#1488 A Bowl Full of Coffee Beans

A Lesson on Focused Attention


In our last +1, we talked about a couple of recent opportunities I had to practice my philosophy and activate my Soul Force by Focusing my Energy on some WINs with my kids.

I promised I’d talk about the +1 I started writing called “Lucky #13.”


We’ll get to that tomorrow.

I’m laughing as I type this but I’ve gotta share ANOTHER story about another WIN Target swipe opportunity with Emerson from the morning.

Quick context.

Emerson, as we’ve briefly discussed a few times, is REALLY into chess.

As in…

REALLY into chess. 🤓

I’ll repeat…

We REALLY (!) love the web site ChessKid.com. It’s truly (goosebumps) phenomenal. I HIGHLY recommend it for any parents or grandparents who have kids who are expressing an interest in chess.

FunMasterMike, the Chief Chess Officer of ChessKid is (literally) one of the best teachers I’ve ever seen. He has an incredibly engaging, authentic, funny, and magnetically effective style that has won Emerson over and helped him quickly develop his skills to the point where he recently won his first rated tournament for the “Unrated/Novice” division for his age group—which happened to be the Regional championships. (Proud dad moment! 🤓)

(And shout out to Emerson’s coach, Nick Matta, who combined with Mike to help bring Emerson to the next level!)


FunMasterMike is one of Emerson’s Heroes.

Mike plays kids in a little live Zoom thing he does called “Beat FunMasterMike.”

A LOT of kids are online trying to play him when he does these live Zooms.

Emerson has tried to play him a BUNCH of times but never got lucky enough to be one of the kids who got through to play.


Earlier TODAY!


Emerson plays FunMasterMike (who was doing this particular Zoom with one of the youngest Women International Masters—who’s around 12 years old!) and then comes bursting into my office to tell me (with all the ineffably engaging enthusiasm of the beautiful 10-year-old I absolutely adore!)…



To which I replied, “Dude. That’s amazing!!!”

Then I shifted my Focus AGAIN to this WIN as I knew it was a REALLY important moment for him and I wanted to help him savor it.


We go to the livestream and replay his game and watch him playing his Hero.


He tells me: “It was really hard to play him because I was listening to him talk about our game with the International Master while I was playing.”

To which I said: “DUDE!!”

Then I continued by saying: “It’s IMPOSSIBLE to play him well when your attention is split between Focusing on playing your game AND listening to him talk to another person about what they’re thinking!!”

Then I knew we had a REALLY good teaching moment opportunity.


I celebrated how awesome it was that he was able to play him and I celebrated how well he framed the experience…


I hunted through our pantry to look for some beans of some kind so I could make a point about the power of Focusing our attention on What’s Important Now.

I couldn’t find any open packages of normal beans so I grabbed a bag of coffee beans.

Then I grabbed two bowls.

I poured the coffee beans into one bowl so it was full and I left the other bowl empty.

I said: “You see this bowl full of beans? That’s your brain FOCUSED ON ONE THING—playing chess.”

Then I said: “You know what happens when you think about OTHER things BESIDES playing that game of chess—like listening to FunMasterMike talk while you’re playing?”

Then I grabbed a handful of beans from the full bowl and put them into the empty bowl.

“Those beans go over here.”

Then we talked about how being so excited and nervous and thinking about all that was going on was another scoop of beans in the wrong bowl.

Then we talked about the fact that, as he KEPT ON LISTENING to FunMasterMike narrate every move, he was taking ANOTHER SCOOP of beans out of one bowl and putting it in the other.

And then ANOTHER SCOOP of beans as he worried about his 5-minute clock running out.

And ANOTHER SCOOP as they kept on talking until…

There were very few beans left in the Focus bowl.

Then I asked, “How well do you think you’re going to play when all the beans are in THAT bowl of distractions?”

To which he replied with a big smile: “Not as well as I could if all the beans were in the other bowl.”

To which I replied: “EXACTLY.”


THAT is Today’s +1.

How’s your Focus?

Remember the coffee beans and keep them in the right bowl, Hero.

Activate your Soul Force.


All day. Every day.



P.S. Highlights from the big weekend!