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Guest Tai

Maintaining Focus

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Last night I game myself I nice cut on my thumb while sanding a blade.  As I was cleaning up the cut, I thought of something.  I always seem to cut myself late in the day, when I'm getting tired, and thinking about finishing.  Or, when I'm in a rush.  :banghead:

 

What do you folks do to keep focus?

 

Jeff ???

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Guest Tai

You have to pace yourself, don't force it or hurry.

 

Bladesmithing is great feedback. If you have distracting thoughts, it is best to figure out exactly what is causing them,... probably other areas of your life. It's usually family stuff with me. Then deal with the problems, so you can go back to work and be able to focus.

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Since I'm restoring a '76 CB750 I thought I should revisit the classic... Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

 

I found this of interest last night:

 

Boredom is the next gumption trap that comes to mind.  This is the opposite of anxiety and commonly goes with ego problems.  Boredom means you're off the Quality track , you're not seeing things freshly, you've lost your "beginner's mind," and your motorcycle is in great danger.  Boredom means your gumption supply is low and must be replenished before anything else is done.

 

I get bored when bladesmithing turns into Werk.  Real catch-22.

 

That's when I do things like hurt myself.

 

I need the beginner's mind of newness and discovery.

 

Or more coffee.

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I'm the same way. I have rarely been injured while making knives but everytime I have been it was because I was distracted or hurrying and did something stupid.

 

For me the answer was to only engage in knife crafts when I was able to fully concentrate and relax with a clear mind. I study and teach swordsmanship I always keep an eye on students (and myself) to make sure we don't get injured because of a mindset issue.

 

I meditate and work in silence to fully focus on what I am doing. I go to the shop to do one particular thing and when it has been done I stop and go do something else...cut the grass, do dishes, walk the dog, etc. And then I will set myself for the next knife craft task, visualize it and plan it, and then proceed again. If at anytime I find my mind wandering or feel fatigued or *anything* other than focused and motivated I quit and go do something else

 

A wise guy once asked me what the most important technique was in swordsmanship and my reply was that I did not know. His answer was "which ever technique you are executing at that moment is *the* most important technique" and it is true. When dealing with sharp steel and tools you either focus or get hurt...sometimes badly.

 

My belief is that it is the learning of the focusing process that improves our lives the most and making "sharp pointy things" teaches us, by pain if by no other way, how to pay attention.

 

There are lots of ways to enhance concentration and focus.

 

Brian

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Guest Tai
The process has a way of taking care of itself, huh?  :D

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I got big issues with keeping my focus....too many people around, to many outside issues working their way into my thoughts...it's a hard deal.

I end up working nights alot to get some space tostretch out in. That helps.

My bike is a big help, I ride alot... big hill closeby and I can come down off that like a meteor, which actually really clears out my head and gives me a couple of good hours generally.

Stuff that goes bang really loud soothes my spirit too sometimes.

 

It's a hard road but often the strangest things can bring focus and clarity....trick is finding them.

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I find this site instructive on the subject of pain & entertainment.

 

I want the shirt with the anvil on it.

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... or as entertaining if it's someone else's....

 

:D

:laugh:

 

Good point, Randal!

 

frankenthumb.jpg

 

Here is another thing I use to maintain focus, might work for some of the other guys as well. The wife freaked when I returned from the ER and took this picture...it hangs on my polishing bench to keep me on my toes!

 

I haven't been cut since I put it there.

 

I read it in the Blades 'N Stuff catalog. "For those of us who can learn no other way, pain is the ultimate teacher"....Bob Engnath

 

:cool:

 

Brian

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:(

 

Oh man... the ring fingie on my right hand looked, well, actually way worse than that just like two months ago... dumb-ass I am went and stuck the end of my finger into a router-bit.

Freakin OOWWW!

 

Still hurts too.

My own dumb-ass fault. Tired, cranky, shouldn't have been anywhere near a friggin router, or any other tool.

 

Oh well, another scar...

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...yeah, the upside of serious injuries is that chicks dig scars.

 

[ylsuper]

 

Brian

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Guest Tai
For minor distractions or feelings of anxiety, controlled breathing can help. I just take a few deep breaths and keep right on working. It helps.

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Ummm, well, my wife didn't dig it nearly as much as I was hopin she was gonna...

got tuned up right good I did...

 

[dunno]

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I used to install floors for a living.  Carpet, Vinyl, Tile, etc.  I learned then to quit when I got tired and feeling rushed.  Better for the customer and healthier for me.  When I tried hot cutting for the first time, the small piece I cut went flying and burned a hole through a heavy tarp nearby as if it wasn't there.  I realized then, that could have been my stomach!  Nauseating thought.  As a matter of survival I take a break the moment I recognize my mental focus has begun to degrade.  I quit for the day if a break doesn't refresh sufficiently.  

 

Better to forge and run away and live to forge another day!

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Tai and Mark, you got it. When I catch my focus drifting, I usually stop what I'm doing, grab some iced tea or coffee, sit and think for a while. Then find something else that needs my attention. Prevents boredom and burn-out too. 'course, I do so many different things that I don't have to seasrch hard for some other form of mischief to get into!

As for chicks digging scars...I dunno. The ladies have always given mixed reviews on my lamed-up leg-like objects!

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