Category: Focus

Distraction, Clutter and Lions (yes, lions)


Time to read: 2 mins

A few months ago I had an idea of writing a blog post on the topic of clutter and distraction. But then I got distracted…


I also had another thought; those that are able to spend more of their time in direct reflection and purposely choosing what to absorb, are more focused and driven towards their goals.


With each passing moment, they are able to decide what’s most important to them and stay focus on its pursuit.



Distraction and Clutter

Distraction is defined as a thing that prevents someone from concentrating on something. Clutter, on the other hand is to cover or fill something (like your mind) with an untidy collection of things.

Sometimes you can have so much clutter that it becomes a distraction from what you are trying to focus on.  I then started to think about what it means to have focus;  is focus just a matter of removing all of the clutter so that we don’t have any distractions?


Kobe Bryant

I  remember reading an article after Kobe Bryant’s last game in Boston. As much as I dislike Mr.Bryant (being a Celtics fan), interviews with his team mates, coaches and his opponents have reveal a common theme.


When it comes to winning, this guy is really really focused.  At times (ironic as it sound) it has even come at the detriment of his own team mates.  He has been known to walk out of team practices because other weren’t trying hard enough.  He has called out his own team mates, asking them to ‘put your big-boy pants on‘ .  All in the name winning.  If players are not willing to come along on the journey, then he is dragging you along with him.


Nothing conveys his mindset better than a conversation he had with an opposing player, Isaiah Thomas where he shared a rare piece of advice.



Be a Lion.

From Isaiah perspective, this is how the conversation went:


He told me this story about how a lion seeks food, whatever he’s gonna kill and eat.
You know how many bugs are on the lion’s eyes and gnats on his body?
He’s so locked in on that zebra that he doesn’t get distracted by anything else”
If you get distracted by little things, then you’re not as locked in as you think you are.
He said for me to be a lion, and that’s gonna stick with me the rest of my life.


To put this into context, it helps to understand what Kobe had achieved and where Isaiah was in his career.


Kobe Bryant (age 38) Isaiah Thomas (age 27)
 NBA champion 5 0
 NBA Finals MVP 2 0
 NBA Most Valuable Player 1  0
 NBA All-Star 18  1
 All-NBA First Team 11  0
 NBA All-Defensive Team  9  0
 NBA scoring Champion  2  0
 NBA Slam Dunk Champion  1  0


Conquering Both 

Clutter can be controlled, we just need to be a little wiser with what we absorb and when.  Distractions are sometime unavoidable because they can come from an external source, but a lion can conquer both.

Assuming that you have determined what your focus is (i.e. the zebra) and if the focus has enough significance and importance to you. Isn’t it time you ignore the distractions (i.e. the gnats) and looked pass all of the clutter (i.e. the bugs).


Lock in. Go for the kill. Be a Lion.