For the perfect shot a camera lens has to focus on the target. Without a proper focus, the shot would appear blurry and the photographer would be unable to capture the fine details of the scene. Life is very similar to this analogy. The lack of focus in life leads towards confusion in decision making and goal setting and the first area where negative results are witnessed is in one’s career. Focus is important because it sets the entire resources of the mind, body, heart and soul into achieving a singular target.
Here is where the crux of the idea lies – a singular target.
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”
Alexander Graham Bell
Why Focus is Important
Many people have multiple goals in life and although having more than one goal is not at all bad, the goals nevertheless need to be sequentially structured. Each goal has to be defined in an order that it turns out to be the building block for the next goal.
Some people are able to divide the concentration of their mind into multiple tasks – many people give the example of these multitasking wonder machines when arguing against the idea of focusing on a single task.
What these people are not aware of is the fact that even the process of learning multitasking starts off with having achieved perfection in focusing on a single task. Since such people have a highly developed focusing mechanism they are able to evenly distribute resources between tasks and are able to sequentially order the execution of each segment in their mind appropriately.
The biggest gurus of the business world and the majority of people that are successful in their fields are ones that have learnt to develop focus in their lives. This focus allows them to pay full attention to their tasks and this results in high quality work and productive usage of time eventually making them successful.
There is also the other side of the coin — Quickly done work with no focus — which produces detrimental results:
- A programmer that is unable to focus will end up writing sloppy and poorly structured code. Unless he is able to focus on each line of his code he would not be able to determine how that line will be affecting the next and poor quality code will be built damaging his own reputation and slowing down his own work.
- A writer that does not pay attention to his writing will end up making mistakes in grammar and syntax that will cause him to lose face value in front of his readers creating a negative portrayal of his skill and of himself.
This is true in any case, any task that is not managed with careful detail will end up in a mess and even if somehow completed, will be of poor quality. This is why the majority of successful people very carefully manage their attention and have certain methods which they work with to carve a thorough path to success.
How Focus is Developed
According to an article published on enterpreuner.com , man called Kevin Kruse interviewed super successful individuals which included 7 billionaires, 13 Olympians and a host of accomplished entrepreneurs. This lead him to draw certain conclusions regarding the ladder to success. He discovered that these individuals were so focused on every aspect of their time that they measured time lost in minutes and not in hours! Secondly, the super productive elite focused on a single task they considered the most important and gave their undivided attention into completing it before moving on to their next task.
Here lies the key, the majority of people are not able to complete that single most important task in their backlog. This is mainly due to the fact that they divide their time among many other tasks that they wish to achieve in a day and then again lose focus.
Think of it like this – imagine yourself to be a soccer athlete. As a soccer athlete you need to focus on the ball. Imagine that you were the goalkeeper in a soccer match. A single instant of a loss of focus on the ball can mean that your team would lose the game.
Now shift yourself to the role of a sniper stuck in the middle of enemy territory. Unless your able to focus on a single target and take it out first you will never be able to move onto the next target. This is exactly the case with beating down the mammoth of burdening tasks.
Achieving Focus Nirvana
Developing focus is not a task that can be achieved within days as it requires a consistent and motivated effort. Unlocking the focus within is achieved by first realizing that it is deeply seated within – this idea can be understood by the phrase “that you create your own reality”. So in order to create a better reality one should have aligned thoughts. These thoughts will result in a reality you always wanted but if your thoughts are distorted your reality will also be distorted.
The reason for this is that we map our minds onto the physical reality. Everything you see in front of you was once an idea in someone’s mind. The color of the wall or the curtain in your room to the design of your car – all of it was first visualized in the mind of a person before he made an effort to bring it out into the physical world.
This is a two way process and if you learn to focus than your thoughts will slowly get aligned as well and vice versa. We can also conclude that in order to gain a full focus we are required to be comfortable physically — if you are feeling cold or having a nasty cough you certainly wont be able to focus on any task because you are not physically well so good health plays a key role in focus building. Keeping good hygiene and regularly exercising or engaging in physical activity will help in keeping away diseases and thus will assist you in building your focus.
To start off with the process of achieving ‘Focus Nirvana’ , focus towards a single goal at a time and work for it at least two hours a day. The idea here is to consistently work on that single task for two whole hours. You will see that you will get distracted easily in the start but will eventually overcome the issue with time and patience. Slowly, you should increase the period of time in which you are concentrating and eventually you would be able to tackle tasks pretty quickly and produce high quality results.
The second most important part in focusing is controlling your emotions. If you are sad or heart broken all the time you will never be able to focus on your goals.
This is a whole different ball game and involves preparing yourself for different incidences of life that can negatively affect your emotions. Learn to cut out the emotional roller coaster when dealing with the completion of a task and only drive yourself with a motivation that helps you tackle the task in due time – the desire to succeed. Witnessing yourself succeeding will positively affect the outcome of your future tasks and will also improve your emotional state helping remove the negativity in your mind.
- Place a candle in front of you. Light it up and switch off all the lights.Now sit comfortably and keep concentrating on the flame. For starters 2 minutes are enough. Gradually build up to 30 mins. Repeat this exercise for 5 days without any interruption.
- Watching the lights: When you are done with the above now stop watching the candle flame and sit down in a relaxed state preferably on the ground. Close your eyes and concentrate on a yellow light falling on you from the sky while visualizing that all the truths of nature are opening to you. This is a level one spiritual meditation practice undertaken by the majority of ancient groups that helps in building concentration.
The guidelines discussed above if followed properly and in the manner specified will result in a far more focused version of yourself. The effects of providing your undivided attention upon a single task and gradually using the ability to bring quality into your work will only result in the opening of the doors of success in life. Developing and adhering to the practice of focusing is highly beneficial and one only needs to look at this characteristic as the binding factor in between successful people. This is a clear indication that success is tied with developing focus.
To finish off, here is Jason De Silva narrating the importance of attention