Focus is defined: To direct your attention or effort at something specific. Focus is like a magnifying glass. It takes all the energy from light and directs it like a laser. That energy has the power to start a paper on fire. When people apply focus to a goal they are typically very effective at achieving it. Unfortunately most people live their life like a flashlight, shining their light at every object that makes a noise. There is a story about Florence Chadwick who swam the English Channel twice. She set a goal to swim from Catalina Island to the Pacific coast but she encountered an unexpected challenge, fog. She became exhausted and began to call for the support boat to pick her up although her coach assured her that she could make it. The coast was in swimming distance but fatigue had set in and she had to be picked up. Afterword she realized that her goal of swimming to the coast was attainable but her focus was masked by the fog. Months later she went back and easily achieved her goal of swimming from Catalina Island to the coast. The majority of people take their eyes off of the results they want to achieve, either because of distractions or negative self – talk. Through the LIFE Leadership subscriptions, I have found that by listening to several CD’s a day my thoughts and attention stay focused on my life’s purpose. Listening to CD’s gives me the ability to interrupt the negative self – talk and distractions that we all have.
Have you ever heard someone’s life story that is just a series of one calamity after another? They focus so frequently on wrong thinking that it leads to negative outcomes. It seems like their life continues to cascade down one negative event after another. They never realized that their self – talk has been a huge factor in why they lack the focus to attain any positive results. Sometimes you just want to shake them and say, “Can’t you see that it’s your thinking that is the problem?” Our thinking effects our beliefs, our beliefs create our attitudes, attitudes dictate our actions, and actions create our habits. How many of us can remember the Biblical story of Job? Do you remember his three friends Zophar, Bildad, and Eliphaz who had all the opinions to help him? The only problem is that they constantly focused on the negative. They repeatedly told Job what he was doing wrong. In a way they represent our subconscious mind. If a person could only master the art of harnessing the subconscious mind, they would be able to focus on desired goals that have positive results.
One of the many challenges to mastering the art of focus is the ability to understand all of the forces that feed our negative self – talk. Self – talk and distractions keep us from focusing on achieving a positive end result. The media is the biggest distracter, acting like a fog to achieving positive results in our life. The media uses images that target our subconscious mind. Those images harness the power of our subconscious mind where the power of our imagination can be used for positive or negative results. The images we see from the media stimulate millions upon millions of neurons effecting the perceptions deep in our subconscious. Messaging and images from news broadcasts, T.V. shows, and, movies in turn effect our attitudes and beliefs on our family values and our finances. In essence, they effect our world view. Some studies show for example that by the age of twenty one the average person has been bombarded by 300,000 commercial messages that personal gratification is the dominant goal in life.
One of the most efficient ways of mastering the art of focus is through thought pattern interruption. This is where we begin to interrupt the thinking that produces negative results by substituting a positive thought. By listening to CD’s that have a positive message, we can direct the new information specifically toward the area in our life we want to focus on like finances or relationships. It’s like working in the gym where we begin to train a muscle. We can even take it a step further and harness the power of association. To associate with others who share common goals gives powerful input that helps us focus. In turn, neurological pathways become stronger and stronger because the impulses travel on the neurological roads more frequently. In effect, it makes the country roads like super highways. From this we learn to use new media to strengthen our focus to achieve new results.
If we don’t change our focus from our present pattern of behavior then we just live to maintain our circumstances. An example is a small business owner who knows they have to stay on the treadmill of busyness just to meet payroll. They are in constant motion. In essence the self - employed business owner is like someone who is constantly jumping through hoops just to stay profitable. In addition, the majority of people find themselves under financial stress from debt, loans, mortgages, and credit cards. These financial pressures make it difficult to focus on any new goals or dreams because their only focus is making ends meet. By constantly focusing on these types of situations our focus begins to become like treading water. Focusing on maintenance becomes the barrier to learning how to make our behaviors produce different results. Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results.” Not surprisingly, this ultimately makes our focus on non - productive behavior stronger.
What motivates us is relevant to what we focus on. Most frequently, however, external forces in our lives direct what we focus on like waking up to an alarm clock so we won’t be late for our job. You might be motivated more from getting paid than the negative motivation of waking up, leaving your kids, shoveling snow and scraping ice. Have you ever touched a hot burner on the stove? It doesn’t take long to focus on pulling your hand off the burner. In fact, that type of impulse is actually a reflex. A reflex is where involuntary muscles override the voluntary muscles as an act of survival. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to help people focus by using an electric shock every time a negative thought takes their focus away from fulfilling their life’s goals?
What could happen if we learned to focus on dreams and goals that lead to achieving our priorities? By looking and starting to focus on productive goals we can actually begin to detect our destiny and our purpose. This can ultimately become the most powerful motivator that creates a laser focus. Orrin Woodward describes this in chapter I of his best selling book ‘Resolved 13 Resolutions for LIFE’. Sharpening our focus to achieve a vision fulfills our purpose. The late Dr. Myles Munroe writes, “Purpose is the discovery of a reason for your existence and is defined as the original intent for the creation of a thing.” The power of a purpose to achieve a thing can lead to a laser focus that does not get distracted from life’s experiences that we all know will come. Living a life of passion leads to a life fulfilled. Peace, joy, and happiness come from pursuing a passion that feeds our purpose. Why not turn on the laser and focus? God Bless, George Guzzardo