Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tunnel Vision

Sometime mid-afternoon, as I was attempting to plow through a day of screening and editing and job searching, a friend commented in an email about how hard it was snowing outside. I, of course, immediately turned to the window, through which all I could see was white. I had known it was supposed to snow, but though I was home and making my own schedule all day, in an apartment with giant windows, I had not seen the snow. During the many hours preceding the email, clearly I had been so buried in the computer, so immersed in my attempt to unearth new jobs and new knowledge from the screen, that I had never even turned toward the window to see what was happening.

Did I need to know it was snowing? Not really, at least not until I had to go out. But the fact that I could spend such a long time oblivious to the world around me made me worry about what else I might be missing.

When I'm working, I often lose track of the rest of things. Whether it's phone calls to be made or the passing of daylight, or simply awareness of my kids' schedules, it sometimes goes out of the range of my tunnel vision. Perhaps tunnel vision while working is a good thing. Perhaps the focus makes for a better product. But when we're in tunnel vision mode, how much of the really good stuff, stuff that would enrich our view, are we missing? A friend told me this week that one of the big "no-no's" of job searching was staring at the screen all day, believing that opportunities would come out of it to you, if only you sat long enough. Today, as I "discovered" the snow, long after it had begun, through large windows just a few feet from me, I realized how limiting tunnel vision can be. While we are simply focusing, we are actually depriving ourselves of the benefits of the world around us. Our work and our searching can both be enriched by our awareness of that world. We don't live in a screen--why should the decisions we make come only from that screen?

I'm not sure what my near future will hold, but seeing the snow "on a delay" today was a reminder that seeing my future is not just about looking straight ahead. I will be open to far more possibilities if I include the world around me, not just the screen in front of me. The tunnel may be a path to where you're going, but the surrounding view will make things--and you--far more interesting when you get there.

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