Day 215 – Attention…

My third day on the blog is day 215 in the BBTL book and this one hit me right between the eyes, again. 

I’ve played three exceptionally great and difficult golf courses this summer.  All three days, I played some of my best golf of the year.  Late in the most recent of these better-than-usual rounds, a buddy asked me why I tend to play better on harder courses.  “That’s easy,” I replied. “I pay attention.”

Now, we’re not talking about flipping a switch and suddenly playing great.  I surly don’t have that game or that switch.  There is endless evidence that I lack the talent to score well without giving golf my full attention on every shot.  And, because I love to laugh and listen to music on the golf course, I rarely give every shot it’s needed attention — and often find myself muddling along on the proverbial “bogey train” at my home course.   But when it’s a special day, on a special course, the music plays just a bit softer, the laughs are just a bit fewer, my attention is just a bit better, and my scores are just a bit lower.  In the words of Dr. Valiante, I give the target my “undivided attention.”  And I’ve learned this works.   But I’ve also learned nobody gives a rat’s hat about my golf scores.  So, in the words of Sam Phillips, “Let’s bring it home.”  Let’s “sing about something real.

When I don’t give my wife, Karen, my undivided attention, I usually find myself muddling along on the bogey train at home.  No snap hooks or OBs, but certainly no birdies, either.

Merriam-Webster defines attention as, “the act or state of applying the mind to something;  an act of civility or courtesy, especially in courtship”

“civility or courtesy, especially in courtship.”  Wow!  There it is.

When I was courting Karen, I was civil and courteous and she had my undivided attention.  30 years later, she deserves it even more, but I give it less.  I could rattle off a laundry list of “distractions,” but they’d be no more unique or legit than everybody else’s, so they DO NOT COUNT. 

I own my attention.  Let me say that again.  I own my attention.  And because I own it, I choose to what and to whom I pay it.  And my choices have consequences.

So, when it comes to your team at work AND at home, when you (like I) feel one of a million distractions beginning to tug at your attention, ask yourself this simple question, “What’s my target?”  If your OPUS is clear, that answer should be easy and immediate.  If not, then we’ve got some rinsing to do.

In the movie Caddyshack, when Ty Webb was trying to focus Danny’s attention, he famously told Danny to, “Be the ball.”  Chet keeps it even simpler… “Be with.”

Be with.  Good.  

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