‘The one and only thing over which you have complete and total control is how you focus your own mind.’ - Napoleon Hill.
Michael Phelps is the only athlete to win the most medals in the history of the Olympics. To date, he has bagged twenty-eight medals, twenty-three of which are gold. That he earned all these accolades is impressive considering that they diagnosed him with ADHD- a disorder that interferes with one’s ability to focus. At kindergarten, a teacher told Phelps’ mother that he would accomplish nothing in life because of his inability to focus. His mother introduced him to swimming, and he found it so freeing because it slowed down his mind, giving him the ability to focus for hours on end. This led him to be a gold medalist as early as the age of fifteen, a feat he would not have been able to accomplish had he not learned the power of focus.
The possibilities of what you can do when you pay attention to the things that matter are endless.
When you focus on a single pursuit, you give it your best- your energy, your time, and your resources. Whether you are taking on a fresh business deal, a new diet, or a writing project, putting your unwavering attention on it will increase your chances of success.
Be mindful of distractions.
Focus is saying no to things that distract you from your goals and objectives. It is blocking things that split your attention. You discard all distractions in favor of the one thing and it takes precedence over all.
‘Feed your focus and starve your distractions.’ - Unknown.
Distractions come in many forms. With new thought cultures and technological advancements, they are more prominent now than they were ten years ago.
With the era of computers, distractions are even just a click away. For some people, social media kills productivity because they do not know how to manage their time on it. To make it worse, advertising agencies develop the most enticing pop-up ads on different search engines and social media platforms that steal your attention when you need to be working or studying online.
For others, distractions come disguised in the form of multiple goals and tasks. While setting many goals is good, we achieve nothing because we try to tackle all of them at once. We can argue that some people have the stamina for it, but, most people do not. Multi-tasking compromises the speed at which you accomplish tasks and the quality of work you produce because you are paying attention to too many things at once. Lack of focus is the reason we start on new goals before we accomplish old ones. An example is when people make New Year Resolutions when a new year begins, discarding the incomplete check-list from the last. It is better to tackle one goal at a time and tick it off the list than to take on multiple goals and achieve none.
If you find yourself busy doing everything else except your most important work, then you are feeding your distractions.
What happens when you focus?
When you develop focus, it brings clarity of purpose. With less background noise from distractions, you know exactly what you want to do. This helps you map the way forward for your dreams. Your decision-making prowess improves because that focus gives you a clear picture of what you want to achieve.
If you are working in a space that allows you to focus on your tasks with no distractions, chances of productivity and high performance are greater than when you are working in a space full of clutter. You get more things done when your attention is not elsewhere. If you allow yourself to focus on a particular task, you are likely to meet the set deadlines around it with fewer chances of mistakes. In academics, focus on a particular subject area will ensure that you cover much ground when you study. This often equates to high grades.
Paying attention to a singular goal at a time puts less stress on the mind and brings calm to the chaos, leaving room to accomplish what you need to. It gets rid of all time wasters that can come your way, allowing the mind to operate at full capacity. This guarantees quality instead of quantity of work.
Focus is also the key to unlock your creativity. When you are concentrating on one channel in your mind, it opens up your imagination and gives you a new perspective. You can brainstorm ways through which you can attain your goals. In a corporate setup where creativity is necessary to keep up with the clients’ ever-changing needs, it cannot be over-emphasized how important it is to focus on a task. Coming up with the best products in a competitive market or troubleshooting existing problems will require immense focus. It helps you do your best to stay relevant in your field of expertise.
Focus gives you a sense of control. You can choose your plan of action for achieving your goals. It puts much of what you want to do in your hands. Even when you encounter setbacks, focus allows you control over how you handle them. You can bring new ideas into play. This improves your confidence in handling the task at hand and all other future tasks.
A focused mind is a mind that is set on winning regardless of the distractions that come. Distancing yourself completely from distractions may be hard, but it is not impossible when you focus.
Keep the bigger picture in mind and see how possible it becomes for your vision to come true. Put all your focus on that goal or task and do not allow influence from external forces to deter you or divide your attention. Only then will possibilities seem endless and winning becomes inevitable.
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