Generally speaking, focus is the central point of attention or activity. We may agree that it’s important to focus on whatever we want to get done. I’d like to add that how we focus on something may actually determine whether or not we’ll live to tell the story. Seriously.
I learned this lesson many years ago in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Before dinner on our first day at the safari lodge we opted for a sunset game drive. We climbed into a typical “safari jeep” ready for an adventure. Our guide drove us around the park and we saw many different types of antelopes, zebras and water buffaloes. Very exciting! But more excitement was to come.
About an hour into the drive, our guide told us that before we’d return to the lodge for dinner, he would drive us down to the Luangwa River to see the sunset. It was spectacular, he said, and we might spot animals who come there to drink in the early evening hours.
A few minutes later we approached the river banks. Already from afar, we could see a herd of elephants crossing the river. We stopped on the high river bank and the driver left the engine running (we were in the wild). My hubby, who sat in the front passenger seat, rigged his camcorder.
The view was magical. On the left side of the vehicle we could see elephants of all sizes: large adults, youngsters and adorable babies. And on the right side a gorgeous African sunset. My hubby was recording for dear life.
That’s when we spotted a group of female lions. They were basking themselves in the last rays of the setting sun, probably strategizing about the upcoming hunt. They were very close and very calm. We watched them breathlessly from the relative safety of our vehicle.
Suddenly my hubby moved. His eye still on the viewfinder he stepped down from the open jeep to get a better view. And landed right in front of the lions! He was so focused on capturing the sunset that he had not seen what all others saw, the lions. In an instant, he was the easy catch, a free meal, so to speak. I was about to scream, but the driver was faster. In a fraction of a second and without a word he grabbed my hubby’s arm and pulled him back into the vehicle. Then he backed out of there, slowly and calmly.
That was a close call. My tiny lesson was that how we focus on something matters. Of course we should focus on what needs to get done. But not so narrowly that we lose sight of what is going on around us. Things can change fast.