How to Foster Focus

How would you like having an intimate conversation with a person who simultaneously talks with five other people?

Yet, this is what we give the life around us as we constantly shift our attention. Our relationships suffer. Our happiness suffers. Our productivity suffers. And then we wonder why life is so damn complicated.

Focus is a scarce resource in the modern, distraction-driven world. So it only makes sense to learn how to foster it.

Meditation is one of the most ancient practices to help tame what the Buddhist call “the monkey mind.” When your only job is to watch your mind, you learn how quickly it swallows you whole.

One second you’re watching your breath. Then you’re watching how she or he dared to speak to you and oh look, this guy/girl on YouTube was so hot and what’s for dinner today and…

And you’re lost.

But as the cliché saying goes, we get good at what we practice.

Yogis with thousands of hours of meditative practice possess a rare superpower. They concentrate effortlessly. “Once their attention locks onto a target stimulus, their neural circuits for effortful attention go quiet while their attention stays perfectly focused.”

From my experience, the first focus-improving benefits appear after a few dozen hours of practice.

If meditation isn’t your thing, practice in your everyday life.

How much time can you spend reading a book without getting lost in thoughts?

How long can you watch a movie before pausing it to check social media?

How long can you walk in nature and think only about what’s around you?

As you practice engaging with what’s right in front of you, you’ll get comfortable spending more and more time involved in just a single activity. What a novel concept for a modern human being!


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