I recently watched a video about time that offered a perspective very similar to Scroll V. I’d like to share its content with you as I found it to be a valuable illustration of the importance of focus.
The video started out by asking how many time zones there are. Before you start Googling the answer to that, 🙂 the answer that was given in th video was three: today, tomorrow and yesterday – or as they are also known, the past, present and future.
Where are we now? Well, physically we are in today, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that our minds are with us here. We may be in the past thinking of things we wish we would have done differently and vowing to not repeat our mistakes or in the future concentrating on our billboard image and on ways we can manifest what we envision. There is a time and place for thinking of the past and the future, but the point of the video was that when you’re working on your business or other goals, the time zone that you need to be in, is the present.
If you aren’t making the progress you wish you were making or not making it as fast as you would like, it might be because you aren’t spending enough of your time in the present. Just as an example, suppose you spent 25% of your time thinking of the past and 25% thinking about things in the future. That would leave just 50% of your focus on what you are doing right now. But wait, it can be even worse.
Suppose you’re planning to work on a project at 10am for an hour. Well, most of us will spend some time during that hour thinking of what we did earlier in the day (I should have done my sit first thing, it’s going to be hard to work it in later today!), and about things that need to be done after the hour of work (can’t forget to pick up milk at the store!). If we assume that 25% of the 50% of your attention in the present is used to think of things earlier in the day and 25% is used to think of things to do later on in your day… that leaves you with a whopping 25% of your attention on the task at hand during the hour you are working. In this example, 75% of your available attention is being scattered in other time zones instead of being focused in the present, on your goal!
Now this was just an example to illustrate how our focus can become destroyed by distractions. You personally may spend more or less time in each of these time zones, but it’s probably a good guess that if you aren’t progressing with your goals the way you’d like to be, it is because of this habit of not focusing. It would be much better to break down your day into ‘air tight‘ compartments focused on the present – this sounds really similar to the line from Scroll V that asks what should be done with the last day of your life:
“I seal up its container of life so that not one drop spills itself on the sand.”
That is living in the present. Think of a brain surgeon, boxer, or elite-level performer or professional. Do you think a brain surgeon is thinking about what he needs to pick up from the store while he’s operating? Would a boxer be thinking of his last fight in the middle of his current bout? If we can cultivate the degree of concentration and focus on the tasks at hand that these high-level performers do, we will be much more successful ourselves. And fortunately concentration is a skill that can be developed with the Law of Practice, and one well worth any time you invest in learning to do it better.
Trouble focusing or concentrating isn’t something new, Hugo Gernsback was an inventor and writer who also struggled with focus. He solved the problem by developing an isolator helmet (pictured above). It was practically soundproof, had a tube feeding in to supply oxygen and the eyes were darkened except for slits so the wearer of the helmet could only see what was directly in front of them. And he invented this in 1925, before the invention of television in 1927! It makes me wonder what was distracting Hugo!
Today we not only contend with TV, but with the ultimate distraction: the internet served up to us on our smartphones! So as I see it we have two choices: build our own isolator helmet or develop a focusing routine to use before we work. This routine will be specific to each of us but some ideas to incorporate into it are: unplug your phone, turn off the internet, plan out exactly what you need to accomplish in the time you have set aside to work, ask yourself what the person you intend to become would do next, and then DO IT NOW! 😉