Going the distance

Focus on what matters most

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. February 9, 2016

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If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
  • Call your physician, health provider or clergy
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity of visiting with a prominent musical performer. This individual came from humble beginnings, worked tirelessly in the backwaters of the musical world and, with tenacity, talent and the help of superb managers, became an international superstar.

But then, as often happens, this performer became distracted. There were requests for personal appearances, interviews, business and promotional opportunities that required an enormous amount of energy and focus, and countless requests to appear at a variety of functions, typically for charitable purposes.

Not surprisingly, the virtuoso lost some of his sharpness, faded somewhat into the background, and was fearful that he would be replaced by an up-and-coming performer who was younger, more energetic and more versatile.

What he shared with me was humbling. He had a professional epiphany and realized he had to "make the main thing the main thing." He was reminded of other prominent musicians who said if they didn't practice for two days, a few people in the audience would know it, but if they missed three days of practice, everyone would know it.

So he jettisoned the distractions. He refocused on renewing his career and his vitality.

The lessons are clear:

  • You only have so much energy and if you don't make "the main thing the main thing," the world will siphon off your energy.
  • It's real easy to get distracted with the stuff of life. Emails, texts, phone calls and social media, but if you don't insulate yourself in a cocoon of creativity, your gifts and skills will quickly wither.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

Join the discussion at #Stress.

Feb. 09, 2016