2/28/2008

Increasing your level of focus Part 3-Make up your Mind


So now that you have consciously observed the activities of your mind and distanced yourself from the need to be consumed by your thoughts, you should be ready for the next step in developing focus. You now must take on the task of putting your mind's energies into specific actions which will require and intense level of focus. If you complete the activities without first learning to control the random thoughts you experience throughout the day, you will only become frustrated. By completing the actions suggested in part 1 and 2 of this series, you removed the clutter that fills the mind. Once you have successfully cleaned out the clutter, your next step will be to instill within your mind the instructions that direct your mind to think on a level of focus and intensity.

One activity which you should implement in your focus increasing diet is meditation. I suggest that you set aside time in your day to sit by yourself with a quiet mind. Think of this action as exercise for the mind. Exercise for the body involves putting it in motion. Exercise for the mind involves keeping it still. Do not try to solve a problem during mediation, do not try to plan the future during that time. Your "quite mind" time should be dedicated to just being still and focusing intently on your breathing. At first you will listen for your breath, then you will listen to your breath, then you will seek to feel your breath as it travels throughout your body and out of you. The reason why listening to your breath will increase your focus is because you breathe constantly without your conscious mind realizing it. Just the act of monitoring your breath requires you to turn your mind's direction to something that is simple and routine. The longer you are able to maintain your focus on your breath, the longer you will be able to maintain your focus on any action at hand. Please be aware that you will need to make this action a daily routine if you wish to receive any long term results. The more you complete this action the easier it will become for you.

Once, and only after, you have developed the discipline of quieting the mind through consistent meditation, you will then be ready to begin incorporating visualization into your quiet time. The reason why you should not begin visualizing before you can control attention on your breathing is to avoid the daunting task of holding unto an image with a mind not used to maintaining focus for more than a few moments.

The actions mentioned above are tools which will prepare you to become a person of focus. Your mind will no longer waiver back and forth with aimlessly causing chaos and uncertainty. Your mind will now become a sharp tool that can be used effectively to do what you purpose.



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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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2/14/2008

Increasing your level of focus. Part 1



The most overwhelming obstacle, I believe, to realizing our intentions lies in the lack of focus we are able to dedicate to our goals, circumstances, and desires. Everyday we are demanded to react to an innumerable amount of activities and distractions. Worst yet, we have within us an admirable opponent working diligently to keep us in a constant state of confusion and disarray. Each one of us can easily vocalize our strongest desires. Along with that, we also are equally able to list reasons of why our ability to realize these desires is out of our reach.

The reasons why we consistently fall short of realizing our intentions lay heavily on the amount of focus we are able to dedicate to obtaining what we want. Mental focus will enable you to dedicate 100% of your attention to your goal. The level of focus you are able dedicate to every task you undertake will dictate your level of influence over the outcome of your actions. An increased level of focus will allow you to complete simple tasks, such as reading a book, without the burden of having to tame constant distracting thoughts. Your ability to direct your complete focus and attention to the subject at hand is the key to your success. Those who have achieved what they desired in life had the ability to produce consistent action with the same level of mental focus in the early on in their venture as they had later.

Step 1
The first step necessary in increasing your mental focus is to first assess your current state. You begin to assess your current state by becoming more aware of the chaotic nature of your mind. The frequency and randomness of your thoughts should be observed very closely. Random thoughts are what take you from one area of focus to another. How many times have you interrupted a thought by asking yourself “how did I get there?” You then begin to recall every random thought that entered your mind until you realize how that final notion formulated within your mind. Incidences such as these demonstrate the power of our mind. Much more so, they demonstrate our need to manage our mental activity. Our minds operate much like a wild animal that must be tamed, domesticated, and used for productive purposes. If we invest the energy needed to increase our level of focus, we will surely be rewarded with a strong powerful clear mind that can be directed to fully accomplish what we set it to accomplish.

Your task is simply to listen for your thoughts, take notice of how random the are. Take note of how they seek to distract you from the task at hand. The more you are able to observe your thoughts, the more you will realize how they work against you. This is all you need to do for now. This action will open your consciousness to the importance being aware of your mind’s activities. Once you are aware of the behaviors of your mind, you have begun the process of increasing your level of focus.



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