the attention span of a fruit fly

I’m in full write mode today. Today has been quite good. I’ve gotten into the zone and stayed there. That’s not always the case. Very often I can find several thousand other, slightly related (but not exactly) to distract me. Like writing this blog, instead of writing what I’m supposed to. Easily distracted, the attention span of a fruit fly.

I used to feel bad about it – you’re ’supposed’ to be focussed. But now I don’t. I still stay on focus, but I have a better picture, and it goes like this:

To arrive anywhere you needed something more than a definite idea of your destination – you needed a diagram of the lay of the land. Because you cannot judge a man, for instance, by studying him alone, or even by studying man alone; you cannot know much about elephants by studying elephants alone; you have to learn about habits and tendencies and surroundings and about the things on which the individual is dependent and which go to make him and his actions possible or necessary, as the case may be.

You cannot become an authority on grasses – the grasses fit to eat and those not fit to eat (all grasses fit to eat have seeds) – just from studying grasses. No, the fact is that you cannot see all the facts about anything by just looking at that thing itself. To learn part of the essential truth about grasses, for instance, you have to study the cow!

Luther Burbank – The Harvest of the Years


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