The Power of Shiny Squirrels

If you’ll remember a few posts ago (this one) I discussed the place squirrels now have in my hierarchy of favorite rodents.  Rest assured this is not a post following-up on that – they haven’t changed rank and, frankly, I’m tired of them anyway.

No, this post is about shiny squirrels; the inevitable rodents that appear out of seemingly nowhere and entice you to take your eye of the metaphorical ball.  Sometimes that’s a good thing – a shiny squirrel at the right time can get you out of that awkward conversation you were having explaining to your boss why you called in sick and then appeared on the Jumbotron at the ballpark.  But as positive as shiny squirrels can be they can also be equally as dangerous; the one that takes your eyes off the prize and turns your incredible business venture into a steaming pile of wood chips.

I have a problem – I live in a world where there are a lot of shiny squirrels, and I have the attention span of a bowl of pasta.  Not a good combination if the goal is to get things done.  I manage to get through it – I don’t miss deadlines and I turn out a quality product – but that’s not without me investing way more time than I should.

Enter: The Power of Focus.

I actually took a course on this a few years ago, but I didn’t get as much out of it as I’d like to have gotten.  All on me, of course – I have no doubt I got out of it what I put in.  So I decided it was time to re-read the book.  A trip to Barnes and Noble (although I could have saved 40% if I’d gone to Amazon) and I had the book along with a promise I made to myself: I would read at least one chapter (or “Focusing Strategy” in the parlance of the book) a day.  There are eleven, so that would take me roughly a week and a half to get through.

Two and a half chapters in (as of this writing) I’m finding little gems.  A lot of it is stuff I already knew, but knowing and $1.08 will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald’s.  It’s the putting into action that’s key, and that’s something I wasn’t doing.

Perhaps the biggest reason I’m determined not just to finish it but to finish it twice is because within the first chapter I felt like the authors had followed me around and written the book specifically for me.  Many of the personal development books I read speak to me on some levels, but on other levels I’m just not clicking with what they’re saying because I don’t see that in myself.  Not so with The Power of Focus – every item they listed on their bullet point checklist of bad habits I could relate to.  In case you’re keeping score at home: THAT’S NOT GOOD.  Now, whether that’s because I’m just being more honest with myself these days, dumb luck or somehow they’ve tapped into my brain feed and are silently sucking all my brain juice to power The Matrix I don’t know, but the point is the book really hit home and spoke to me (metaphorically speaking, anyway) within the first two chapters, and that’s pretty powerful.

I’ll let you know how it goes for the rest of the book; I hope I’m not only as pumped at the end as I am now, but I hope I can avoid those shiny squirrels and actually get the book finished.

(post image courtesy of


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