Fifty years ago my grandparents were not distracted or confused about their purpose. They may not have liked their calling. In fact, my grandmother did not, but she never lost her focus. "The farm" (their locus) provided grazing for 3 cows, a few fat pigs, one goat tied to a post, acres of corn, pear trees, peach trees, and a cherry tree by the farm house. At least this is what I remember.
My father remembers picking beans, and his Mom giving birth under a tree, and then going-back to bean-picking (she gave birth 12 times; my grandfather had a focus too!).
"The farm" gave to Mommer and Popper and their family. At noon, their sons and workers crowded the kitchen for lunch. For years, she stoked the stove with wood. She cooked and baked on that cast iron stove. Mommer and Popper labored every day including Sunday. During summer and fall, they drove their fruits and vegetables to the West Haven, Connecticut farm market at 3AM.
Although they never thought of focus, they understood the importance. Every action was intentional; all their energy went toward keeping the farm going. How many of your grandmothers can whack the head of a chicken and throw it in a simmering pot?
Neither wore Armani or Burberry. Their children carried a bushel of potatoes to the barber to barter a haircut. Popper could graft branches on a tree;Mommer could cook spaghetti sauce for 30 on a wood burning stove.
My grandparents weren't too nurturing, but they taught me how to focus. They could see what needed doing, knew they could do it, and did it. Yes, they did complain; farming is hard, even tragic work, but they never gave up well into their 80's.
No farming in my life except for a couple of raised-box gardens. My tools are software, spreadsheets, and optimization tools. I harvest fees for my work when portfolios grow. My clients can buy with the fruits of their portfolios.
Mommer and Popper cultivated about 6 /7 crop fields.
Growing fruits and vegetables is the farming they understood, and they never veered from it. Weeds did not destroy or diminish their harvest.
Maintaining one field of endeavor requires focus because distractions grow faster than weeds. Many weeds attempt to choke the one plant we want to grow.
My father spent hours pulling weeds around the bean plants. When his parents said, "Go pick beans," he must have understood the harvest depends on pulling out the weeds (not really; he didn't want to feel the wrath of his parents on his butt!) Don't think he liked doing it, but my guess is he learned something invaluable.
So, what do you do to keep the weeds out and the plants growing? What motivates you? What "one thing" defines you clearly and deliberately?
Remember Jack Palance in "City Slickers"? Holding one finger upward, he said to Billy Crystal, "Just one thing". Find that "one thing" that gives you a focus. Write, memorize, and meditate on that "one thing".
Next stay alert to shades of meaning. Every plant, animal, fish, human shivers with nuance. Find the energy within every facet of what keeps you focused. What gets your attention. What makes your heart stir rapidly (other than romance)with passion?
To get to your goal, you will need to fulfill a sequence of tasks (pulling weeds).Keep track of each one by listing and "checking-off" its completion. Monetize tasks by asking and recording. "How much did that effort earn?" "How long did that task take?"
You cannot measure what you don't track. Keep a journal. Observe what works and what does not. Make sure that your focus resolves a problem for yourself and others.
Pulling weeds is tedious, but the harvest comes. Keep your eyes on your field and the "one thing" that validates you. All of a sudden you will awaken to the magic of "Hocus pocus, it's all about focus."