Day 244 (Two-Hundred & Forty-Four) of 365 days
At every stage of our lives, we’ve all been told, persuaded, scolded or even begged to focus. Teachers to students whenever there’s an upcoming test or just as a means of scolding. Parents to kids whenever they want some peace at home or just seeing their kids put their academic fees to good use. Employers or managers persuading their employees to focus on the current project. Motivational speakers telling us to focus on the present and not the past. People in shades gesturing with their hands trying to tell us to focus.
However, no one tells us what focusing ideally means and how to. Focusing simply means maintaining all your senses and thoughts at a point in your mind. In Islam, the second pillar of faith requires high focus when worshipping. In Christianity, when communicating with God, you have to stay focused to portray sincerity and respect. When reading a certain topic, you have to make all your senses and thoughts not wander for a good understanding. When meditating, you're focusing.
Focusing is like culture. It's a way of life. What happens when you lose your way of life? You get lost. Not focusing when needed is similar to getting lost in your mind. You tend not to achieve much. That book becomes harder to read and understand. That idea gets lost in an icebox of other ideas. That business objective of recording a 10% year-over-year growth becomes harder to reach. That essay becomes harder to write. The implication of not focusing is you become less efficient in that activity that needs it. Even prayers and worships might not seem like it if you don't stay focused when making them.
Understandably, most people don't know how to focus. Heck, everyone deserves a Nobel prize award in the state of losing focus. We were never taught how to. But enough bickering about the bad side. If focusing is this big challenge, how then do we focus? I'll be using a "Mind-space & Awareness" analogy.
The mind-space is like a map in the dark and awareness a flashlight. Now, every country, city, ocean, mountain on that map is similar to your fears, memories, strengths, egos, bias, cues and every other non-physical form you're made up of.
Now think about the last time you had a trip/picnic/outing you had. How was the trip, what did you eat, how did it make you feel, who was there with you, what was the fun part of the trip. Now bring your mind back to where you're sitting reading this article.
You just successfully maintained awareness (flashlight) in two points of your mind-space (the map). It's like you searched, with your flashlight (awareness) through two different countries on the map (mind-space). You didn't poke into other countries (other memories) or cities(what you felt in those memories). That's how focusing works - Maintaining awareness on certain points of your mind-space.
With all these, I'll score no point saying focusing is easy. It's not. But it's possible to have a high level of focus, just the way we trained ourselves not to be focused, through distractions and barging into other points in our mind-space. Learning to focus requires constant practice, it works just like our muscles. The more we use them, the stronger they get. We may argue the technology is a factor that hinders focus, but we shouldn't let technology use us, we use technology. Practice focus and I assure you, so long you live, you'll see its positive implications in every dimension of your life.