The world is a distracting place. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings work together in their insentient intent to disturb us from our focus and send us twirling down a pathway filled with rainbow creativity possibly best illustrated by the crayons of a five year old.
Technology isn’t distracted. Computers work in their mundane universe, sorting, filing and calculating without ever losing precious focus. Electronic circuits don’t get distracted. They were built by human hands to carry out an activity with preciseness, not limited or overwhelmed by an overactive imagination.
I am constantly moaned at for losing focus. I put down my keys in a place I can’t remember because I am too busy filming my cat. But, what’s so bad about being distracted? That one perfect moment of shifted focus may be the key that unlocks the door to a new idea, concept or realisation. Let me elaborate:
Bedford Tutor was not planned. I didn’t spend hours around a table discussing my fledgling ideas which were, back then, just imaginings from a creative mind.
No. I just jumped in. I was bored one afternoon (boredom is my antagonist) and decided to set up a business. I was already running ‘Amusination’, a children’s party business I’d set up at fifteen, and, obviously thought it would be a good idea to set up another one. Within hours I’d bought a domain name, acquired a website and designed a logo. I’d also developed a focus (ironic I know) which remains to this day: hands-on learning.
I’ve never shifted from that focus. In my whole life, I’ve probably never been so focused. Yes, I was a good student at school, but outside the classroom I leapt from activity to activity in a wave of childlike optimism that quickly metamorphosised into boredom. I never got truly ‘good’ at anything, even though I could have done with more focus. I can draw, sing and play instruments well, but I seem to lack the ability to become a master of one – it just isn’t in my nature.
Then Bedford Tutor came along. It escalated into a business quicker than I’d anticipated and, within a few weeks, I had my first couple of students, Suddenly, I was focused: hyperfocused. I realised, very quickly, why school had never been a problem for me: school had been fuelling my overactive imagination from a young age with myriad lessons and new, fascinating subjects every few weeks. Over six years, this hyperfocus has helped me develop my business into what it is today, and it all originated from a beautiful distraction.
Nowadays, I thrive on distraction. In our tuition room, we have ‘Power Of Focus’ and ‘Power Of Distraction: POF & POD. We teach children about the importance of developing focus when working on a task and always ensure we are constantly developing our own focus (even if it is a constant challenge). However, we also have ‘Power of Distraction’, an undersold sister of focus whose job is just as important. We embrace random questions and sporadic laughter. We enjoy the eureka moments and thrive on giving our students unplanned choices which develop strong imaginations and skills such as problem-solving and empathy. Most of the time life choses for us. Everyday we walk into unplanned weather and shop in stores filled with unplanned groups of people. These experiences are almost always unplanned, so why not embrace the spontaneous? At the end of the day, we are animals who are physically wired to react to noises, smells and general changes in our environment. Yes, we require focus, but we also require the ability to realise what is going on around us and, if we never allow our brains to wander, who knows what we might miss?
We’ll always be committed to finding ‘Action In Distraction’ – Bedford Tutor wouldn’t be here without it!