Tuesday, December 16, 2014


As a casual fan of the Detroit Lions American Football team in the National Football League, I've been following this season with some interest. They have talent and a new head coach -- all of which will allow them to make a run at the playoffs for the first time in a long time. They are currently at the playoff threshold, and how they perform in the next two games will determine if they are in at all, and if so, if they have home-field advantage in any of their playoff games.

Yet the real issue is their focus. The media folk keep asking about players' and coach's feelings regarding making the playoffs as that possibility becomes increasingly likely, and the coach keeps refusing to address those questions, saying that you can't focus on two things at once. His point is that the more you focus on outcome instead of the task immediately at hand, the less likely it is that the desired outcome will actually occur.

As a competitive tennis player, I agree with the Lions' coach because I wrestle with this issue often when I play a tennis match. When my focus is to win the match I tend to play more aggressively. This leads to more unforced errors, which too often leads to defeat, not victory. Yet when I focus on tactics -- specifically on the placement of each shot, and then, when I get the desired reply, hitting a more aggressive, forcing shot, and then doing it again if necessary -- this often leads to victory.

I even think that this is true with my DE shaving. When I focus on the outcome of a baby-smooth shave, I tend to be less careful as I make my passes and my strokes. Yet when I am completely in the moment and focus on making each stroke a good one, the outcome improves. I get fewer weepers and a closer shave.

Without a doubt his issue of focus applies to almost every endeavor including life itself. Tend to process of achieving your goal, and achievement of the goal becomes more likely. Take a shortcut or ignore the prerequisites, and the goal is too often outside our reach.

Happy shaving!

1 comment:

  1. Good post. I think of this as the "Flow of Shaving", in the psychological sense: