Power of Focus
“You remember and dwell on all the things you’ve lost and ignore all the things you haven’t. Because your scars are like stars. Yet the night stays perfectly black.” ~ Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You
“What you don’t do determines what you can do.” ~ Tim Ferriss, via James Clear’s Blog
“[Success] is not about beating the other guy. It’s not about having more than the others. It’s about being what you are, and being as good as possible at it, without succumbing to all the things that draw you away from it. It’s about going where you set out to go. About accomplishing the most that you’re capable of in what you choose. That’s it. No more and no less.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“It seems that often when problems arise, our outlook becomes narrow. All of our attention may be focused on worrying about the problem, and we may have a sense that we’re the only one that is going through such difficulties. This can lead to a kind of self-absorption that can make the problem seem very intense. When this happens, I think that seeing things from a wider perspective can definitely help – realizing, for instance, that there are many other people who have gone through similar experiences, and even worse experiences. If you focus too closely, too intensely, on a problem when it occurs, it appears uncontrollable. But if you compare that event with some other greater event, look at the same problem from a distance, then it appears smaller and less overwhelming.” ~ Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
Questions direct focus; focus directs actions; actions direct life.
The process works like this: A question gets asked, a void is created, and the mind – like a vacuum – works to fill that void with an answer almost instantaneously. So the opportunity is this: Start asking yourself better questions and you can immediately start getting better answers.
Ask yourself bad questions; get bad answers; take bad actions (or no actions); have a, well, bad life.
Ask yourself powerful questions; get powerful answers; take powerful actions; have a powerful life!
Lame questions beget lame answers; Extraordinary questions beget extraordinary answers.
Before you dismiss this idea as being all too simple, let’s dig a little deeper.
How exactly do questions direct focus?
“Leaders need to keep a singular focus, each and every day, on their ultimate goals; they need to keep them at the front of their minds as they choose their actions and strategies. This seems so obvious but, at the same time, incredibly busy days when people are constantly asking for your attention make it easy to lose a central, goal-oriented focus. Thus, even something as simple as putting a Post-it note that describes your ultimate goals on the corner of your computer screen can help you keep focused and slow you down so that you can facilitate and orchestrate your team’s actions directly toward your ultimate goal.” ~ J. Keith Murnighan, Do Nothing!
“Sticking things out is overrated, particularly if you stick out the wrong things. In fact, I think you’d be much better off quitting most of what you do so you have the resources to get through the hard slog I call the Dip. The challenge, then, is to not quit in the Dip, but instead to quit everything else so you have the focus to get through the slog of what matters.” ~ Seth Godin, Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?
“Often called the best woman soccer player in the world, Mia Hamm says she was always asked, ‘Mia, what is the most important thing for a soccer player to have?’ With no hesitation, she answered, ‘Mental toughness.’ And she didn’t mean some innate trait. When eleven players want to knock you down, when you’re tired or injured, when the referees are against you, you can’t let any of it affect your focus. How do you do that? You have to learn how. ‘It is,’ said Hamm, ‘one of the most difficult aspects of soccer and the one I struggle with every game and every practice.” ~ Carol Dweck, Mindset
“Success usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction.” ~ James Clear, Blog
“For true listening, no matter how brief, requires tremendous effort. You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” ~ Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled
Rambha (family servant) had given [Mohandas K.] Gandhi an enchanting image to describe the power of mantra. She compared the practice of mantra to the training of an elephant. “As the elephant walks through the market,” taught Rambha, “he swings his trunk from side to side and creates havoc with it wherever he goes – knocking over fruit stands and scattering vendors, snatching bananas and coconuts wherever possible. His trunk is naturally restless, hungry, scattered, undisciplined. This is just like the mind – constantly causing trouble.”