I heard a quote recently from Herbert A. Simon:
“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention”
Are you feeling overwhelmed by all of the tips, best practices, selfies, must read articles, playlists and bizarre videos out there? Read on for three easy ways to regain your focus
1) Look up the definition of the word “focus” and you will find a lot of visual references. There’s a good reason for this – we move in the direction we are looking at. I can testify, because when I learned to ride a bike at an (ahem) advanced age I was looking directly at a rubbish bin and saying in my mind “Don’t hit the bin!” Doesn’t take Einstein to figure out how that first bike ride ended…Here’s the thing: a visual reference is like a hook. This is why we have vision boards. We move towards our imagined futures, making choices and taking steps in the direction of the images that we put on our vision boards. With this in mind take note of what you are looking at on a daily basis because that is what is going to hook you and draw you closer.
2) Focus can refer to clarity or distinctness of an image. Professional photographers contrast sharp, clear areas in a photo with blurry backgrounds. The industry jargon for the blurred background is “bokeh”. Blurring everything that belongs in the background brings the visual focus and attention to the part of the photo you want to emphasize. The clarity that comes with focus brings context and aids us in drawing conclusions. The same concept was used by The Supremes and Destiny’s Child in the presentation of the group. The lead singer is always placed in the middle and is thus the focal point in every promotional shot and performance. The subliminal message is that the lead singer is the most important. Similarly to achieve your goals you need to blur the non- essential elements, so that the most important aspects are constantly in front of you.
3) The Latin root of the word ‘focus’ is ‘hearth’ or ‘fireplace’ which was traditionally the central heating point of the home. Focus requires us to center ourselves and our attention. There is an internal and external aspect to this. When we are agitated we cannot focus. The stillness that is the precursor to focus comes from within. Davidji, a meditation teacher who formerly worked with Deepak Chopra, has developed a centering method, using breath work called “16 Seconds to Bliss” The steps are as follows:
- Focus on your breath and slowly inhale through your nostrils to the count of four.
- Hold that breath in your belly to the count of four.
- Release the breath slowly to the count of four.
- Hold the breath out to the count of four and return to regular breathing.
Hopefully I had your full attention while you were reading this article. I’d also like to hear the ways that you keep focused. As always if you like this article, please share it.