Over the past several months one small word has occupied much of my attention: focus. It’s been echoing in my mind, following my every thought, sometimes with a gentle smile, other times with a scolding expression. It certainly is one of those little words with a big attitude — once it has become part of your consciousness it’s impossible to ignore. And that is a good thing, a very good thing indeed.
When I think of my childhood school days, particularly 5th and 6th grade (which used to be called Orientierungsstufe in Germany, from the word orientation, as kids are evaluated for future education, at least that was the intent) one thing stands out in my report card: Thorsten is often absent minded, easily distracted and tends to distract other children. My teachers had a difficult time reconciling my overall behavior with my learning potential, noting a quite pronounced discrepancy: I tended to be an A– student in music, arts, writing and mathematics, if I could focus long enough. However, I was also diagnosed as being hyperactive — usually referred to nowadays as ADHD (though this post will not be about any clinical condition).