What I learned from a whiskey puck. How to maintain focus.

posted in: Mind Tools, Shop Manual for Men | 3

Don’t you just hate it when your favorite drink gets diluted by the melting ice in it? I do. I like whiskey cold, but not diluted. If I wanted water in it, I’d ask for it. So if I’m drinking an expensive (for me) single malt like Oban, then I just drink it at room temperature. One day I was searching for a white elephant gift for a co-worker that I knew had a collection of distilled liquors at home, and I found the perfect gift. Whiskey pucks. Brilliant, I didn’t know such a thing existed, and they’d work for Coke or iced tea as well. I just can’t stand diluted drinks.

What Dilutes You?

In my 20’s and 30’s I was diluted, weak and tasteless. I was doing a lot of things, yet really doing nothing, and getting no where. For me, I had too many interests, and too little discipline. What dilutes you? Dilution comes from a lot of different things. For some of us, it is entertainment. Do you spend hours at a time playing video games or watching movies and shows? I tend to binge watch shows on the Internet or sometimes binge read a book. If the book is halfway decent, I’ve been known to sit for 14 hour stretches and read it cover to cover. I don’t know about you, but a lot of the times I do this I go without sleep. That can’t be good for me.

Same thing for hobbies, as you can tell, I like tools and can easily spend a lot of time working on a project. For instance I spent time drawing up some plans to build a welding cart for my MIG welder. I even bought the metal and casters.But this week I was in Northern Tools and saw a decent MIG welder cart for $50, and it really stopped me in my tracks. I had to ask myself if I really wanted to spend the time building the cart, or should I buy it, and spend the time on this blog and the book I’m writing for you.

Friends and family will dilute you too. I don’t recommend ignoring your wife or kids, but there are some family members who are just a waste of oxygen. Let me ask you this…if your next door neighbor was a real asshole, would you bother spending time with him? So why would you do that with a relative? Just because their blood? It makes no sense. Same for friends. Are some of your friends really just annoying time suckers? Ditch them. Sounds harsh doesn’t it? But it really comes down to being diluted, and being diluted makes you a loser in life.


Focal Point? What’s the Point?

What is the point of your life? I’m not asking the BIG question of why you or I am here. I’m asking you, what is it that you are trying to accomplish? In my 20’s I was all over the map trying to do and be too many different things, all good by the way, but I was successful at none of them. Why? Why are you failing too? The opposite of being diluted is to be focused. I was diluted chasing too many interests and likes. To be successful, to be good at something requires focus. How do you and I do that with life going on around us?

Eyes on Target

If you go to the gun range and pick up a gun and wave it around spraying bullets, are you even going to hit the paper target? You might even wind up accidentally shooting yourself. You know what your target is. You take your stance, aim at the target and squeeze the trigger. You look at the result, and repeat. With practice you’ll be putting tight patterns in the 9 and 10 zone. Why don’t you live your life like that?

Do you have too many targets? There’s the idea of “high value” targets. The things you want to destroy or conquer that give you the most bang for your buck. What are your high value targets? Write them down. I’ll talk more on this concept of high value targets in “Pareto was right. How to use the 80/20 rule to your benefit in every area of life“.

The Navy has some cool experimental laser weapons that they are putting on a ship for testing. This laser is over a megawatt in power, and has an automatic tracking system so that once it acquires the target, it can stay on target for seconds while it pumps out a second or two of highly focused energy. I saw videos on it zapping a target the size of a microwave oven being towed on a sled behind a ship. They also used it on fast moving drones.

That laser has a lot of power, but that power comes from focus. Focus of the laser beam itself, and focus of staying on target. You and I might not have the mental power of a laser beam. Maybe all you have is a little magnifying glass, but you can still do damage with that. Some of us have less mental horsepower than others, but the key is focus. staying on target. Don’t get diluted.

How to Stay on Target

There are a lot of ways, and this one is what works best for me. I bought a tiny little notebook that can fit in my pants pocket. It probably has only 20 or 30 pages, and no wires binding it. It’s small and comfortable in my pocket. I have 10 or 11 simple sentences that I repeat over and over while I drive to and from work. Each one is a fairly specific thing I want to have happen and it’s written in a very simple way. I repeat each one around 10 times before moving on to the next one. I got this trick from Scott Adams. Doing this repetition every day drives this into you sub-conscious mind, which will work on the problem or action you want to see happen.

For instance, one of mine is “I Jeff, will have 100,000 page view in 2016”. Adams recommends writing it in that format “I Joe Blow will….x”.  Adams calls these “affirmations”. Besides reinforcing my sub-conscious mind, it also focuses me each day on the question of “what am I doing today to get to 100K page views?”. So it has me thinking about writing for this blog, and how I will get exposure for this blog. Because I practice staying on target I get less distracted by other stuff.

That word “affirmations” has a weird new age, positive thinking vibe to it, and if you’re like me, you are already mentally backing away from the idea. I’m not talking about the weird shit some people teach, where if you just think about that Porsche Cayman in your driveway long enough it will just appear. That’s bullshit of the first order. All this is simply about staying focused on the target and squeezing the trigger. Every day. Every month. Every year. That is how men build great things, and explore the unexplored.

Some of you are going to say, “well that’s just a goal”. It is, but the way goals are packaged today, they just don’t work too well. Scott Adam’s says, “goals are for losers”. Pretty harsh. Why is he saying that? Adams also says that “systems are better than goals”. The way goals are packaged today, people just write them out, usually on New Year’s Eve and then leave that sheet of paper on a table somewhere. Businesses write out goals and value statements once, and then just forget about them until the next quarterly meeting. There is no continuous focus. No focus, no results. That is why “goals are for losers”.  That is why the affirmation method above works better, it’s a daily “system”.

I dare you to try this for a month. Write down several things you want to see accomplished. Be simple. Be in one sentence. Repeat them out loud ten times a day. Don’t spend time thinking about how crazy it is, or how you will do it. Suspend your disbelief for a few minutes and just repeat them. Or you could just go on unfocused and off target.

3 Responses

  1. […] What I learned from a whiskey puck. How to maintain focus. […]

  2. I think you have two columns here instead of one. But my wife has a few cubes of granite she keeps in the freezer for the same purpose.

  3. Hi Gordon, I’m interested in what you said. What do you mean by two columns?

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