Let me show you my best painting secret!
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The moment I saw the picture I knew she would have to become part of the family. My wife was excited too. About the getting the puppy I mean. I have always loved pointers and here was a beautiful German Pointer for sale. A few days later our puppy arrived. We called her Poppy.
Within days of arrival her natural hunting instincts amazed us. I recalled an exercise used by the Dog Whisperer. You attach a toy to a fishing rod and line. This makes an excellent system for exercising a dog. Especially one like a pointer.
Cast the toy out on the lawn and reel it in slowly. Poppy did not charge after it. Instead she instantly went on point. Absolute focus. Paw up. Nose pointed at her prey. This could go on for ages. I could walk away and come back to find her still pointing.
Eventually I would reel the toy in a bit. She would step closer. At the signal she would pounce. Success. Poppy would not get bored or frustrated. Nothing would distract her. Come what may that critter was getting caught using her stealth mode focus.
Focus - Got to get Some
The lesson is clear, but how easy is it to focus for us? When I decided to go professional with my painting I made a bargain with myself. If I could not make it worthwhile financially then I had to stick to my day job. There was too much at stake.
Unfortunately I also have a shiny object syndrome. This is a form of distraction that plagues many people today. There is always a new gadget or app coming out. I would try these things out. Maybe they would help my business. Of course these things were distractions.
What I needed most of all was to focus on what mattered. Identify what produced results, repeat and carry on. This takes discipline. Complete grit-your-teeth focus. But first I had to get a strategy. Visualise exactly what I wanted to achieve and do the work.
With time I improved and so did my business. Plenty of lessons learned along the way. But the one thing that mattered the most was to keep my focus. Without it life becomes an aimless meander.
Sadly none of us are born with Poppy's natural instincts. For her these qualities are hardwired to ensure survival. We humans have to learn by our mistakes.
Here are Five Tips that work for me: