Where is Your Focus?

“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

There are so many things that come up during the course of a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime, that unless you are making a conscious effort to keep focused on what matters most, it can get very easy to go with reacting to what comes up.  And it’s just “for now”… or so we think.

I was speaking with a friend of mine about lucid dreaming a while back. There are apparently techniques that can make it possible to be aware you are in a dream when you are dreaming. The idea is, once you know you are aware you are dreaming, you are no longer subject to it. It dawned on me that being technically “awake” is exactly like that for me a lot of the time. It can be so easy to get caught up in a stream of consciousness that I get carried away on I lose myself. For me, at least at this point, my interest has gone from trying to lucidly dream to be being lucid more often in general.

I have taken to a specific type of observation and focus exercise which has one central focus: to be aware of the fingers on my right hand. Whenever I get caught up in something that seems to be really important I bring my awareness back to the fingers in my right hand again.

And again. And again. And again.

I have been struck how I disconnect from physical connection when I get caught up in thought. This again has an interesting correlation to lucid dreaming. What I have read on the subject says that one way you know you are dreaming is you do not experience physical sensation.

I then consider who the “I” is that brings my attention back to “being here now”. I think a pitfall of meditation can be thinking the “I” is the construct of ourselves we can get caught up into thinking we are… the “name rank and serial number” type of identity we carry around when someone asks who we are.

Fortunately for me, I have developed a clear sense of who “I” am.  I can tell the difference between the familiar “I” and the “I” that I know myself to be when I am at my best and doing what I am best suited to be doing. I come back, over and over again… to how I know myself to be when “I” am present. One really cool effect is that more and more I notice my responses to things are shifting. Things that used to knock me back into a strong inhibitory experience and out of focus, simply don’t anymore.

What this has done for my business, quite simply, has been really helpful. Because I am more focused, my message is clearer than it’s ever been. I am starting to see opportunities where before I couldn’t. I also come across to people more consistently as “myself” which has the effect of bringing that out in them. I am more eager to give help where I can, and ask for it as well.

It is a clear, focused sense of “being here now” with a simultaneous sense of moving in the right direction.

2 Comments

  1. “One really cool effect is that more and more I notice my responses to things are shifting. Things that used to knock me back into a strong inhibitory experience and out of focus, simply don’t anymore.”

    When you are in the “not inhibitory space” and in focus…..when your message is clearer……could you please share a specific story that elucidates a strong benefit for you, where in the past you might have behaved in a less productive way.

    Thanks in advance.

    Mark

    • admin

      Hi Mark,

      I actually have several. But I think the ones that would be most relevant and appropriate here would be the last times I gave short presentations in front of a group of small business owners. In the first instance, after a five-minute presentation where I spoke directly about who I am and what I do, more than 10% of the people in the room came and approached me about wanting to know more.

      I have spoken in front of this group before. About half of them had heard me present on more than one prior occasion. Almost half of the people that approached me afterwards had never seen me prior to my talk. Previously, while I had gotten feedback that my presentation was interesting and enjoyable it never garnered any interest.

      Even more recently, I gave an even shorter introduction in front of a smaller group of people. I’ve now been approached by almost 10% of the people in that group who want to know more.

      I have many other examples in different contexts, but in the context of business building this has been some of the most encouraging feedback I have gotten to date.

      I recognize there are many factors at work here. I am sure the recent interactions with our mutual mentor, Joseph Riggio, has helped. I am sure that my improved quality of output has helped.

      As I have described in the post here, it is apparent to me that when I can consistently and consciously bring myself back to a point of focus like I’ve described, all the benefits of the high-quality input and the output are amplified.

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