Archive for March, 2010

Mar 19 2010

How To Beat A Short Attention Span

Published by under Life

Pick up that Tonka truck. Now throw it across the room because you just spotted a Bernstein Bears book. Crawl over to the book. Flip through it in 20 seconds. Now slide it across the floor so it hits one of your less-favorite stuffed animals. Then get up and waddle over to your blocks. Stack a few of those up and then throw them into the air. This is the life of a little kid, who, in the span of 30 minutes, can make a perfectly clean playroom look like a toy battlefield.

It seems to me that in a lot of ways, we never grow up. As we grow up, our toys change. From blocks to clothes. From stuffed animals to entertainment devices. But our lives get more complex. Hobbies, interests, and causes come across our horizon. They’re inspected but frequently discarded in short order as either uninteresting (which is probably fine) or because more and more items come across our path preventing us from really sinking ourselves into those thing that DO interest us (which is probably NOT fine).

Like the people on the conveyor belt in Wall-E, it seems like we’re shuffled through life from one thing to another. And then 5 years go by and we get sad, asking, “What’s happening with my life?” But we know the truth. Little is happening with our life. Life happens to us. For the fortunate few that have rock solid attention spans, they make something of their lives and we’re left wondering why that can’t be us. But in many ways, the comparison is moot. As a dude in St. Louis recently said, “Some of us are born on third base but think we’ve hit a triple.” For some, their God-given abilities allow them to be excellent. They certainly work hard to be successful, but lamenting we’re not them is unhelpful.

How to Beat a Short Attention Span
Our aim should be to stop the conveyor belt or make adjustments while it’s still moving. When the next hobby, interest, or cause comes across your path, stop your life for a little bit and examine it – for longer than a little kid. Start slow. Get online and read some articles about the topic. Search YouTube for videos. Search a Twitter keyword and see what other people also interested in that thing have to say. Follow the links they post. Research the best books; buy them and read them. And then, and this is the important thing…put that hobby/interest/cause down beside you ON THE CONVEYOR BELT!!

Let that interest or cause travel life WITH you through your day! Create events in your calendar every day that remind you to spend time in pursuit of that thing until it’s a habit. For me, it’s Haiti. I’ve re-arranged my life not to forget Haiti. I wrote a computer program that automatically searches Twitter for news articles/photos/videos so I can quickly scroll through the article’s headline and know if I want to read it (or if I’ve ALREADY read it so I don’t waste time going there again). I have a time set aside to learn Creole (spoken in Haiti) and also a time to read about the country. I’ve started talking with other people interested in Haiti. And I listen to a radio station over the internet broadcast from Port-au-Prince to get used to hearing Creole. So even though I’m still on life’s conveyor belt, not only is Haiti next to me, but it’s becoming PART of me. And I haven’t even been there yet. The point is to be creative in how something can be a part of your life!

Obla-di Blah blah blah
Now, it’s true. Life must go on. You have responsibilities. But God has responsibilities for YOU. And ME. There are things He wants us to do in our life. Primarily, He wants us to love Him and love our neighbors. Are the things traveling with you on the conveyor belt helping you do those things? If not, do what Hebrews 12 encourages, “cast off everything that hinders…” I can’t tell you what in your life is a hindrance, but you know. You have a feeling in your heart that you really shouldn’t do something. It’s not that the thing is WRONG. It’s just not RIGHT. You feel there are other ways you could spend your time. You MUST listen to that voice. That voice is trying to guide you to your role in the kingdom of God!

The irony of this post is that life will happen to us immediately after reading/writing it. You’ll be inclined to forget this in a matter of moments. Whether it DESERVES to be remembered is up to you. But, if you like it, put this little post nugget in your mind. Because, literally, my brothers and sisters, this world is FULL of hurting people. People who need not only material goods but they need to hear about the hope of Jesus and the life to come and how He can be everything for them – even in their suffering!

The One
Some 12 years ago, a movie was released that rocked our country. In “The Matrix,” Keanu Reeves played a character name Neo whose life seemed out of control. Things happened to him almost against his will. He was on the conveyor belt. Until one day, things changed with one word. The world needs us. So much. Please don’t tire of people telling you that. Don’t say it’s the same old line. People need you and me. It may not be a million people. It may be 10. But you can ROCK those people’s worlds. It just takes a simple, firm word: I will not be scared. I will not be distracted. I will not have a short attention span. When it seems like you can’t stop life, think of Neo. People need you!

YouTube won’t let me embed it, so please watch the link.

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