Widen Your Focus

Being a well-rounded person will make you a better person. Focusing your attention on only one thing neglects everything else, including your happiness and health. Whether you only focus on politics, entertainment, technology, money, science, culture, religion, health, food, books, art, family, or other things that may be beneficial to you, other things in your life will suffer. Expand your focus and you will expand your mind. Rather than becoming an expert on one thing, learn as much as you can about everything. No one can experience everything or everyone in the world, but widening your attention is always preferable. Other people exist beyond who you know. Get to know them as people, not stereotypes or cliches.

Kids spend most of their time focusing on only one thing at a time. This is not so much of a choice as a limited ability to focus on more than one thing at once. Kids have the excuse of being kids, but they still need to learn to widen their focus as they grow up. Parents who focus their kids on a singular goal are doing their kids a disservice. Kids need to learn a variety of skills to be happy in adult life. By only focusing on one or two skills in life, the child’s quality of life will decrease. Some parents unintentionally teach their kids to only focus on themselves. We call these kids brats. Hopefully, they grow up and deal with people outside their family and friends so they can widen their focus on the world at large. If they do not, we call these people snobs.

Is widening my focus/attention going to make me more of a success? Being a well-rounded person will make you much more of an interesting person, but it won’t make you more successful. That is unless you consider happiness being successful. Most people consider money to be the measure of success. If you want to be more successful financially or just be more powerful, probably narrow your focus. People who have large amounts of money have it because they were born into money or they narrowed their focus to such a point that money was the only thing they cared about in life. They may have divorces in their past, lost family and friends, cheated and lied to others, or suffered health problems, but they had their money.

Nerds are examples of being narrowly focused on only a few things. I say this with all the love in the world because I consider myself a card-carrying member of several nerd clubs of the month. Just like other subjects, it is possible to be nerdy about multiple nerdy things. In most cases, the nerd focuses on one show or type of show. I like Star Wars but cannot tell you every last detail about Star Wars. I also like Star Trek but I have seen little of the original TV series. I was more of a Next Generation fan. Some would say, “If you don’t consider the original Star Trek to be superior, you are not really a fan of Star Trek.” So be it, I say. As a creative person, I would rather create something others can nerd-out about than focus on what someone else created.

I have a degree in English Composition I am using to write the words you are reading. In the past, I called it my Useless English Degree. I didn’t consider it useless because I didn’t use it. It seemed useless because I didn’t make a huge amount of money with it. I was at the time only focusing on the money. Now, in my wider focus on life, I see that the degree has been helpful in every other aspect of my life. I have focused on music, animation, acting, and philosophizing as I am doing now. Writing has helped with all of my pursuits in life. It has allowed me to put all of my experiences in life into words (just like the words you are reading right now).

Addictions are an extreme over-narrowing of your focus. When you only focus on one substance or one activity in your life, you can become addicted to that substance or activity at the expense of the rest of your life. No substance or activity starts out as an addiction. The more focus you give to one thing, the more your addiction can develop. An intervention is often needed to break the narrow focus of the addiction. Addictions will never break easily, but if something does not break it, the person can lose his or her life or live a life that is not worth living.

Those who narrow their focus on only one thing in life will soon find themselves unable to widen their focus to the world at large. Widening your focus is a skill that needs developing. If you never develop these skills, you will soon only see the narrow focus of the world you have created. Everything else becomes invisible. Widening your focus means accepting the world around you. The world around you is not going away so you may as well embrace it and increase your awareness of other people.

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