I’m always interested in watching people and coming from an Olympic decathlon training regimen that lasted over a decade, I tend to evaluate what I see from an athlete’s perspective. In a nutshell, my observation has been that there are very few anglers/people who are focused and on point about what they say they want to accomplish. I think most are very distracted, most of the time.
This thought first struck me hardest at the gym several years ago while watching people work out while wearing headphones. OK, I thought, maybe there is something to it, but I tried it for 5 minutes and quickly learned that I was thinking more about the music than about the intense workout I knew was necessary to improve. Looking at all the people hooked up to their players, they seemed to spend more time adjusting their headphones than on anything else. Selecting the right music looked like their main goal. Maybe I wasn’t being fair, but I can tell you their real focus often was on the Walkman.
The next distraction I see is folks looking at their cellphone just about every 2 minutes. I’ll see them get off the machine right in the middle of an exercise to take a call. Guess they weren’t really there to work out. I see no sweat or effort, so why go? On the water, I see a ton of anglers do the very same things, just getting along the same as always. You are only focused to the same degree that it takes to distract you!
My point is that I think most anglers and people, in general, are more distracted and nonfocused than they know. Cellphones, posting on Facebook every 5 minutes (or more!), checking messages, email, videos, etc. take precedence over focusing on fishing. Many are out there fishing as a way to post pictures or produce a video of their exploits – and get more likes. They are busier being an online producer than a better angler. Am I right?
OK, you already know I’m an old school fuddy duddy, but the guys who impress me are the ones who are single-minded in their focus on improving. Every trip is a chance to learn something – not to put out a Youtube video! The end result – trying to become a better angler – is the standard they use to measure progress. Few things take them off track. That kind of raw focus, when everything else is just dressing, is practiced by very few anglers.
In the decathlon, with its 10 events, it was an easy thing while training to get off track (literally) and follow all kinds of enticing rabbit trails that seem to be easier. But it would take you away from your main purpose and fundamentals. Fundamentals are work and few embrace them! Many also seem to let themselves be distracted on purpose, providing a reason for failure and something to blame.
Are you completely focused or could I easily push you in another direction? Do circumstances dictate your reaction or is your purpose set and clear. When you get a call or text or your phone beeps, do you have to jump at it regardless of what you’re doing? Focused means you manage distractions, rather than letting the distractions run you, which typically sprays your energy all over the place. It’s not at all efficient.
Clear, powerful goals with focus will serve an angler well. They always do! Many feel this is just too high of a price to pay and completely unreasonable, but in fact it’s what creates energy and drive. No, I understand this approach is not for everyone; I’m talking to the serious ones! Real progress in angling, as in all sports, begins with making the right mental adjustments. It’s not really about getting the hottest new lure.
I think the distractions we face as a society have multiplied and people are more drained than ever. We’re fighting a battle for our souls. Focusing goes against the grain and isn’t easy, but it builds confidence and success for the few able to do it. Decide what you want and don’t let seemingly urgent but unimportant things rule your life. Never give up!
Striper seminars aplenty – Striperfest is this Saturday at Sportsman’s Warehouse on Friant Road in Fresno, with seminars from 1-4 p.m. Here is the lineup: Downrigging 101, 1 p.m. (George); Aqueduct fishing. 1:45 p.m. (Kellogg); Striper Lures, sonar tips, 2:15 p.m. (George); Forebay Tips, 2:45 p.m. (Kellogg); Trophy Stripers, 3:15 p.m. (George). There also will be giveaways (including a haf-day striper trip) and discounts. Preregistration is available at sportsmanswarehouse.com or by calling the store at 559-261-2900.