Focus Your Mind on the Task in Hand
by: Willie Horton
How you focus your mind determines your life – your success, your failure or anything in between those two extremes. And, in truth, most people lie within those two extremes, in a world that could be described as not too bad. Research shows that your ability to focus is correlated with the level of success and happiness that you experience in your life. In other words, your success and happiness are entirely in your own hands. That’s both good and bad news. Good news because now you know that all you have to do is decide to do what it takes to achieve the success and happiness that the normal person could only dream of – bad news because research also proves that we, as human beings, find it practically impossible to focus our minds.
Years of study in the field of psychology shows that, because we have become so adept at performing our routine tasks without having to focus on them, we have lost our ability innate ability to focus – even on what we decide we want to focus on – the problem being that, sooner or later, pretty much everything becomes routine. As I say, the result is that we end up focusing on nothing. Think about it – even when you’re supposed to be doing something: typing a letter, writing a report, digging a hole in the road, driving your car, playing golf – whatever it is, isn’t your mind constantly in a state of distraction? Even if you’re not aware that you’re being distracted, research proves conclusively that you’re subconsciously constantly distracted from what is going on right here, right now.
And that’s what focus is all about – focusing on what’s going on right here, right now. I believe that most people get confused about the link between success and focus. Sure, you need to have a reasonable idea of what you want to achieve – in life, in business, in a relationship, on the field of play – but the primary thing that you need to focus on is what you are actually doing right at this moment in time. Put it like this. Say that you want to be a boxing champion. You only train every so often, preferring to spend your time writing about and visualizing holding up the championship trophy. And, when you finally get into the ring to face your opponent, instead of hitting him, you gaze off longingly into the middle-distance trying to catch hold of that vision of your dream. Yes, you’re totally focused on your goal, but what do you think is going to happen to you – very quickly?
When you’re supposed to be training you should be doing just that. I mean ‘just’ that – nothing else. When you’re out jogging you should be doing just that – with nothing else in your mind, just total focus on what you’re doing and how it feels to be doing it. And when you’re in the ring, the farthest thing from your mind should be your desired goal. Top of mind should be what you’re seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling and tasting – what you’re actually experiencing as a result of being completely focused.
Focus – just like living, happiness and success – is a now thing. Whatever you want out of life, you’re never going to achieve it, no matter how much visualization or goal-setting you undertake, if you don’t actually do what you’ve got to do. Now, what does that actually mean in practice? Well, if you’ve decided to spend Saturday morning with the kids, the most important thing that you have to do at that moment in time is be fully with your children – normal people would be physically there and mentally somewhere else. If you decide to make a ‘phone call that may just get you through to someone who can open up new opportunities for you, the most important thing that you have to do at that moment in time is lift the ‘phone, dial the number, make that call – normal people put off making those calls until they end up being never made. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do right here, right now.
But you can’t just decide to make that important call – or whatever it happens to be – if you’ve an adult lifetime’s habit of being unfocused. I said earlier that our ability to focus is innate. We could all do it effortlessly up to the age of eleven of twelve. We’ve got to get back to that state of mind. It’s a clear, focused and attentive state of mind – if you’ve young children, notice how they are totally focused, to the point of being engrossed, on what they’re watching on the TV. You’ve got to start re-training yourself to be engrossed. Start with something simple. Now, there’s no point in trying to engross yourself in your favourite TV show – research shows that your mind will wander, just as it always does. The same research undoubtedly gives us an insight into why we fall asleep in front of our favourite TV show!
No, I mean something really simple. Why not find somewhere to sit down. When you’re comfortable, close your eyes and engross yourself in what you hear. Next time, you might engross yourself in what you feel – you’ll find that your body is a hive of activity! The process, which takes time, patience and commitment, involves re-tuning in to your five senses – your only way of making sense of this crazy world! That is what focus is all about – and it is that on which your happiness and success depend.
Copyright (c) 2010 Willie Horton