David Brooks' opinion piece in the " New York Times" earlier this month titled "The Art of Focus" provided advice to beat this challenge. "The lesson from childhood, then, is that if you want to win the war for attention, don't try to say 'no' to the trivial distractions you find on the information smorgasbord; try to say 'yes' to the subject that arouses a terrifying longing, and let the terrifying longing crowd out everything else.
"The information universe tempts you with mildly pleasant but ultimately numbing diversions," Brooks wrote. "The only way to stay fully alive is to dive down to your obsessions six fathoms deep. Down there it's possible to make progress toward fulfilling your terrifying longing, which is the experience that produces the joy."
This experience of digging deep into obsession is the topic of a new book written by Len Forkas, "What Spins the Wheel: Leadership Lessons from Our Race for Hope." Forkas tells the story of finding out his son has leukemia, starting a non-profit, Hopecam (to connect children with cancer to their classrooms) and participating in the Race Across America (a 3,000-mile bike race) to raise money for Hopecam.
"Children who connect with Hopecam will tell you the most important part of seeing their friends on the webcam is the simple reminder that they have not been forgotten, and they are not alone," Forkas wrote.
Providing the gift of connection. The human need to know that, rather than being alone, there are others who are willing to stand with us during our times of trial.
Forkas tells the story of how he found his obsession: "Sir Ken Robinson's book, 'Finding Your Element.' Robinson suggests that using your strengths in such a natural way that things begin to flow is the key to creativity, happiness, and transformation. Reading and thinking about his message forced me to look deep inside myself and think about how I was able to use my strengths to reach a goal -- first, helping Matt, and then later, helping other kids with cancer.