“You can’t depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.”
- Mark Twain
What do some people sail happily, abundantly, and effortlessly through life while their neighbor suffers miserably through a never ending maze of failure, effort and struggle?
You might be surprised to discover that the difference between these two paths in life does not always depend on how hard a person works, how much education they have, or how much money they make.
Often, the person who swiftly and easily reaches their aspirations has simply learned the power of focus. They utilize their imagination to focus upon the mental pictures and feelings of what they desire to create in their future experience. Their goals are realized much more rapidly and easily than someone who dwells on the distractions of day to day living.
Focusing is not always easy because we are living in an age of mass distraction; multi-tasking is considered normal. But losing yourself in your iPhone or obsessing over your to-do list are redundant if you’re yearning to move forward in life, because trying to do too many things at once robs you of the immense power you possess in focusing your attention. Without the power of focus, you may whirl around exhibiting lots of external action, but you will never really get anything done.
In one of my favorite books, “The Quest”, the author discusses how a young orange tree will produce many orange blossoms but how only one fruit emerges in the tree’s early stage of development. This is because if a young tree tried to feed the growth of all the potential oranges, it would expend so much energy that none of them would be fed very well. Instead the tree pours all its’ energy into growing one luscious fruit.
This is a great analogy for how to utilize the power of focus in our lives. If we’re so scattered and busy that we’re forced to do ten things at once, nothing will ever be accomplished to the best of our ability. But when we slow down and concentrate on doing one thing at a time, we can be assured that our results will be equivalent to that one, big, juicy orange.
Many of us haven’t experienced the power of focus because we’ve never been taught how to practice it. Learning how to focus can take time and dedication, but there are several easy ways to increase your power of focus.
1. Know What You Want In Life
In order to focus, you first have to have something to focus upon. If you don’t know what you want out of Life, Life will have no way of knowing what to give to you. The first step toward harnessing the power of focus is to sit down with a pen and a notebook, and write down your desires, goals, aspirations, and life purpose. It’s important to release any judgment while you’re doing this task as to what you think is “possible”. Impossibility thoughts are just programmed beliefs that stem from witnessing the actions of those who have gone before you. You’re not here to replicate someone else’s life; you’re here to create your own. The first step on your new path is making a solid and powerful decision about who you are and where you’re going.
2. Look Where You’re Going, Instead of Where You Are
What you focus on creates your future experience. Every second you spend griping or complaining, doubting or worrying about your situation, is valuable time you are using to actively create more of the same dread for yourself. If you can use the goals you made in the above step to spend a few minutes each day visualizing where you are going instead of where you are, Life will begin to mold itself around your new vision. Nothing will change on the outside until your focus changes on the inside.
3. Turn Off The Television
It’s impossible to maintain a creative focus if you are distracted. Television, internet, the telephone, video games, and your iPhone all have the ability to steal your attention away from your power of focus. I experience this every day at the gym when I find myself distracted by the TVs on the treadmill. I turn my TV off, only to have my attention diverted to the TV in the row ahead of me! There is a place and time to enjoy all of these activities, but just make sure to distance yourself from them during any activity that requires your focus.
4. Only Take Inspired Action
In nature everything unfolds according to the law of least effort. The Universe is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to lead you to your goals in an easy, effortless manner. Your life will become less scattered when you choose only to act upon your inner guidance, as it always leads you to joyful, inspired action. Ditching all activity that feels frantic or chaotic will also create more time for you to visualize. When the Universe conspires, you will feel inspired – into the easiest, most effortless path.
5. Practice Present Moment Awareness
The enemy of concentration is a drifting mind. You lose the ability to accomplish anything in alignment with your full potential if your mind is off thinking about something other than the task at hand. Meditation can help you practice the power of focus by increasing your ability to distance yourself from your thoughts. As you distance yourself from your thoughts you activate your power of focus by increasing your ability to consciously choose what to think about.
I recently saw an ad for a canned beverage that promises “FOCUS + CLARITY”! I’d like to reassure you that you don’t need soda for focus and clarity. Instead, why not try an orange? You’ll be reminded that if you can master the power of focus, you can master the art of Life.