Whenever we think of simple words such as talk, run, or drive we have a pretty clear understanding of those words. One means to express ourselves verbally, one means to exert more energy from our bodies by moving quicker than walking, and one means to use a vehicle. But wait, those last two words actually have more than one meaning…that is where semantics become a bit tricky A person can run but so can copy machine. A car can drive but what do we also call that intrinsic motivator that pushes us to simply do what we do.
So when you see a word such as “Focus,” what comes to mind? Take a second to close your eyes and visualize what “Focus” means to you.
Now take from this what you need for yourself. Choose one definition from below that resonates the most with your life, current situation or hell just pick one that sounds more like your initial idea of what it meant to you before you laid eyes on the actual meaning.
For the purpose of this story, I will choose the one that says “pay particular attention to.” In High School I joined the girls tennis team the summer of my sophomore year right before Junior year. Prior to joining tennis I desired so much to be a member of the cheer-leading squad. Being a girl who had always been bigger than her classmates, I knew in my heart of hearts this would be a major accomplishment for me in my eyes and the eyes of others. My best friend at the time and I decided we’d both try out. Long story short, she got in and I did not.
What made her attempts for cheer-leading actually fall through and become a success? You guessed it, she was FOCUSED. While I wanted to be on the team, it was not out of a true desire to really cheer the sports teams on or even for the true desire of being a cheer-leader in itself. Rather I was trying to prove a point. So when tryouts came along, we made our way to the blue bleacher decorated gym in our athletic wear ready to wow the coaches (who were very tough to say the least). Eventually after maybe two days of trying out (I probably left after day 1…can’t really recall) I realized that if it was expected of me to learn how to do a back flip, front flip or any flip that required my plump body to momentarily gravitate up off the floor for merely a few seconds then land feet first back to the gravitational pull of the ground, it wasn’t HAPPENING!
My FOCUS was not aligned with cheering because it was not truly my heart’s desire or even its fixation. Rather, I allowed the first hurdle of any kind to push me away from trying to become a cheer-leader. Eventually I realized there was one more thing I would like to try that I had desired since I was a child. Sports were never a major fixation of mine but I did enjoy watching tennis even if it were briefly.
When I joined the team, I noticed something: For the first time I actually pushed myself harder than I had ever did before in life. At least physically that is, I had always pushed myself academically. But during the spicy July days you could find myself and several other neighborhood girls running around the huge pond in the local park. You could also find us running back and forth on the tennis court backwards then forwards continuous doing what our coach called “M&Ms.” That shit sucked. But I can tell you one thing, I damn sure know how to run backwards now.
What changed when I joined the tennis team? Aside from the coach, environment and the members? Well for one, there was no fighting with gravity, BUT I also became more FOCUSED on getting stronger physically. As well as, proving less to others but more to myself that if I really tried I could be up in the ranks with the Williams sisters. In fact I think that tennis should be a sport all kids learn growing up, it takes extreme fixation on every part of the game. The only people who are truly involved predominantly are you, your partner (if you’re playing doubles) and of course your opponent(s).
While I may not have become the greatest tennis player, I still think back to how much the sport in itself developed a more solidified portion of my personality. When I first started playing, my coach would often yell “Focus on the ball Sophonie.” You see, initially my thoughts were “I’m going to just play the best that I can, wherever the ball lands in the air, I’ll just catch it if I can.” Truth is, if you go through life with the “catch it if I can” mentality, guess what? Yup! You won’t catch much of anything but a headache.
I would swing the racquets aimlessly at times with “spaghetti wrists” which according to my coach meant “your wrists weren’t being held steady when holding the racquets.” There is a certain precision to any sport. In tennis the aim is to hold your entire arm steady enough so that your wrists don’t become flimsy and risk the possibility of injury. Now if you are simply playing to catch what you can, your focus won’t be aligned with this very important fact, thus you run the risk of becoming injured every time you stand behind the white line ready to make that first serve.
In essence it would confuse me at first why older teammates would say things like “wrong form girl!” Not realizing and truly setting my mind on what was taking place in front of me is what caused me the greatest moments of grief during tennis season. Eventually as a senior I began to truly fixate my eyes on that fuzzy neon colored ball whenever it met my eye. Once I centered myself on that court as if it were just me and the ball I promise you I had a better season. Now perhaps I still didn’t win as many games BUT I for damn sure felt a whole lot better. Prior to adjusting my focus, I would simply allow the ball to pass me by at any moment. Remember I was simply trying to catch what I could. There was no real vision, goal or aim. If I won a game, cool. If I lost a game, that was also cool.
Now, as the title of this post reiterates we need to “Catch to Win,” not just “Catch what You Can.” Why would you want to just catch anything? Granted, life can throw us a curve ball at any moment. Hell life has thrown me several and still is. I won’t ever forget the time during tennis, the ball threw me a curve right in my vagina (if I were a person who identifies as male…I would have been knocked out cold) but instead I squeezed my thighs together and went on with the game. No that was not a shot at men…okay maybe it was 😉
Look, this post has been super long…so for those like me who sometimes wants a quick summary of it all, here it goes: READ THE DAMN POST AGAIN.
I’m only kidding…
Point #1: Know the definition of focus for you…what does your heart desire or want to fixate on to activate your streak of winning in life?
Point #2: Readjust your lens to focus on what you want…not what others want for you or even what you want others to see you as
Point #3: Don’t just work towards catching whatever is thrown your way. Actually work towards re-centering yourself to focus on your dreams and what it takes to make on that path.