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Dark Roast Double Shot: Focus – The Mother of All Superpowers (Part 2)
Maintaining and managing focus is an everyday exercise and becomes second nature if you master the art.
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
The journey of unleashing the power of focus begins with envisioning the outcome of what you want to achieve and finding the spot from where you will begin. That is the dot on the board that I wrote about in Part-1 (Dark Roast Double Shot: Focus – The Mother Of All Superpowers). In essence, it enshrines The Principle of Focus.
But knowing where and how to begin is only half the story. The final outcome, depending on the task, can take from a few days to a lifetime. The attainment of a goal can be ensured only if we stay the course and continue to move ahead. Managing failures, surmounting challenges, enjoying the tailwind, enduring the headwind will all be par for the course. Maintaining and managing focus is an everyday exercise and becomes second nature if you master the art.
One of the most important things is to never lose sight of the final outcome. That is your driving force, that is why you have undertaken this journey. It is from there that you draw the elixir that keeps you going and becomes the elan vital that you can constantly draw upon. The most powerful expression which this can be elevated to is the beautiful sanskrit term ‘Sankalp’ which means to focus psychologically and philosophically on a specific goal thereby harmonising both mind and body to thoughts and actions that can help you achieve your objective.
The other is the ability to concentrate all your energy to the task at hand. To be in the moment undistracted by anything other than what you have to do. If the passion to achieve the goal is high, energy flows more abundantly. As the source of energy, your physical and mental wellbeing is important. Engaging in activities and surrounding yourself with people who give you joy and positivity is essential. Avoiding people and pursuits that drain you of energy helps build higher reservoirs of energy.
With these two skills which you develop as you keep practicing with a sense of awareness, you can move ahead on your journey to realise the full potential of the outcome you desire. There can be two potential approaches to this.
In the first approach, you visualise the outcome, find the most important challenge or the place from where you can work up the most effective momentum and then concentrate your energies on that. As you succeed the path will open up and like the flourishes that made the flying bird, the picture will start to take shape. But what happens if you fail? Do you give up on your ‘Sankalp’? No, you don’t. You go back to the board and probably choose another spot as the epicentre of your vision. Address that again with all your attention and energy. In the span of your life, however smart or capable you may be, there will always be occasions where there will be failures. That is not the time to give up your goal or the larger vision. You need to take a step back, assess what went wrong and choose afresh the ‘Bindu’, that should become the epicentre of your thought and action. Sometimes, there may be multiple starts. If the vision is big enough or compelling enough it will be a small price to pay in the long run.
The second approach is what I call the jigsaw approach. It works best when you have a big vision that will take a long time, high amount of resources and energy to fructify. Where many different elements need to come together to define success. It could be a professional or life goal that can only play out over years or even decades.
Just like in a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle you may not be able to start with one piece and build the entire picture by adding pieces around it. You may need to take one section and build that, then move to another section and build that and so on till finally you can bring them all together to make the complete picture. That is how great careers, organisations and institutions are sometimes created, led by just one individual’s vision and untiring efforts.
The key in this approach is the ability to keep the big picture, the vision, the outcome, the ‘Sankalp’, whatever you call it, steadfastly in your mind. The ability to keep your unwavering focus on that outcome is crucial to being able to bring it all together. And every time you bring a piece of the puzzle together, celebrate it. That keeps replenishing the energy.
Anyone can learn and use the power of focus at any age or stage of life. Intent and awareness are key to success. Start concentrating on the small tasks that you do. Make sure you do not let your mind wander. It may be difficult in the beginning but slowly you will able to expand your span of concentration. This will help you in building your focus on the bigger tasks in life. The lessons on focus though are best learnt in childhood and can help children explore their full potential as they grow up. In the early stages help them build their spatial intelligence. Numbers and alphabet recognition can come later. Use spatial language, play with tangrams, have fun with origami, go outdoors and let the child see different birds fly, give them exposure to good music, teach visualization, there are so many different ways. The other thing that they need to experience is doing one thing at a time. Just one thing. That helps them develop their power of concentration which does extraordinary service to them through life.
Finally, if you look at the common threads in all the biographies of successful people across different schools of thought, profession, economic strata or geography you will find three similarities. Firstly, they all had a vision of the outcome that they wanted to actualise. It may have come early to them or sometime during their journey in life, but the real momentum always came once that vision came in place. Secondly, they ceaselessly worked to make it happen concentrating all their energies and resources. Thirdly, failure was just another challenge that required to be overcome. All of them have used the power of focus to move ahead.
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(Nitish Mukherjee is a Board Member, Advisor, Coach & Mentor. The content of this article is his personal opinion.)