i was trying to get a few things done today, and not really succeeding, and i heard myself say to myself “keep your eye on the ball”. and i thought “but which ball, i have so many balls in the air.”

mic conway in the sideshow, where he belongs

and a light bulb came on above my head like in the cartoons, and i realised i’ve been using the wrong metaphor. eye on the ball is a football metaphor. lots of guys running around on a big field with one ball. quite helpful if you come from a football playing tradition and if that’s the sort of environment you’re in. but i spend a lot more time with circuses than soccer players, and my challenges are mostly related to there being one of me and lots of balls. more like juggling.
so i have something new to tell myself. “keep your eye off the ball”. when you’re trying to juggle lots of balls, you do it by tossing one in the air then forgetting about it until it comes down again. you never ever look at the balls. you have to time your throw exactly right, give it the perfect trajectory, and trust that it and your hand will be in the same place when it comes down. pay attention to what your hands are doing, not what the balls are doing.
i’m going to try more of that.