I have consistently mistaken focus for paying attention. I heard the phrase “Pay ATTENTION” countless times as a kid and it was always a jarring experience. My immediate reaction has always been to try to shake it off or snap out of it. Today, I realize that paying attention is more-or-less a short term process whereas focus can be a lifelong practice – once the proper mindset is in place.
I pay attention when I’m cooking (usually) and driving (pleading the 5th). But when I finish those tasks, I stop thinking about them entirely. I’ve discovered (as opposed to being taught) that when I’m focusing – it’s always on something that interests me – an invested interest. Recently, I’ve become invested in life – and not just mine. It makes sense to me that we’re all – every human on the planet – part of something bigger. Something bigger that breathes one breath into all living things.
That makes us all related. Somehow.
Today I focused not only on meditation and exercise and study and all the things I wanted to accomplish, but I focused on them while doing them. Groundbreaking. Two weeks ago I was forcing myself to do things I didn’t want to do and then while I was doing them, and agonizing over it because I was miserable, I wasn’t present or focused. I was fantasizing about other stuff. And this means that nothing I did was done well.
Talk about a waste of time and energy.
It’s amazing how easy it is to focus on things I once couldn’t stand to do after I learned how to change my perspective. To touch on yesterday’s post – I had to discover my values. Doing this has been one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had. But fun questions help too.
- If you did know, what would the answer be?
- What would have to happen for you to be able to achieve that?
- What would you be prepared to die for?
- What does success look like – to you?