Have you ever seen a “mutton busting” event? Definitely a favorite at the local rodeo, little kiddos put on their best Western style protective gear, get hoisted onto the back of a sheep, grab two handfuls of wool and hang on for their lives. In what comes as a surprise to no one, the sheep goes nuts and charges around the rodeo grounds while the rider holds on for as long as possible. It’s adorable, hilarious and exactly what staying focused at work can feel like. How can our attention stay in the saddle when distractions try relentlessly to toss it in the dirt?
Let’s face it; the mind has an incredible ability to focus deeply on what is happening (preferred) or to blithely wander around on Fantasy Island (prevalent). As it romps through distant fields of thought, our emotions follow and we end up bruised by events long passed or elated by what might occur (or not) tomorrow. Either way, we have forgotten to hold on to what’s happening right now and get trampled by what’s not.
Noticing how often our mind is focused on what we are doing right now is the first step to staying in the saddle. As you read this, how many other thoughts tempted your attention? Did electronic distractions lure you away mid sentence? Have you actually read this far with complete attention (top score!)? Like the talented tiny mutton busters who anticipate a sheep’s every move, by recognizing where and when our attention wanders, we begin to improve our focus. Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
Just for grins, check out a few photos. Hilarious!