I recently finished reading a book called Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield. The premise of the book was that most people spend their life as an amateur never truly reaching their full potential. The amateur life is pretty much the norm. Some might even call it the American dream. We fit a mold, we go to college, get a job and live out our days for the sake of being comfortable.
Turning pro isn’t so much about achieving wealth, fame, success or greatness, but rather graduating from the amateur life of simply being “okay” when we know there is something greater we are called to. For the author it was finishing his first manuscript. He kept avoiding it, putting it off and coming up with any number of excuses as to why he could or should continue putting it off until he finally buckled down, eliminated excuses, blew of the distractions and turned wrote.
There was much in this book that resonated deeply with me, probably the most were his comments about distraction.
This year has been a great one. I’ve traveled a great deal, I’ve covered events, I’ve gone on vacation and I’ve written more than any other season of my life. But if I’m being completely honest, in the last seven months I’ve wasted hours, possibly days surfing Facebook, Youtube and scouring the Internet for nothing of value.
The author spoke to this in great detail on several points. The first being that as amateurs, we are addicted to distraction. We leave our web browsers open while we work, just incase we get an email or a Facebook notification. We never can seem to unplug and focus.
Part of the reason for this is that we fear solitude and silence above all, because in that silence we must face the voice in our head calling us to greatness. We must actually work.
For that reason, as amateurs we are prone to distraction. Even addicted to it. He states that “The culture of Facebook and Twitter is paradise for the amateur.” We can hide in it, busying our mind and keeping that still small voice at bay.
The final cresendo if you will, came in a later section of the book entitled “The Professional Will not be Distracted.” Five words that pretty much summed up my struggle with distraction.
“The amateur Tweets. The pro Works.”
For me it’s not specifically Twitter but social media as a whole. I’m trying desperately hard to turn off Facebook and work.
What are some other things you find constantly distracting you from your work?