Focus to Improve Skills, Unfocus to Improve Relationships

When it comes to skills like tennis, math, piano, you can improve at them the more you work at it, the more hours you spend, the more focus you bring to the path you take to the goals you’re trying to reach.  If I concentrate harder, I get results faster, because I’m controlling myself more, and success is gained when I can perform and execute the technique perfectly. The more time I spend, the more practice I get, and the more likely I am to execute the technique perfectly.  This ability to learn and learn quickly is very important in life, and is typically how people ‘succeed’ in the objective and competitive sense of the word.

Then there are things like relationships where your results improve when you’re not working at it, that don’t improve solely based on the hours you spend on it, and where focus can actually reduce your success significantly.  A relationship is successful if they remember you when you’re gone, not that they pay attention to you while you’re there.  Spending time alone doesn’t improve the relationship, spending quality time does, and there’s only so much quality time available per day and interaction before it becomes suffocating to spend more time together: overstaying results not in diminishing returns but actually in negative returns.  Spending too much time weakens the relationship, not strengthens.  And focusing too hard on someone is creepy, and so leads to failure.

Applying the skills used to master skills to relationships will lead to failure.  Separate the two, and develop a well rounded toolkit. Be able to learn quickly, and also be able to improve relationships.

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Life Moves On

You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.” – Tupac Shakur


The first image is a story. A parable that I found highlighted several stages of life.

First is, exploring and adventuring.

Second is coming across an obstacle.  Some people give up, some people keep trying. In this case, the person gave up, but raised a family and taught the daughter how to go farther than the parents.

Third is the daughter growing up, gaining skills as the parents grow old.

Fourth is the daughter taking all her skills and making the jump, leaving her parents behind.  She turns back to celebrate the victory with her parents, and…they’re gone.

Waves of emotion, from homesickness, loneliness, fear, shock, hit me at this scene. Reality sets in on the last frame: there’s no going back.


Several themes come out of this for me. First is how rare it is to have the chance to pay back those who support you.  Second is how most people who support you do so without expecting a return, which is wise, because the opportunity for a return is rarely presented.  The conclusion being: exercise gratitude when possible

Other theme is how life is a journey alone, at the end of the day. There are people around you, but they are around you, and they may shape who you are and you may take part of them inside you, but you need to learn how to journey alone, and be prepared for when it happens because it can happen abruptly.


I’ve also recently been struggling with moving on from the past, and the second quote encapsulates a sentiment I’ve been wondering about. When is it applicable? As with most pieces of advice, it’s not the following it that’s the hard part, but the recognizing when to apply it, since it doesn’t apply to all things, and blindly applying advice to all things is unwise.  The image and story above helped me realize that sometimes, you don’t get to choose: life chooses for you. You must move on.  Whether or not you are ready or you want to, you must move on sometimes.

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