2/20/2008

Increasing your level of focus Part 2-Quieting Your Mind

Mental focus is crucial to living a life of achievement. Focus is what will allow you to continue moving forward until you reach the goals you have established for yourself. If you are able to successfully increase your focus, you will experience less resistance to accomplishing both routine and complex tasks. The less resistance you experience, the more easily you will be able to reach your desired destination. For example, let us say that you have a goal of writing a book. The idea pops into your mind and you become excited about the possibility of having a book published. You have the idea and give yourself a generous timeline to complete the work. You tell your friends and receive accolades for going after your dreams. A month or two passes and you have barely completed the second chapter. Every time you sit down to write the novel, you are distracted by a pressing thought that will not allow you to continue. You remember that you have to pay a bill, or make a call, or search for something unrelated on the Internet. Soon enough, you abandon the project all together and you become disappointed with yourself for not being able to reach your goal.

How many of us have experienced a situation similar to what I have just described. In the beginning of our transformation, we have every intention of realizing our goal. Then something happens and we start to allow our focus to become diluted by our thoughts. Our mind is the reason why our focus becomes diverted. Our mind tells us other things are more important and should be attended to. Our mind lets us believe that we will not produce the results we want so we may as well stop trying. Our mind places within us doubts about our ability to reach the level of accomplishment that we desire. The more we listen to our thoughts, the more distracted we become and we then are more likely to succumb to the fickle nature of the mind.

In part one of this series, I recommended that you begin to become aware of your thoughts by observing them. By observing your thoughts, I mean that you will listen to them as if you not attached to your thoughts. Act as if you are someone who is overhearing a conversation without any emotional attachment to what is being said. Once you are able to objectively observe your thoughts, you will then be able to identify the destructive capabilities of your mind. Soon you can begin the next phase of increasing your mental focus. The next phase involves taking conscious action to quiet your random thoughts by not allowing them to direct your behavior. By this I mean that you will place your focus solely on the matter at hand. Whatever activity you participate in, allow yourself to become fully immersed in it. Enjoy the experience of simple activities, even routine ones, by eliminating destructive mind chatter. When we allow our minds to rattle off thought after thought as we complete our activities, we are experiencing the moment. Most often, we complete our work, and play, with preoccupied minds that take us away from the subject at hand. Instead of placing our full dedication and focus on what we are doing, we are entertaining thoughts about something that happened in the past, or what we think may happen in the future. Our focus is then lost. Because we allow the cycle to continue, we do require intense focus, we find it difficult to meet this requirement for even a relatively short period of time. What you must do to begin the work of increasing your focus is to control the randomness and frequency of your thoughts.

Action Plan:
This week, make conscious and direct efforts to be as present as possible in everything you do. Strive to work, eat, play, and live without allowing your mind to participate in endless chatter. If a thought pops into your mind which takes away from the moment at hand, realize it and return back to placing your focus on what you are doing in the present. This is a difficult task to complete at the beginning so you must remain steadfast in your efforts. The more you continue to create this habit, the easier this practice will become for you.



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