The Power of Focus

In the world of personal development, coaching, and success education, a lot of attention goes to subjects like enthusiasm, attitude, persistence, time management, and so on, but focus rarely gets as much press as it deserves. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that it’s even more important than all those other things. Here’s why.

  • Without focus, it’s impossible to
  • Think
  • Reason
  • Perceive
  • Ask questions
  • Answer questions
  • Solve problems
  • Make decisions

Communication, on which rests every form of relationship we can engage in, suffers without focus. Yes, we can communicate without focus, but let’s face it, unclear communication causes more problems than it could ever solve. How many arguments, disagreements, relationship disasters, and even wars have occurred because someone’s communication lacked a definite focus?

Napoleon defeated larger armies by focusing his attack on one point and breaking through enemy lines. A Fresnel lens can focus ordinary sunlight to such a degree that it can burn a hole through steel.

Many of, myself included, have over the years been guilty of being a Swiss Army knife when we ought to be a laser.

Some of the ways I stay focused:

  • Start and end the day with a few minutes of meditation on your values, goals, and priorities.
  • Slow down. I once took a handcuffing course when I worked as a security guard during some hard times, and I’ll never forget what the instructor said about handcuffing someone quickly. “Fast is slow, slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.” When we learned not to hurry, most of the class could handcuff someone in about 3 seconds. I came in second at about 2.5.
  • Take time throughout the day to think about and even revise your intentions. This will help you make better decisions about what to do to achieve your goals.
  • De-clutter your workspace. You have enough to do without having to manage a mess. Remove anything from your workspace that could be a distraction. For a few years, my ‘desk’ was just a narrow hallway table. I had a 300 pound monstrosity of a desk in another room, but when I needed to focus, I’d head to the otherwise unfurnished spare room and the bare table.
  • Exercise. Seriously. It reduces stress, contributes to your overall health, and can often clear your thinking. To take it to another level, think about your intentions and decisions while exercising. You’d be surprised how clear some things are when your heart is pounding.

-Sam