As a personal coach, one of the main areas I get to work with people is to develop and monitor the ability to “focus” in their lives and career. Coaching can help you stay in focus, week after week.
Are you easily distracted by trivial sounds, someone walking by, or by new thoughts that cross your mind? Do you take much more time than your colleague to complete the same task? Do you find yourself reading the same page over and over again?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you are most likely struggling to focus.
Focus is one of the main keys to a successful life. Most, if not all, of your endeavors require a certain degree of focus. In this article, I want to offer a more comprehensive definition of focus and three fundamental truths about it. My hope is that you get a deeper understanding of the art of focusing and start making any necessary adjustments/changes in order to make it part of your day to day habits.
I define focus as the ability to fully allocate your mental attentiveness and physical energy towards a specific activity, task, or person. Focus is particularly important when it comes to starting and finishing a project and doing it to the best of your ability. It is critical for achieving any kind of goal at any possible scenario. It applies to those who are known for their creativity, those that are financial gurus and even to those that dedicate to sales. It is necessary to understanding any subject or person, growing your career, or entertaining an audience. Focus is a personal resource that we should all strive to master. It is the one indispensable tool to operating in an effective and efficient manner.
Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.
~ Alexander Graham Bell (Scottish born American Inventor and Educator, best known for the invention of the telephone in 1876; 1847-1922)
Focus is the secret weapon of winners. Winners perform above average and obtain extraordinary results because they understand the value of focusing. Winners know that if they lose focus they will not be performing to the best of their abilities and thus, are on a loss. The highly mental attentiveness of athletes is often referred as “being in the zone.” Athletes like Tiger Woods and Roger Federer, could not have achieved the extraordinary success, repeatedly, without a high degree of focus. When expectations are high, competition is fierce, millions are watching, and success hinges on focus, athletes make sure to enter and stay within this zone. It is in this zone where they shine the most.
I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.
Focus is the gateway to excellence. You will begin to achieve all your goals/dreams and become all you are capable of when you learn to focus your attention on them. The sooner you learn this fundamental truth, the more likely you will overcome everything that distracts or limits you in any way. When you single-mindedly focus, all of your-self is in synergy to produce the best results. Van Gogh could not have painted amazing masterpieces, without focusing on the final vision. Michael Phelps would not have won 8 gold medals in the Beijing Olympic Games, if he were thinking about anything else besides reaching the finish line. Regardless of your skill-level, it is single-minded focus that produces excellent results.
You cannot attain focus if you strive to do too much at a time. Be in more than one place at a given moment. Listen to simultaneous conversations. Or speak on the phone, drive, drink coffee, and listen to music.
Focus is the enemy of multitasking. Most people think multi-tasking is effective. I could not disagree more. I think it is the path of the ineffective person. Research shows that the more things people try to do at a time, the more they split their attentiveness and drop performance. Mozart would not have been unable to compose pieces of breathtaking music, while listening to an opera or conversing with friends. The computer was not created while inventors talked on their cell phones. Trying to do or accomplish many things at once is a roadmap to mediocrity. Too much dilutes focus. Hence the saying, “less is more.” When your attention is divided into many things, there is a greater likelihood that you don’t learn well, you don’t remember what you did, or what you need to complete.
- Are you focused on where you need and want to go?
- Is your focus aligned with your goals and priorities?
- What is keeping you from maintaining focus?