In what my grandchildren call "the olden days" people used to put blinders on their horses. These were firm leather squares that attached to the bridle or hood. Some blinders were plastic cups, but they all had the same purpose. When pulling wagons or carriages it was important for the horse to look forward and not be distracted or panicked by things behind or beside them.
We live in an extremely busy world where twenty-four-hour media can capture our attention to the point that we do not make progress on personal goals. Movies, news flashes and "how to" programs can fill our heads with information that is numbing, addictive or traumatic. Time passes as we allow ourselves to be captured by even the creative advertising that is interspersed. Before we know it, we realize that our domestic chores, business, relationships or homework have been neglected and we no longer have the energy or desire to invest in them.
Personal blinders can be a good thing to adopt. There isn't any use in focusing on the past and what is behind except to garner the lessons learned from our experiences and to congratulate ourselves on the accomplishments. Thinking about what "should have" happened is not productive as we cannot change what is done already.
Gazing around to the sides can be interesting and there are certainly enough distractions to capture our attention if we let them. But spending hours on media or gaming, or crises of everyone else leads to neglect of self-care and personal growth.
It's interesting to think about how a horse does best when s/he is focused on what lies ahead. Difficult terrain can be navigated best and barriers on the road can be avoided.
Sometimes when I am working on a report or project in the office my son comes in to tell me about something that a politician has just said or an event that occurred in a far-off country. I never want to be rude but know that once I am distracted from my task, it will be harder to resume and losing my train of thought can take a time to re-establish. I know that I definitely cannot change either the politician or the other country and usually don't need to have the information right away.
Many years ago, I made a commitment to myself that I would never leave the office until all my paperwork is done. I knew that if I couldn't finish it in one day, I certainly wouldn't be able to do twice as much the following day.
It's the same thing with housework and other personal commitments.
So, I just put on my blinders and focus on the road ahead. It might mean closing the door, not answering the phone or turning off the television until the task is done.
Do you allow what has passed to occupy your mind or what is beside you to distract you from doing what you need to do?
Perhaps it is time to pretend you have a set of blinders. Then you will be able to face the goal and accomplish what lies ahead of you. You will be surprised at how quickly you reach success!
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From Dr. Linda Hancock, Registered Psychologist and Registered Social Worker