“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain
Focus is one of the many mysteries known to man. We all know what it is to be “focused”, but maintaining focus in one’s life is one of the greatest mysteries, because just when we think we are focused, in an instant that moment of focus can be lost. Whether it is because of our family, loved ones, work or just any randomness that can take you away from what you need to be focused on. This happens to us all. I’ve learned to create moments solely for being unfocused, since it’s inevitable. Make sense right? I have literally built in random moments of unfocused time during my constructive time where I intentionally allow myself to be unfocused. Does it work? Sometimes, it really does. And other times those “moments” of unfocused time turns into hours on hours on hours which means I wasted hours that will never be returned to me. But our focus is so much more than a short attention span and getting distracted. It’s so much more than competing desires, interests, and wants. It’s more than fighting priorities. Let’s talk focus on a higher level, because what you focus on in life can direct your steps and determine the decisions that you make in life decisions.
It can be said that what you focus on, shows what is most important to you, and I don’t know if I always agree with the preposition. At times, we focus on what is fed to us. We are blinded by constant images, advertisements among many other things. These messages can have us focusing on things unintentionally. Since we live in the social media era, we are often change focus unintentionally based on the images we see on Facebook, Twitter, IG or even Pinterest. It’s based on our friends or even celebrities, and our priorities replaced by someone else’s life or maybe its envy or jealousy. Either way, it’s important to reset your focus as if you’re a camera. We need to be re-calibrated, because our eyes can be over saturated, and we need to hit the refresh button.
Of course, I am talking about focus because I’ve been slightly struggling with focus in my own life, but that’s not really what had me thinking about it. This summer, there have been a number of hot topics, from Caitlyn Jenner, legalization of same-sex marriage, Charleston, confederate flag removal, one crazy admission ( that we already knew was true) from Bill Cosby, or even Donald Trump’s increasing popularity with his oddly popular (and raw ) comments regarding illegal immigration. Not to mention, globally, you have the continual Greece financial crisis, the terrorist groups, ISIS and Boko Haram are both alive, well and still wreaking havoc, amongst several other issues. At times, it feels like I am “supposed” to care about all of these things, but I am not sure I really do, not to mention these things have nothing to do with what’s actually going on in my life. But when I look at the candidates running for President and the things they choose to talk about or focus on, has made me want to evaluate how I determine what’s important to my core. I decided to thinkabout , “what does it really mean to be focused?”.
There are three things in my opinion that make up the core of what you focus on in life: your Mind, your Heart, and your Soul. All three are inner connected, and their functions sometimes overlap, but each play into how you focus your attention on a larger scale. (Warning: I am really working in the abstract here, be patient with me).
Your heart is your core. It is highly sensitive to external influences, it can cause you to make decisions impulsively due to an emotional response that we can’t shake. The heart, my friends, is how people choose where their passions lie. The heart, is also highly sensitive to love or compassion, and largely guides our personal and professional life. We make decisions to where to work, who to love, where to live, or what to fight for based on an emotional response in the heart. The heart is honestly the easiest part to be distracted. (Note: People who are able to make “unemotional” decisions have made in fact an emotional decision to trust the mind more than the heart – no one is truly free from emotion)
Your mind is your body’s calculator. It’s computing, configuring, deciding and making decisions based on reason. Can you really accomplish x, y, and z with the tools that you have in your tool box? Your eyes receive images, messages, and your mind processes them to formulate the best decision. It is really important that you do not perceive things wrong, place things in your mind incorrectly, because that is how the mind makes the wrong decision and gets you off focus. My mother is always telling me and my brother to be mindful of how we remember experiences, because your mind takes notes and makes decisions based on what you input into it. This where being honest with yourself is important.
You soul is your moral barometer. It determines what is right and wrong, it is our moral center, the spiritual nature of who we are. It walks in the shadow of the heart and mind, who have a strong pull on how we operate, but it honestly, is the most important, because it is what keeps the heart and mind on track. If it something conflicts with your soul, you should walk away immediately, stop focusing on it. You have to train the heart and mind soul to trust the soul. The day I learned how importance my soul was to who I was, the day I release some useless stuff out of my life.
So let’s get out of the air, and talk about how you can set your heart, mind and soul to focus. I think these steps could be helpful or something to consider to help focus you.
For Your Heart
- Figure out what is important, and everything else doesn’t matter. Sound simple? You really have to make a list though. Prioritize your passions. Often, we can have multiple passions, but if you place them in an order of importance you realize, that you have to let go of passion 6 – 100, because 1 -5 will never happen if you don’t. No, like seriously. Superman and superwoman aren’t real, and even if they were, they aren’t YOU. So yes, write down a list or take 30 minutes to think about what’s important to your heart, and work on those things.
For Your Mind –
- Identify your weaknesses and your strengths. Then look at your list, see where you are lying to yourself, yes, be truthful about what you’re awesome in and where you really aren’t. Also, don’t be insecure, and keep hidden where you excel. Why is this step so important, based on your list of strengths and weaknesses, it may determine if they are in line with what your heart. Might have to do a little negotiation. You will probably find, that there are passions that you don’t have skills to accomplish or they are based on envy not substance.
For Your Soul –
- Set your standards in life AND stick to them. The more you are consistent with your moral compass, the better your heart and mind will believe you and listen. So literally, jot down a list of your standards, and strive to achieve them. Sometimes your soul isn’t in every decision that you make, but the soul is always involved when making the wrong decision. The more areas of your life where you identify your standards, the more success you will have. One place to start, is what you aren’t willing to accept from others. Protect your heart and mind.
Now, go forth and prosper FOCUS and make life simple.
“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs