Clean Focus

July 7, 2009

The most powerful ability a human being possesses is the ability to focus on one thing for an extended period of time.

Unfortunately, we live in the age of multitasking and distraction.

I think you all know what multitasking is.  You probably know how horrible it is.  If not, read this article.

We’re going to focus here on eliminating distraction.

To have clean focus, you can’t have anything else taking away your attention from what you are working on.  Some of these can include…

– External things like TV, email, Facebook, friends in the room, construction outside, etc.
– Internal things like internal butterflies, thoughts, emotions, etc.

Now, I think it is a silly goal to eliminate all of these things at all times.

That said, you need to be aware of when these things come up and determine whether or not they are seriously holding you back.

The more important the project, the more disciplined you need to be in keeping those distractions out.  Here are some ways to do this:

1.  Manipulate or change your working environment.  Remember, the place you work should ideally be both inspiring and free of distraction.

2.  Physically center yourself by taking three deep breaths (Deep breaths go all the way down to the stomach).  While breathing, simultaneously feel the breath going through your nose, filling your stomach and notice your peripheral vision.

3.  Mentally  center yourself by accepting everything exactly as it is, detatching from the past and future, and release your identification with your identity.

4.  Emotionally center yourself by visualizing that tension, anxiety and pressure exits your body as you exhale.  Imagine opening your chest and heart.

These may seem a little wierd, but give them a try.  If they work, keep doing them.  If they don’t, discard.


The Two Ways Of Winning

July 4, 2009

There are two ways people typically look at winning:

1.  Winning to beat someone else

2.  Winning to succeed in reaching a goal or in getting what you want.

Unless you have been living in a cave your whole life, you are probably aware of how sports work.  One team/person takes on another team/person, they compete and then there is a winner.

The goal for both teams/individuals is to beat the other one.

Unfortunately, this definition of “winning” is transferred to contexts outside of sports.

For example, the motivation for some people to get good grades is to “beat” their peers.  This gives them a nice fix of superiority that serves the same function as a blunt to a pothead.

Competition is fine on a mediocre level.  But once you start doing things like trying to fuck someone else’s girlfriend, comparing what you have with someone else, or be better than someone else, you lose a part of your identity.

In fact, you completely lose your ability to be individualized because you are dependent on how others perform and react to you for your fulfillment in life.

Even worse, that mindset will stunt your progress towards getting what you want.

Your mentality at all times should be “ok, how do I get to what I want for myself while helping lift other people up?”

That is when good things begin to happen.

Introducing Clean Focus And Clean Cuts

July 2, 2009

Let me give you a brief introduction to two things that I will be writing a lot more about in the future: clean focus and clean cuts.

Clean Focus: When you are doing something without any internal or external distraction.

Clean Cuts: When you switch your focus to something else, you do not allow what you were focused on before to carry over.

We already know that the ability to focus on one thing is the most powerful tool at our disposal.  We also know that distraction of any kind will kill your focus and make you both unproductive and emotionally unstable.

In every area of our lives, the ideal we should all be striving for is having clean focus and clean cuts.

A lot of people allow the problems in one area of their life to carry over the other areas of their life.  For example, someone might have relationship problems and then allow it to affect their focus in lecture the next day.  If they would just make a clean cut, accept that their problem is what it is and that they’ll deal with it when appropriate, then this will not happen.

Of course, this is much easier said than done.  Both your focus and your ability to transfer focus from one thing to another are like muscles that will get stronger the more you train them.

But just by being aware that having clean focus and making clean cuts is what you should be striving for, you will naturally move towards that (Reticular Activation System, a subject of another post).

For now, just start observing when distractions contaminate your focus.  Those moments will expose things that you need to take care of.

More on this later.