The character trait I’ve been focusing on this week has been–focus! I’ve seen it portrayed in many places: my cats have extreme focus when they are stalking their toys and nothing takes my dog’s focus from his food when he eats! My son shows focus when he’s playing video games and my husband does when he is working on lesson plans for his class. I’ve noticed myself demonstrating focus when I’m doing a sit, reading anything, or when solving problems.
I’ve been continuing to read the book, Essentialism, by Greg McKeown, and I had to laugh when I picked it up, turned the page and saw that the next chapter was about focus! An interesting thought shared in this chapter was that most people consider focus a thing, and it definitely can be a trait we have. But what the author was emphasizing is that focus is also something we do.
If we’re not practicing focus we can find ourselves too busy doing to think about what it is we’re doing. A benefit of actively focusing is that we can create space for ourselves to escape that busyness and explore life. And it’s not just space to pick a question or possibility and obsess about it. He recommends creating the space to explore one hundred questions and possibilities; to focus the way our eyes focus — not by fixating on something but by constantly adjusting and adapting to what we are seeing.
A way to do this would be to set aside time weekly or daily with our electronics off and the full power of our minds on. During this time we would
practice deliberately discerning the essential few from the many good.
We can all learn to create more space in our lives, and, in fact, we already have, by doing our sits each day! Hooray, Master Key Experience!
The paradox about this time to focus is that the faster and busier things get in our lives, the more we need to build quiet reflection space into our schedule, a place in time where we can truly focus. The CEO of LinkedIn schedules two hours daily into his schedule for just this purpose. Bill Gates sets aside an entire week, twice a year, to go away and read and think.
So please don’t underestimate the importance of the time that is devoted to your sit each day. It’s a huge opportunity for you to make space in your life to focus on what’s important to you. And don’t hesitate to add additional moments for focus during your day, even five minutes can help!