What’s Your Focus….

What is focus?  The definition in The Concise Oxford Dictionary – The centre of interest or activity.  The ability to concentrate for a certain amount of time without distraction.

What has been your focus today?  Where has your focus been?  All over the place I bet.  How often do we say to ourselves, “I just can’t get focused today” or “I can’t keep my mind on track” or “I can’t think straight”?  If you are like me then I can imagine these are lines you have used many times.  Even at this moment my focus is on getting this written work completed for posting but I am still distracted by the lovely weather. It has taken my focus away from the words I am writing even though I am still thinking about them, but I am also thinking about the sun coming back out.  Our attention span is short, very short. We are constantly thinking about the next task or thing, rather than concentrating on the moment.

I do ask myself, “is it possible to focus on more than one thing?”  Some would call this multi-tasking.  Some would say they are good at it, but does that “talent” really work? Or is this just creating more confusion and noise in the mind?

In this modern world that we live in, we are asked to do and think about so much; and more commonly, imposed upon by other people.  Whether it’s our parents and teachers while we are growing up or our partners, employees and society in general; when do we stop and just focus our minds in the moment?  Mostly, we don’t.  Even if you are a completely solitary person who lives in the middle of nowhere where there is no TV, internet, mobile phones or any of those trappings we have come to rely on, is it really possible to obtain focus in the moment?  For me I would say “no, not straight away”.  Why not, I hear you ask?  Thoughts and lots of them.  It takes concentrated determination to slow them down.

This is the reason that some will struggle with meditation.  They find it difficult to slow those thoughts down.  One small thought leads to another and another and so on.  Their focus becomes so diluted that they forget about the meditation and pay more attention to their most dominant thoughts.  I know, I have experienced this.  However, focus is achievable.  Thoughts will come and they will go, allow them to.  Meditation is a good way of strengthening your focus.  It allows you just to focus on one thing.  Take your breathing as an example.  Why can’t you apply that simple act to your everyday life?  Focus on one thing in that very moment you catch yourself thinking.

Here are two good examples of focus.

The 100 metre athlete.

Where do you think the focus of an athlete is before a race?  They’re certainly not thinking about dinner or their training schedule. No, they’re visualising crossing the finishing line first, nothing else.  They come onto the track and all they have in their sights on, is that finishing line.  The ultimate goal is to win, and to achieve that goal they need to be in peak physical condition……but so are the other 7 finalists in the race.  What makes the difference between crossing the line first or in 8th place?  Focus of course, pure undiluted 100% focus…..and a belief!  They have learned to train their mind on the task in hand.  Watch an athlete prepare.  They walk around the starting blocks either looking at the ground or the finishing line.  They may be taking part in self talk.  They don’t focus on the opponents or the official starter.  It’s that finishing line and what it feels like to cross it first, nothing else matters in that moment.  What they are not doing is focusing on the spectator, the noise or the atmosphere.  If they shift their focus to their surroundings, they have just lost the race before the gun has fired.

The Cat

Observe a cat watching its next prey.  The cat has incredible focus.  It can sit and look at something that has caught its attention for quite some time. The object of its focus has no idea the cat is watching, until it’s too late.  However, a loud noise or a sudden movement or even the slightest distraction, and the focus is lost and the prey has gone too.

Focus is a big, big topic and has many avenues that are worth looking at.  I will continue to write more on the subject in follow up posts and especially, how both positive and negative focus plays a big part in our physical existence.

Peace, Love and Happiness.

Warren Ali

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