. Here's an example.

A couple of years ago when I travelled for work, I was leaving a completed job and heading for a new one. I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish before I left to find a new motel and set up for weeks ahead. One of those was a manicure. I know, I work construction, but dammit sometimes I like to have nice nails. So I went to get a manicure. I took my Kindle and read while I was getting my nails done. It was a lovely break in a schedule that had been nuts for weeks. But I had a dozen things to do before dark, find a place to stay, drive to the new worksite to make sure I knew the way and how long it would take to get there. I needed to get groceries, do my laundry, well you get the picture. I had a lot on my mind. I paid for my manicure, jumped in my car and drove south for sixty miles or so. I had another thirty miles to drive to find a place to stay, but I was hungry and wanted lunch and I needed to stop in the mall and find a new raincoat, because it was tropical storm season and I was going to need it. I walked into the restaurant thinking about getting a coat, eating a nice lunch, finding a place to stay...and opened my purse to get out my Kindle. AND IT WASN'T THERE! 

I went back to my car, searched all my bags, but my Kindle was sixty miles north in the nail salon. Because I was so focused on what I needed to get done, I messed up what I was doing right then and had to drive back the way I'd just come to get my Kindle. Almost all my plans for that day shattered and clattered into the trash and the only thing I accomlished was driving a 120 mile round trip through LSU football traffic and ending up still thirty miles from where I needed to be searching for a place to stay in the dark and no I didn't get a chance to get a raincoat either.

Have you ever focused so much on what your final goal is that you missed out or messed up the thing you were doing right then. Share in the comments or I'm gonna think I'm the only one this stuff happens to.

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