Improve Focus on Abundance
... Just about anything!
I'd been discussing how the mind could focus on abundance with some students the other day. One young man asked me how he could stay focussed on what he's trying to achieve - more a focus on getting his latest assignment done!
He went on to say that 'lack of focus' was probably the biggest single reason that he hadn't done more with his life, and a focus on abundance was terrific in principle, but for now he just needed a plain ol' focus.
First of all, I pointed out that he was indeed still a young man and rather than berate himself for not achieving things, he should recognise the things he had achieved in life and consider that at one time he had not achieved those things. He needed to recognise that he was undervaluing himself for the things he had done and could still do. He needed to practice being kind to himself.
Secondly, it transpired that much of the reason behind this young man's alleged lack of focus on abundance, work and life in general was a driving sense of perfectionism. Its cause was unknown to me, (and we lacked the time to begin searching) but there's one thing you can always do about perfectionism. Give yourself two permissions
- the first one to start doing whatever you've got to do whether you're ready or not
- and the second one to do it imperfectly - you can always learn how to do it better next time.
Truth is, non-performing perfectionists are nearly always much better than they think they are once they get a wriggle on! They are quite able to focus on abundance, tasks, ideas, just about anything once
they get started!
However. In case he thought that he was being fobbed off with a warm and fuzzy answer still related to our focus on abundance topic, I also went on to give him the following opinions to consider, sort of less focus on abundance, more focus on getting things done:
- People are better able to focus when they are motivated
A person needs to have two main things to feel motivated to do something.
- Firstly, intellectually, they need to understand why they are doing it, to comprehend it, to see where an action fits into a bigger picture. It's a case of having a plan, knowing how the plan works, and seeing the relevance of a particular action as a part of that overall plan.
- Secondly, emotionally, they need to appreciate the benefits of a particular action. We explain why we do something using our rational mind, but indubitably we actually perform the action for the ultimate emotional benefits. (e.g. You may not clean a messy toilet for the thrill the action gives you, but for the enjoyment of sparkling ceramic ware and the pleasure of the clean fragrances).
- Key Point 1. Know why you're doing what you're doing, and know how the ultimate benefits of that action will make you feel.
- People are better able to focus when they are not distracted.
Two points here:
- Firstly, okay, it may be obvious to some, but, as far as possible, remove potential distractions before starting the task. Turn off the TV/radio. Don't start up your email program. Gather the materials you need close to hand, but nothing else. If there is the potential for distracting noises, avoid them - close windows, unplug phones, turn off mobiles etc.
- Secondly, other distractions come because you mind wanders. You know, two minutes into the task, you develop the need for a coffee, a biscuit, a cushion behind your back, you just need to phone your friend first, there's an endless list of things your mind can conjure up to distract you.
The key here is to decide that you've decided.
You've decided that you're doing this task, and if you don't do it, it means that you changed your mind, you decided something else, in short, you're showing that you find it difficult to make a decision and stick with it, you suffer from indecision and doubt. Develop the character traits of decision, determination and persistence (you'll need them to focus on abundance anyway!) Character traits seldom develop overnight, but do develop with practice. Throw down a challenge to yourself that you can prove that you are not indecisive.
Now, as a little side hint here: If you have a complex or time consuming job to do, break it down into small individual tasks. Do them one at a time and treat each one as a complete task in itself. Enjoy completing each small sub-task, and remember that each one takes you closer to total completion. Allow breaks and even small rewards between each sub-task. (As an example, if you're writing a book, or degree dissertation, you break it down into chapters, each one covering a particular part of the whole. Similarly, each chapter can be broken down into paragraphs. Decide to write your book one paragraph at a time, and then act out that decision).
- Key Point 2. Avoid distractions before they happen by removing them. Having done that, once you've started a (sub) task, really accept that you've started it, discipline yourself to go through to it's completion - you made the decision stick with it! Let nothing stop you!
- People are better able to focus when they are not interrupted.
An interruption is a particular type of distraction - an unexpected one. Like when someone comes into your office when you're in the middle of reading that important report, or when someone comes to your door just as you've got your microphone turned on for your voice recognition software. Arguably, a telephone call isn't an interruption; you could turn it off, although that's not always possible.
Here's the trick with interruptions:
- First. Let other people know beforehand that you need to get something done without interruption. Let them know when they can and cannot contact you.
- Second. Let other people know while you're working that you don't want interruptions. Put a sign on the door, a message on your answer machine that you can't be interrupted at the moment.
- Third. Inevitably, there's always someone who will ignore the warnings and the door signs and still want to speak with you. They don't consider that they're being bad mannered, selfish, disrespectful or anything other than focussed on their own tasks. But, they are still stealing your time. Don't let them. As soon as the interruption happens, let them know that you are in the middle of something important, and you need to finish it without interruption. Agree to get back to them as soon as you're done to arrange to attend to their concerns. Don't debate what you're doing, don't debate what they want, or it's importance, just insist that you have to finish what you're doing and you will get back to them. In the long run you will gain others respect for being decisive and committed to your tasks. A final point, the only acceptable interruptions should be if lives are at risk!
- Key Point 3. Interruptions happen because people let them happen - don't let others interrupt you, they're taking your power to run your own life!
In the final analysis, concentration, focus, whether on a job, task or an idea (like a focus on abundance) is something that is in each individual's own power. It's a matter of being committed to that focus, and
its consequent activities, by preparing for anything
that could take that power of focus away.
It's really a case of who do you want to exercise the power in your life?
You? or someone else?
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