Hocus Focus

our attention or focus is a significant deciding factor in terms of how to live our best lives. one of the main things that can hold us all back from achieving anything is a lack of focus. the realization of a goal becomes difficult when we are distracted from the process of obtaining it. we can have our mind geared towards completing a certain task or assignment but get pulled away by unrelated, unwarranted thoughts. and if you fall into a negative thought loop, good luck climbing your way out.

however, distractions aren’t always a bad thing- it all depends on how we perceive them. for instance, we can take our attention away from negativity by being resourceful. in essence, we are distracting ourselves from negative thoughts by allocating our attention to something more productive. in other words, distraction can also be viewed as another form of focus.

having something to focus on is not only good for your mental health and for being productive but also beneficial when it comes to how we perceive time itself and the use of it too. whenever our attention is fully invested in a given task, you will notice that time seems to ‘fly’ by. it is as if we teleported from the start time of the task to the end. this black hole effect, or flow, shows that we are using most, if not all, of our attention (energy) on the given action and, as a result, are bound to yield the best results in what seems to be no time.

so how do we achieve such razor sharp focus? also, how do we keep ourselves from breaking focus? and when we fall into one of those rabbit holes from negative internal chatter, how do we get ourselves out?

Presence

in today’s world, we find ourselves doing everything… all at once. technology is advancing at an alarming rate, making it easier to do more with less than ever before. well, isn’t this a good thing? in some regards, yes. but, for the most part, it is the cause of a lot of half-assed jobs. we are so concerned with getting as much done in as little time that we don’t pay much mind to the quality of work we’re actually producing. this is why presence is so vital. when we are ‘in the moment’ using our attention only towards one given task and, in effect, not worried about anything (or anyone) else, we use all of our energy towards one goal and work relentlessly until we realize it. this makes for better results. multi tasking is the devil.

Momma Said Waterboy GIF - MommaSaid Waterboy GIFs

how to be present: close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths, one count for each inhale and another when you exhale. when breathing part has completed, with your eyes closed, pay attention to: any noises, smells, and physical contact. if you get distracted by random thoughts, it’s okay. just go back to following your breath. open your eyes whenever you’re ready and begin the designated task.

Know your skill set

getting yourself to focus on something is one thing. then there’s not being able to maintain focus. whenever you are trying to complete a task which is difficult or requires a skill level much higher than the one you possess, it can be frustrating as well as discouraging to follow through with the necessary action(s) for completion. this causes most to give up or keep pushing tasks aside to be taken care of later on. the same can be true for when you’re skill level is well above what is required, making the task, well, boring. the key is to find the balance between these two scenarios. the formula is as follows:

high skill + challenging task = focus.

how to utilize your skill set: take some time to realize what you really excel in- things you do that seem easy or don’t require much conscious effort. then find challenging tasks that can only be done with those skills which you possess.

Discipline

putting yourself in a position to get things done is extremely vital if you’re one who seems to be ‘all over the place’. scheduling and planning when you want to perform an action is critical in this aspect. once you put something ‘down on paper’ it makes it valid and is a indication that this must be done. basically a to-do list. discipline is knowing you have something to do and following through with what’s required to get it done. you might not want to do it but you know you have to. so it gets done. in any period of time, if you don’t know what you should be doing, you’re probably not going to do anything or choose the path of least resistance (aka essentially nothing). discipline is what separates the amateurs from the pros.

how to be disciplined: show up everyday. put in the work. repeat.

The ‘Why?’

all of the previous points are sufficient for providing a guide on how to focus but this one is most important. without a strong ‘why’ or reason to do whatever you plan/want to do, you won’t do it! simple as that. it’s like if you were forced to do something as opposed to wanting to do it voluntarily purely out of self-interest. you’re not going to be as engaged (or engaged at all) if you’re told you have to do it but you’ll be excited as hell if you work on something out of passion. the ‘why’ is what drives people to accomplish and go above and beyond. it is the force behind the effort. without it, the will is weak.

how to utilize your ‘why’: write or keep a strong mental note as to why you want to do something. keep this close to you. anytime you see yourself struggling to move forward, remind yourself of your ‘why’.

Conclusion

one of the greatest assets we have been blessed with is our ability to focus. whether you realize it or not, we are always focused. we can have it directed towards something productive or towards something destructive but it’s always in play. the keys to utilizing your focus for the better is to remain present, understand your abilities and talents, staying disciplined and having a legitimate reason why you’re doing ‘it’. doing so will allow you to accomplish anything you set your mind to, even if that means spending less time on Instagram and more time tap dancing.


if you have any questions, please feel free to ask away in the below comment section. also, if this article has been helpful, you can also comment and share with those like us 🙂

help! i’m stuck and i cant get out

that emotionally painful feeling you get when you no longer feel comfortable in your comfort zone (oh the irony). the moment you realize nothing’s going right and you’re not in the situation you want to be in. when all you can say to yourself is ‘this is not what it’s supposed to be like’. f*ck- i mean stuck! i know that feeling. it sucks but good news! it doesn’t have to be this way and yes, there’s a way out!

for me (as i expect for many of you as well) this feeling was realized thru my job. i was on auto-pilot: wake up, dread the day to come, go to work, drag myself thru the workday, come home, go to sleep (not really), then do it all again. the ‘Sunday blues’ got 1,000,000 x’s worse all while my mood was becoming more and more irritable. it was all good (again, not really) until shit really started to hit the fan at the office and there was A LOT of shit.

but this epic fecal atomic bomb didn’t just impact my work life, but also personally and in every other aspect of life as well. it had spread faster than a fat man’s chopsticks eating ramen (just as sloppy, too).

my first reaction was to, again, find comfort in this situation. i kept trying to find shortcuts or quick fixes to remediate my problems, looking for any way to solve my issues as fast and as painless as possible. but this wouldn’t suffice. i mean sure, there were certain conflicts i was able to resolve using this method but it was anything but permanent.

so i went out to search for my escape. just like my complications with sleep, i started with reading short articles relating to my struggles which lead me to doing further, more thorough research on the matter. reading books (to everyone’s surprise) and listening to podcasts. every free, waking moment i had was dedicated to ‘getting out’. no procrastination here. i mean, if you know you’re not in a good situation or at least the situation that you’d like to be in, would you be able to enjoy life? i couldn’t. so there was no other option.

thru my investigation, i stumbled across many resourceful, ingenious information which has helped me not only with taking that first step out but also every step after, going forward. using this insight, i’ve put together some general tips which could be utilized as a guide (or the kick in the a**) you’ve been looking for, to finally take control and take back your life. let the journey begin..

where am i?

look no further than here. right here, right now- that’s all that matters. your journey begins where you stand and the direction is forward. the past is not necessary in this step but it may be used as reference to understanding your habits and where your enjoyment (or lack there of) resides. think of everything in relation to now. anything else would result in dread or anxiety, not to mention a waste of time, since you can only take control of what’s in the present moment.

what’s the purpose?

the most common question i kept asking myself. contemplating this question itself always lead me to feeling even more stuck than before the thought. yes, you can set about a journey to finding your ‘purpose’ but there is no one purpose to strive towards. essentially, as long as you have the time, you can pursue many diverse options throughout your lifetime as we are not tied to any one thing or purpose. in effect, it’s not necessarily about finding a purpose but creating a purpose of your own. this comes from understanding your ‘self’ first and figuring out what really gets you out of bed in the morning. what’s your reason for being alive? what do you live for?

how do i get there?

this is the fun part where you take your ‘purpose’ and use it as a beacon or as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. that is your destination. but this destination should never be reached nor realized; only transcended. it is your guide thru life, making sense of everything you do along the way as you ask yourself before performing any act ‘will doing this bring me closer to reaching my destination/purpose’. you will soon think of your life as a map with your purpose being the destination and every act along the way a road or pathway on the way there. only then will you be able to evaluate everything you do as meaningful.

what’s wrong?

take this time to think about all that’s bothering you. why are these things such an issue? can anything be done to immediately ‘solve’ this problem? analyze anything conflicting with your peace of mind and ask yourself if you can do something about it. if you can’t then a change in perception is a must. you must learn to accept that which you cannot change and willing to change that which you cannot accept, if it can in fact be altered. once you figure that out, take action!

what’s right?

now think about the good times.

think about all the times you’re out playing basketball or when you’re singing your a** off to Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange or when you’re simply doing hot yoga (i’m definitely not talking about myself). how did you feel just doing these activities? and i’m not asking how it felt in the aftermath of it but while you were doing them. do you feel accomplished? do you feel refreshed as if you stepped out the fountain of youth? do you feel like you somehow grew in complexity and feel like you’ve obtained superpowers? pay attention and keep track of any activity which brings these feelings to light. be careful, however. some activities such as gambling and doing illicit drugs may result in the evoking of these emotions but only on a temporary level and with no real value to one’s self. in essence, analyze all the activities listed and judge them by whether or not any of these are harmful to anyone (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) including yourself, purge those activities from the list and keep the others for reference to understanding what kind of things provide enjoyment.

bringing it all together

now that you are aware of what you hate/love doing, where you’re going, what you need to do, how and when you need to do it (now), it’s all about taking action. acquiring knowledge is great and all but without acting on them, they are as good as an unwritten book. so now’s the time to write that story and fill that book (aka your life) to the point where there are no blank pages (aka no what if’s). everything is as it as and as it should be. go and start your journey. i’m excited to see you continue to fail and fail forward to the point where nothing stops you from the pursuit of your purpose(s). stuck is for schmucks.


if you have any questions, please feel free to ask away in the below comment section. also, if this article has been helpful, you can also comment and share with those like us 🙂