“Concentrate on the essentials “. This advice directs us to know what is important and worthy to think about and what is not. To use the mind fully is essential for personal development. By improving our skill to focus on anything we want to accomplish, we can dramatically improve our productivity and the results. To actively direct our mental focus on only one thing at a time means not to focus on other distractions that are constantly around us. It means to have the ability and the discipline to say yes only to the most important thing at this moment and to say no to all the rest. Now, how can we develop a clear and powerful mental focus?
Focus on the right thing. One of the key aspects of using the mind efficiently is to know what we want and then concentrating our full attention on it. By focusing your mind on one single task, you will be amazed how effective you can be. In business there are the principles of leadership and management working together. I see leadership answering the question “What do we do (and why)?” and management answering “How do we do it (most effectively)?” Or as Stephen Covey puts this, ”Begin with the end in mind and first things first.” This is the ability of self-leadership, the ability to decide the right things to focus on. It can be done by developing a personal vision and creating personal goals from there. This is the key to be successful.
If you develop the skill of focus to a great depth, but if you are focusing on the wrong things you will do wrong things very good, nothing more. For instance, you may play a computer game to a ridiculous high level of skill or get obsessed with a certain person but you will achieve nothing regarding your overall life goals by doing that. You will certainly move your mental focus away from what is really important to you. The skill to focus can be applied in everyday life and it will enhance your abilities to deal with the world. It helps whether we want to use it to create what we desire or just to be effective in what we do. Deepak Chopra had rightly said, ”Intention (goals) transforms while attention (focus) creates.”
Directing the focus. If we fail to direct our mental focus from the inside, our focus will get caught by the outside. Then we will not act but react to the demands of the outside world. Of course, the outside world provides a feedback system, but if this gets out of balance and we are reacting more to the outside than from the inside continuously, then stress is sure to follow. With the right focus we become able to act into the world and by that tend to create the environment we want around us. Failure to do this means that the influence of the environment (including other people) is getting bigger on us, which means in affect that we are not in control of our lives. By taking control over our mental focus we also become capable of focusing on the good side of life and avoid the bad. It is important to actively direct our mental focus and develop this skill to a high degree. This will have direct relationship with your level of success leading to joy and fulfillment.
The process of focus. Applying our attention on a task is a process of conscious creation. If you take your task or goal at hand and direct your focus and actions on this single task, you focus with intensity on getting it done, you get a desired outcome. So the key here is to simplify your focus single mindedly on that one task. Any easy guide to get focused looks like this: Select your one task; put all your attention to that one task; and stay with this task until it is finished
Flow. If you focus with great intensity and for a certain period of time you come into a state of flow, a state where you are so focused that you become one with what you do in the moment. Time vanishes. It is like totally forgetting everything around you. In that state you are most effective and that, surprisingly, without much effort. How can we come into the flow? By focusing with intensity on your task, diving totally into it and becoming one with it; doing it for a reasonable period of time; and avoiding any distractions by creating the necessary environment.
Mental blocks. (a) No motivation or fuzzy motivation. Lack of motivation to use your mental focus is nothing else but a lack of clear goals. If it is fuzzy what you want to create your focus is also scattered. (b) Too much distraction from the environment viz. phone calls, colleagues or other people with demands, unfriendly environments. Try to set up the right environment by disabling phone-calls or instant messages and staying away from persons interrupting you. (c) Mental blocks. If you are unsatisfied with what you do in any way, you are in fact, resisting yourself from being effective. It is important to commit to what you do fully in order to get a good result.
Focus on a larger scale. Focus can and has to be applied on a larger scale if we talk about our personal resources or even resources in groups. Steve Jobs once said, “Apple is a $30 billion company, yet we’ve got less than 30 major products. I don’t know if that’s ever been done before. Certainly the great consumer electronics companies of the past had thousands of products. We tend to focus much more. People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.” That means if you have so many opportunities in life and so many things that demand your attention, the one skill to select what you focus on and what not, is critical.
When we improve our mental focus and use it effectively in everyday life it is also important that we keep our perspective broad. Sometimes , it is necessary to redirect and be flexible by adjusting. It is called keeping balance. We must learn to focus all our resources on mastering a single area of our lives and keeping balance with the rest. There cannot be a better closing but what Anthony Robbins once said, “Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.”
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