Distractions – Lessons From A Fish That Got Tempted

A story about staying focused on goals even when distractions are tempting

Distractions - Lessons from a fishFred’s favourite activity was going for an afternoon swim with his community school. What does he discover when, one day, he allows distractions to get the better of him, and they leave him behind to fend for himself?

Fred the fish loved swimming around in unison and feeling like a part of something important. He also felt very safe being with the other fish he grew up with.

The one thing that always caught his attention, however, was Joanne, a stunning goldfish from another school. Each time he passed Joanne’s school, he was tempted to stop and say hello to her.

One particular day, Fred decided to give in to the temptation, he darted out of his school and beckoned to Joanne, who was swimming in the opposite direction.

“Hey there,” said Fred to Joanne. “I’m Fred! Do you want to be friends?”

“Hi Fred, it’s very nice to meet you,” replied Joanne as she continued to swim with her school. She then said, “It looks like your school is leaving you behind!”

Fred stopped following Joanne when he realized that he had allowed the distraction to take him off course. He immediately started to worry about how he would be reunited with his school.

Thank goodness that Fred’s school always passed by Joanne’s community on the way back home. Pretty soon, he saw them coming along and jumped for joy.

“There they are! They’re coming back,” screamed Fred with excitement.

As soon as they got close enough, Fred jumped back in with the group. He was very relieved to be back where he belonged. He vowed to never allow distractions to tempt him again and would get get back on track and stay focused.

Moral: it’s important to ignore distractions and stay on course

Fred loved being a part of his community school. He liked what they did together and was proud of their formations. He also enjoyed belonging to a team that was focused on set goals each day.

There came a time, however, when Fred got a little sidetracked. Distractions started to take their toll. Eventually, Fred gave in and lost sight of his school. That, naturally, led to a break in the flow towards his goal.

Distractions seem most attractive when the going gets tough. When the end is too far away to see, it’s easy to get sidetracked and lose focus. Before you know it, you’ve taken several steps back and you’re forced to start building from scratch once more. It is so important to maintain focus, even when you’re weary from pushing and pushing. Even the slightest of distractions can make a complete mess of your progress.

Give yourself the opportunity to realize your truest potential. Anything vying for your attention now is likely going to be around when you achieve your goal. Be patient and pay attention to the mission at hand.

Once you’ve hit the target, take as much time as you want to relax and give attention to other things. Until then, stay the course. Your victories are much more fulfilling when you give everything you have to achieving them.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What techniques can I use to be more effective at focusing?
  2. How do I determine if a distraction has the potential to help me reach my goal quicker?
  3. What advantages are there to keeping my mind on whatever goal I have commited to?

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Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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16 thoughts on “Distractions – Lessons From A Fish That Got Tempted

  1. Making a realistic to-do list that is prioritized is the most helpful thing I do to stay focused. When I am alone and not distracted by others and conversations, I’m able to get the most work done!

  2. I get sooooo distracted – my hubby says that I have a butterfly brain, not sure if that is the creative part of me, that is what you need to be inspired by lots of different things, but the IT/business part of my brain definitely needs to be less distracted! Any tips to stay focused?
    Diana recently posted…Missenden Abbey – Day 3My Profile

  3. I was (and still am) in the midst of a stressful personal project that had so many parts. It seemed it would never end. A project manager showed me how to focus by setting up a weekly agenda and checking (ticking, for you across the pond, I think) off the items as they were completed. It was nice to see more and more checkboxes – that is what helped me to focus.
    Alana recently posted…Local Saturday – ContrastsMy Profile

    • It’s a great Project Management Tool Alana, chunk it down set milestones and identify the activities you have to do in order to meet that milestone. Activities completed = milestone completed = Project Done

  4. Awww half of me wanted a fishy love story and he followed his heart fell in love and lived happily ever after with extended family.

  5. Nice analogy. Distraction is involuntary and this is the biggest impact of ADHD. This is why we act impulsively. We teach our clients to make decions (a skill most ADDERS have never learned) so that they can reject the distractions.
    Pat Pughe-Parry recently posted…Normal Is Not NormalMy Profile

    • Thanks Pat, Whilst I appreciate that it is different for those that have to live with ADHD. I’m not sure I would agree that all distractions are involuntary, some people definitely make a choice to allow themselves to be distracted, Thanks for dropping by