While walking into a bookshop a few days back, I saw a book titled, “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence” by Daniel Goleman, on a shelf of high-selling books.
Since I am trying to achieve excellence in everything I do, the title intrigued me. As I leafed through the book, I found it offered an interesting approach for reaching success.
One of the chapters addressed a rule I already knew -- the law of 10,000 hours --, which Malcolm Gladwell detailed in his book, “Outliers.” Goleman's book challenged the law by asking, "What is the 10,000 hours law without focus?”
I then spent a lot of time reflecting on focus and how it is important for reaching success in every aspect of life. As Dr. Jim Taylor explains, focus is a pass in all kinds of thinking, including perception, memory, learning, reasoning and decision-making.
Since all of those activities are central to everything we do in life, regardless of whether it is academics, work or daily life, focus plays an important role in achieving success.
Think of any activity you do repeatedly without focusing. You might succeed in the process, while you will likely fail in progress because without focus, you will be unable to understand or explain why one thing leads to another.
Consequently, focus is a quality important for selecting, collecting and interpreting the necessary information central to what we do.
Everything involved in our personal and professional lives distracts us in some way or another. I describe some of these distractors in one of my articles. However, the source of the distraction isn't as important as the solutions to them.
So, here's how to refocus and sharpen your skills:
1. Find out and eliminate.
First, understand what distracts from concentration and then, devote effort to diminishing the distractor.
It is important to organize and prepare yourself accordingly before taking on new tasks. While organizing, get rid of distractors so as soon as you start working, no one and nothing will stop you.
2. Unplug yourself.
People always criticize me for my judgments of technology and social media. Actually, I am fond of both, but I also believe there should be a balance for everything.
Since many people do not follow such a balance, it is important to pause from technology and social media. One of the advantages of a pause is focus.
3. Put up borders.
It can be difficult to focus on something when you are around other people or when people distract you with conversation.
It is important to put borders between you and others whenever it is necessary for you to have some time by yourself to complete your tasks.
4. Find a spot.
It is important not only to isolate yourself from people and get rid of things that distract you, but also to be comfortable when you are doing something important.
When you need a place to work, study or read, find somewhere that will not only be comfortable, but also have all the previously mentioned features within itself.
It may be a corner of a café, library, an office room or something else entirely.
5. Tune yourself.
Music can be distracting, but it can also be motivating and inspiring. It may relax us, cheer us up, make us feel nostalgic and even motivate. Therefore, let's not exclude its ability to help us focus.
Consider classical music or a specific collection dedicated to elevating focus. Excellence in anything can be achieved through a mixture of features, like determination, a positive attitude and hard work. Focus is a necessity to success.