Imagine yourself riding a horse, but you cannot control the horse. It does not obey you and walks wherever it wants, not where you want it to take you.
You want the horse to go to the right but it goes left. You want it to go to the left, but it goes to the right. You want it to slow down or stop, but it starts running. You are helpless, unable to control it, and you cannot rely on it to take you safely to your destination.
It is the same when you cannot focus your mind on your work, on your tasks, and on whatever you happen to be doing. The mind keeps occupying your attention with irrelevant thoughts, instead of focusing on your work or tasks.
This behavior of the mind diverts your attention to other matters, and consequently, due to lack of attention, you might make mistakes and have to do your work again.
To reach your destination you need to be able to control the horse and lead it in the right direction.
In the same way, you need to control your attention and direct it to your work, tasks, studies or goals. This is real the meaning of concentration and focus.
Your attention keeps going to other matters, for example:
- While working, you might find yourself thinking about other matters.
- While studying, you might yourself playing with your cell phone.
- While having a conversation with a friend, your attention might wander away, making you inattentive.
To avoid all this, you need to learn the focus your attention.
Focusing the attention is a most essential skill everyone must possess.
In certain situations, losing your attention can be risky, as while driving, working with machinery, cooking, or climbing a mountain. In all these situations, a focused mind is a must.
Sometimes, all you need is a focused attention for a few moments, and at other times, you need a sustained focus for longer times.
Focus is like a magnifying glass. It helps you see the situation, your plans, and everything you need to do clearly, so you know exactly what to do and how to proceed.
Focus is like a spotlight, illuminating the focal point of your current action, so you see it clearly and focus your attention on it.
Where and When Is Focus Most Important?
- When you sit down to listen to a lecture you need focus, so that you hear, understand and benefit from the lecturer’s words.
- If you are giving a lecture yourself, and are not focused, you might forget what you wanted to say and not deliver your message clearly and to the point.
- It is important to be attentive while driving, especially when driving on a fast highway, in a place that is crowed with pedestrians, on while driving in an unfamiliar area.
- Do you sometimes say things you did not intend or want to say? This often happens due to lack of focus, and sometimes, might lead to inconvenience and embarrassment.
- It will take you longer to study or learn a new job, and you might make mistakes and waste time if you cannot focus on the job. It would be difficult to grasp the job if your mind wanders away to irrelevant thoughts.
- Do you need to remember some important information, a phone number or an address? You need to pay close attention, otherwise you might not remember what you heard or learned.
- Are you taking an examination? Focus is the most important skill you need.
- Are you an athlete? To win you need to be completely focused on your body and actions.
These are just a few examples, where focus is the miracle that saves you in the various situations of your everyday life.
Even simple actions, such as making sure you switched off the oven or locked the door when you go out benefit from a little close attention. Otherwise, these matters might disturb your peace, since you will not be sure whether you switched off the oven and locked your door.
It might seem strange to you, but focus and concentration are most helpful to pass the time when you are doing something boring. Striving to direct your attention to what you are doing and get completely absorbed in it, makes the time pass quickly.
When you are able to focus things are different. You do not feel the time passing, and you might even enjoy what you are doing. You will finish carrying out any task faster, more efficiently, and with fewer mistakes.
As you see, concentration and focus are important in every situation and at any age.
Nowadays, in the age of the Internet, the social media and the smartphone, the ability to focus the attention is of paramount importance than ever, if you wish to lead a sane, happy and satisfying life.
Due to the overload of information, the attention span is becoming shorter, patience and tolerance are getting weaker, and people are losing their ability to focus more than a few seconds.
A short attention span creates impatience and superficiality. It destroys the ability to control the mind and the attention, and makes it difficult to finish anything.
With a short attention span, the mind acts like restless fly, which moves swiftly from place to another, hardly standing still. How can you carry out a task, abide by your decisions, or carry out your plans if allow your mind to go wherever it wants?
The ability to focus the attention on the matter at hand, and keep it there, without letting it wander away, is the hallmark of successful people.
This is true with successful business people, writers, sportsmen and sportswomen, and successful actors and singers.
The ability to focus your attention on anything you happen to be doing is your passport to success, happiness and satisfaction.
It is a most significant tool for keeping you on the direct road to achievement. It helps you avoid distractions that you meet on the way, and wasting your time and energy on unimportant matters.
Words to Remember
- “When focus on your dreams, they start to emerge from your imagination into reality.”
- “A boat cannot reach its destination if you always change its direction. “
- “You cannot accomplish anything if you keep changing your mind and do not stick to your plans.”
- “A focused mind is like an arrow that aims at the target and hits it.”
- “Attention means walking in a straight line and without diversion toward your goal.”
You can improve your focus. Even a little improvement would a great step. You can find guidance and simple exercises in the book Focus Your Attention available at this website.