Reflecting on an ibis


Didn’t think much of this ibis when I was on my walk this morning, but it looked interesting enough to capture.

It had a lesson for me though, in reflection after a long day. It didn’t quite matter that someone was watching it in an ‘inelegant’ posture. That it was alone. That it made disturbed its environment, and made ripples in the water.

It simply focused on the task at hand. Being one with its surroundings. And if someone was watching it, and was going to use it as a prop to reflect on his own day, so be it.


Like everyone else, I’m having a hard time making sense of the number of changes that are going on around me. There are so many things to do, so many alternative narratives, so many choices – it is paralyzing!

Perhaps, like the ibis, the thing to do is simply to focus on the most important thing in the moment, & do it regardless of what anyone else thinks.

[Link]: Clean the Tiles, Not the Floor

David Cain describes his mental switch to focus on one tile at a time instead of worrying about the pain of having to clean the whole floor.

As long as zeroed in on the current tile, rather than think about the dozens of tiles I had yet to clean, there was minimal discomfort and no tedium. Whenever my mind started to drift that way, I remembered my elegant strategy: look at a tile, and clean that tile. As far as I could tell, nothing more was required.

What does “focus” really mean?

I regularly have days that I can’t seem to find focus. 

It is a struggle because my day job requires me to complete certain tasks whether I am focused or not.  

It’s on days like these that motivation levels drop off a cliff. 

It seemed like today was one of those days.  To make things worse, I had a lunch that didn’t do any help for my energy levels.

So I did what I’d not done in a long time. Took my laptop & notebook, walked outside the building I normally work in, & sat outside. Took a deep breath. Actually, quite a few. Took in the view. Of people smoking in a corner, chatting away over coffee. Eating solitary late lunches, hunched over their phones. The weather looking ominous, the dark clouds gathering to drop their heavy load any minute now. 

And in the next 30 minutes, I got done the three crucial things I was unable to focus on since the morning. 

Leo Babauta had a blog post a while ago on this subject a few months a year ago. About Finding Focus.  If you’d rather not click that link, here’s a summary:

Now sit there with your task. Dive in. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted.
You’ll have the urge to go check something. That’s a nice urge — just watch it and smile. Don’t act on the urge. Just smile. Now go back to what you chose to do.
Do it for 10 minutes, however long you feel is pushing the boundaries of what’s comfortable for a little bit.
Then give yourself a nice reward: …
Now go back.
Repeat. With a smile.

 It worked.

Replacing goals with systems more effective for personal development [Article]

Scott Adams believes the research that says everyone has a limited supply of willpower. And when you use it for one goal, you have less left for the other. Goals are good, but for most of us,

we have no idea where we’ll be in five years, what opportunities will arise, or what we’ll want or need by then. So our best bet is to move from a place of low odds to a place of better odds. That means living someplace that has opportunities, paying attention to your health, continuously upgrading your skills, networking, and perhaps dabbling in lots of different areas…. Systems simply move you from a game with low odds to a game with better odds. With a system you are less likely to miss one opportunity because you were too focused on another. With a system, you are always scanning for any opportunity.

Scott’s new book “How to fail at almost everything & still win big: kind of the story of my life” is now available.


Fred Wilson needs no introduction to those in the VC business.  His blog at
& the community he has created there (see the comments) is a great resource if you are an entrepreneur or would simply like to get a sense of what the startup business is like.

Fred’s been reading the biography of Steve Jobs & writes about it:

Focus is critical when you are three people, when you are twenty-five people, five hundred people, and ten thousand people. You can always get farther faster by saying no to too many projects and too many priorities. Pick your shots carefully and hit them. That’s what Jobs did to turn around Apple 

The comments are illuminating – not everyone shares the awe around Jobs’ management styles