I know because I have tried acting focused, and it always resulted in my being uncomfortable and all too aware that I'm acting.
I turn odd shades of purple and my head wonders in all directions at once. The more I force myself to focus, the more ideas come to me in overwhelming waves of projects that I strongly feel compelled to begin- but never to be finished. I refer to this as creative drifting.
Focus fits me like a sports jacket that's a size too small. Yes, I could probably wear it all day if I had to, but everyone would notice that I'm uncomfortable, and my shoulders are painfully restricted and my shirt cuffs are far-too revealed. I'd look like a plump Costco blueberry muffin that was squished into a super-tight Saran Wrap ball.
Focus is what my bosses always used to tell me to do. Only now, I’m not interested in working a 60-hour week or slowly advancing a career that I don’t enjoy, but I do for the sake of taking home a pay check at the end of the week.
I’m not inspired by collecting wealth or material possessions (even though I could really use a new Mac Pro), and I don't want to live in the suburbs again, comparing my life and my children and my car with the neighbors.
At this point, the thought of pure intense focus freaks me the f*ck out.
According to conventional "normal" wisdom, that will have to change if I ever want to be successful.
To be honest, I don't care what the "normal" think of me any longer. They can go focus on whatever they'd like.
For me, focus take all the fun out of a goal. It means that I have to stick to one plan. What if the pan is no good? Listen, I don’t want to take myself too seriously. Focused people are too serious. They don't have a sense of humor or make decisions based around creative thought.
I want to follow the wisdom of my soul, wherever it takes me and act from the absolute truth of what inspires me.
I'm not focused. Not in the conventional notion of the word.
What's better than being focused?
I'm a proud overcreatarian™️ (Yes, I made that word up)
I act on my instincts, and I want freedom and flexibility and fulfillment.
I want to do my own thing with passion, principle, and purpose. Most importantly, I have a strong need to contribute to humanity's growth and progress.
I want to breath-in the conceptual and unconstrained—share my understanding through my actions and make my own path. I don’t have to follow the crowd like a thoughtless sheep-person or do things the way that I'm supposed to, just because that’s how the other sheep-people are taught to do it.
Too many people are just focusing along with their vision narrowed, doing what they think should be done without checking at all to see if it’s actually what will best serve them.
I know. I was a sheep-person.
For nearly 30 years, I chose conventional focus.
I'm not beating myself up about it. It felt safe and comfortable. When my kids were little, it was easier, and afforded them advantages.
Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on which way we look at it) my wife and my body and my mind all got together and decided to show me how unhappy my focus was making me and how it was adversely affecting the people I loved the most.
Focus drained me of life energy. It robbed me of the agency of my own beliefs. It made irrelevant the creative aspirations that inspired me. Focus became a spiritual prison that I lost hope of ever escaping. It set my soul drifting in all directions at once, in the hopes that one of those pulls would finally set me free. It ironically made chaos within my heart as I diligently adhered to a plan in my physical world. A plan of the conventional.
If you're feeling trapped by conventional focus, I understand. I get how difficult it is to step outside the norm—to make decisions that will identify you as different, to live in a manner to invite judgement and misunderstanding and isolation from those who are less accepting.
But when I finally accepted how unhappy I was by adopting a life that was not aligned with my heart, I finally began to regain my power and feel good again.
So, I’m calling out to the square pegs, the daydreamers, the overcreatarians™️ who are forcing themselves to focus on conventionality because they’re afraid to make the things in the world that their heart is aching to create.
Listen to that pang in your gut telling you it’s possible to do it another way!
Forget what judgments await you when you take on the project that you know must be done.
The world needs us overcreatarians™️ more than ever to step up and choose to live our lives as we wish.
To cut off any notion that the status quo is ok.
To question the conventional meaning of focus.
We're going to focus in a whole new way. We're going to hold in our attention the bigger problems that this world faces (racism, intolerance, ignorance, shame), and we're going to clean up our side of the street in whatever unfocused way that we feel like.
In our scattered and unhinged way, we will focus our spirit and energy into a better world.
That’s what us overly creative, unconventional thinkers are meant for.
To trigger change; to fold focus over itself and show people that there are countless possibilities available to us and we don’t have to choose the path that we were told to take or that we initially thought was best for us.
By acting out our lives connected to our personal wisdom and pushing our minds through unproven paths (even though it’s scary) we give other free-thinkers the authorization to do it too!
Following that gentle, yet nonstop, voice will not be the easier path to choose but it will surely fill your life with more joy and fulfillment.
As a conventional focuser who has recently made that step across the chasm of creative drifting, I wholeheartedly promise.
Author: Scott Markowitz
Photo: Scott Markowitz
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