3 Questions: Bob Goff

Author, humanitarian and motivational speaker Bob Goff on how we can remove distractions from our lives and focus on what brings us joy.

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Posted in , Jun 23, 2022

Author Bob Goff; photo courtesy Bob Goff

Ten years ago, Bob Goff released the best seller Love Does, which encourages readers to shamelessly show love and grace to those around them. He formed the nonprofit Love Does, a human rights organization that pursues justice for children in conflict zones around the world. We talked to him about his latest book, Undistracted: Capture Your Purpose, Rediscover Your Joy.

What gets in the way of people finding their purpose and joy in life? We can get so distracted by what’s going on around us that we don’t spend any time understanding what’s going on within us. That will steal your joy. It makes you numbed out because you’re just reacting. Distractions come in every flavor. You need to settle down and figure out what makes you joyful and hang a target on that.

Instead of saying, “I want to be happy,” list what makes you happy. Maybe it’s a game of golf. Then ask yourself why. What I like about golf is that I get six hours to just drive around in a cart with somebody and talk, or it’s because I can check out from all my responsibilities. Vet it a little bit. Rediscovering your joy is slowing down and understanding what your behaviors are and what they are connected to.

How can we identify the distractions in our lives and eliminate them? Make a list like Wimbledon. In the first column, put everything you have going on. At Wimbledon, it’s this person plays that person and one of them advances. Compare the things you’ve got. What is more important between this and that? Move one to the right. Make sure you mean it. Then compare your list to how you spend your day.

You can use a paper plate to represent 24 hours in the day. How much time do you spend sleeping? How much do you spend working? Not just at your office—include the time you spend answering emails after hours. Don’t put down what you wish were happening; write down what is happening. Check it with somebody who loves you. Show them your plate and say, “Does that look like how I do it?”

You can say spending time with God gets a high value, but then be honest with yourself—nobody’s checking your work except Jesus. How much time are you uninterrupted? No guilt involved. No shame. Once you understand where you are, then you can know where you’re headed.

See what’s distracting you and what’s defining you and ask, Can I bring that to Jesus? Can he help me redefine who I am? If I left behind some of the failures that I’ve been giving a lot of airtime to, what would my life look like?

How else can faith help us deal with distractions? I don’t think Jesus is going to try to shout over the noise in our lives. I think he wants to meet us in that quiet place where we can actually have a conversation. From David to Moses, think of everybody God used to do great things. At some point, they got distracted. But after their distraction came a newfound reverence for God.

Distraction doesn’t rule you out; it just prepares you for a more focused, intentional life. I think that’s what God wants for us. Let’s put aside the things distracting us and finish this race, keeping our eyes fixed on the author and perfecter of our faith, Jesus.

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