Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.~Greg Anderson
There is a tremendous power in your ability to focus.
In this post I would like to explain how powerful the use of your own ability to focus can be, give you a couple of tips how to improve in this area, and show you a simple practical exercise with a ton of useful benefits.
If you can learn to focus the right way, your life will be transformed as if by magic.
Your Reality is Determined by Your Focus.
Think about the title of this chapter for a moment. Can you see how true it is? Our experiences teach us that.
For example, you wake up in the morning and start thinking how miserable your day is going to be. Chances are your day will be exactly as you imagined it.
But if you focus on the fact that your life is a wonderful gift worth enjoying, chances are your day will be great.
Or if you let your focus jump here and there, from one task to another, chances are you will have an unproductive, albeit busy day.
I have understood one important thing for my life. Whenever I focus on just one task at a time and manage to lose myself in it, my day not only becomes productive, but very enjoyable too.
Likewise, when I focus on how tired I am and when I direct all my attention on, for example, watching TV, the result is countless hours of fruitless TV-watching done.
But if I focus on being fit and healthy, I become fit and healthy through healthy food and activity.
I know that now some people probably shake their heads in disagreement, but trust me, even though this whole story might seem simplistic, it’s totally true.
Meet the miraculous power of focus.
So, how can you use focus to enhance various aspects of your life? You can use the tips given below. Toward the end of this post I will also present a simple practical exercise for enhancing your ability to focus.
Focus on Your Goal
Focus is, without a doubt, the most important factor that will determine whether or not you will achieve your goal.
It is NOT willpower that determines your success. It is NOT self discipline. It is NOT how rewarding your goal is. It is NOT motivation.
It is focus. As simple as that.
The same holds true if you want to create a new habit.
It is how efficiently you can maintain your focus that determines your success rate.
If you can’t keep your focus on the goal you want to achieve or habit you want to build, there’s little chance of success. Unless your goal is an easy one that would’ve happened anyway without too much trouble.
End-Goals vs Means-Goals
It is also worth mentioning that you should be careful while selecting your goals.
Vishen Lakhiani has defined so clearly the concept and importance of going after “end goals“, rather than “means goals“. If you are new to this, check our his website, or his bestseller book “The Code of the Extraordinary MInd“.
Now we are going to consider several great ways of keeping focus in your life: focusing on the now, on the things you are doing, and on the positive aspects of your life.
Focus on the Now
This is a subject thoroughly covered in the spiritual and self-growth literature. Like these tips from .
But, being present in the moment so important that I have to mention it here.
Focusing on the “here and now” can bring you so much good, that you simply cannot afford not to be doing it. Check out this slow pace meditation to learn how to enter the here and now more easily.
It can help you enjoy your life more, reduce stress, and improve your productivity.
Living in the now, as opposed to living in the past (“Why did you do that thing to me?”) or future (“The meeting this afternoon is going to be very boring.”) is a hard thing to do. It takes a lot of practice. But it is worthwhile.
Focus on What You are Doing
There are certain task we like so much, that when we do them, the entire world around us disappears. Have you ever experienced this?
When this happens, you are so involved in what you are doing, you lose track of time.
Another way to define this state of consciousness is to use the increasingly popular term “Flow State“. It turns out, being in a flow is a vital ingredient to happiness.
The state of flow, or being “in the zone”, is a state of peak performance. ~daringtolivefully
There is a profound satisfaction when you are absorbed in whatever work you are doing, as opposed to being in a passively boring state.
The million dollar question is how to get into a state of flow?
As anything truly valuable, it takes practice.
But the first thing is to find something you love to do. Something you are truly passionate about.
Find out what you love to do. Leave the usual distractions aside, TV, facebook, twitter, checking emails, … all those things are plain opposite to flow.
The next step after you get rid of all distractions is to focus on the task at hand. This is where things get difficult before they get easy (flow state). Eliminating distractions is another topic entirely. I don’t want to get into it right now. But, you have to maintain your focus for some time, and if you can do that you have won half the battle.
Love Melli takes this further with four simple steps for entering the ‘Flow State’ any time.
Focus on the Positive
You have a simple choice in life. To focus on the positive or to focus on the negative.
Always choose the first one.
I’ve learned early in my life to focus on the positive. When I was really young, it came to me like the most natural thing. I don’t think I’ve read that somewhere. I just knew that it was the right thing to do.
Quickly I learned to dismiss my negative thoughts or to create positive thoughts instead of them.
The sad reality is that your negative thoughts have the tendency to grow and overwhelm your consciousness. You have to catch them early enough while you still have control over them.
great tips how to focus on the positive when the negativity is too embedded, and you need some help to uproot it.has some
Cultivate positive thoughts even if there are no negative thoughts in your mind. Learn this skill, as it is so important.
For example, create a habit of thinking how great you feel. Think about all the good things in your life. If you just make a small effort, you can find so many great things in your life you can feel great about.
You can also learn the transformative power of gratitude.
Learn to see the positive sides in any situation. No matter how grave it may be, there has to be something positive about it.
The end result is happiness, as you always focus on the positive.
Why is Focus so Important?
Focusing on just one thing at a time is very important. That is, until you finish the task. For example, let’s say you want to paint the outside of your house. You start off with a complete focus. The first couple of days you start by preparing the paint and paint one of the walls. While your focus is on the task, you make great progress.
But, halfway through the job, you decide that your house needs decluttering, and you shift your focus. You start to move boxes, and fill bags with junk. You no longer paint your house, because your focus is elsewhere.
You may even decide to jump back and fort between decluttering and painting, but then, chances are you will not be efficient in either task.
If you maintained your focus on the painting all the way till the end, you would have a nice painted house. Then you would be able to devote your attention to something else, like for example to declutter your house.
This is just an example why it is important to focus on one goal at a time. I’m sure you can find many others from your personal experience.
Multiple goals widen your focus, and you’ll have less chances to complete any of them. It is still possible, but your diffuse focus make it more difficult.The same is true with multitasking.
As reported by dailymail, study confirm that multitasking may be doing you more harm than good and may impact cognitive performance:
Many of us will have problem maintaining focus even with one goal in mind. It is therefore very important to find a way to keep yourself on track. Here are some tips that I use:
- I try to read online about my goal as much as I can. The other people’s experiences often mean a lot to me and bring me insight and inspiration.
- I post easy to spot little reminders everywhere through my home.
- I try to tell to my friends and family about my goals so they can remind me of it.
- I dedicate a time every day to work on my goal.
- I perform daily concentration exercise to enhance my ability to focus (see below)
For more tips check for example Celestine Chua’s post where she writes about 9 tips to stay focused on your goals.
Concentration Exercise for Better Focus
Here is a simple practical method how to improve your ability to focus. It may bring you a lot additional benefits too.
- Sit in a chair in front of a white wall. Find a dark spot on the wall at the height of your eyes. You can also use a black point on a white paper for this. Close your eyes and relax for a couple of minutes.
- Open your eyes and start looking at the spot without blinking.
- You body should be absolutely still. If you have to blink, do that, but before blinking, silently say to yourself :”I am going to blink”.
- When you are done, close your eyes and observe the reflection of the spot on the inner screen of your mind for a couple of minutes.
- At first, you won’t be able to practice for too long. Start with half a minute and slowly increase the time until you reach 5 minutes.
This exercise improves your ability to focus. As an additional benefit, it improves willpower, intuition, vision, memory and strengthens the eyes.
If you’ve made it so far, I hope you liked this post. If you can spare an additional couple of minutes, please let us know how you manage to maintain focus in your life in the comments section below. Here is a beautiful and inspiring quote instead of a conclusion:
Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them. ~Jack Canfield