The Mind’s Modern Captor
by C.A. Phillips
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Coaching is so rewarding, and seeing players fail, learn, and succeed is truly the ultimate goal for anyone who heads up a team. However, one thing always stands in the way of individuals and teams who hope to achieve their very best: distractions.
From a very early age, distractions of all kinds creep into the huddle, the team meeting, the practice. When kids are four or five, it doesn’t take much at all for them to take their eyes – and minds – off the task before them on the field. It can be an airplane flying overhead, a bug crawling on the ground, or the ice cream truck driving by the park.
As kids age, the distractions are still there, but they take different forms. Typically, the distractions become other players once they reach their teenage years. And, one thing that gets my goat as a coach is when I have ten attentive listeners, and two who are cutting up or whispering to each other during a team meeting or when a coach is instructing them. Not only do those two kids miss it, but the entire team dynamic is damaged.
The field or basketball court requires focus, and for teens especially, it’s one of the few places where they can get away from the litany of distractions they are confronted with daily. And, you know when they finish practice, the phones immediately come out, and their minds are pulled-and lulled-to sleep with social media, video games, SnapChat, etc.
You and I are faced with distractions as well. And, whether we admit it or not, most of the time we are setting ourselves up for failure when it comes to giving ourselves and others focused, undivided attention.
If you’re reading this, you can remember a time in your life when you didn’t have a mobile device on your person at all times. Many of you can recall sometimes going days at a time without even using the telephone. We would actually spend time in conversation, or reading, or doing something outdoors. Our minds were collectively much healthier in those days!
Someone I follow on Twitter recently shared something I’d like to pass along that may help you to be more productive, to have fewer distractions, and to free up your mind from clutter. Disable the notifications on your phone. By doing so, you won’t constantly be interrupted by the chirp, the vibration, or the ding that begs for your immediate attention. Instead, schedule a couple times throughout the day to check your device for notifications, and address those that need your attention.
Decades ago, someone coined the phrase “tyranny of the urgent.” It’s when our minds are pulled from that which is most important to attend to that which is calling for us in the moment. It used to be a phone call during family dinner. Or, perhaps a pager going off during a ball game. Now, we have every app on our phones and tablets telling us “come check this out – now! You don’t want to find out later than everyone else!”
You and I have an opportunity to do things differently than the world. We don’t have to have FOMO. We don’t have to be pulled in a dozen directions. Instead, we can be focused, be intentional, be present. And, that will not only change us; it will be noticed by those around us, and lead to more meaningful relationships with those who matter most.
C.A. Phillips is a lifelong sports enthusiast and youth baseball coach, and currently serves as the Communications Pastor and Director of Men’s Groups at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, Ga. He lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Chaz and Chandler.
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