Focus. Focus is a very small word with a large implication. The meaning isn’t really that heavy. Focus (cognitive process), as defined by wikipedia means, “Attention…The cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things.” The action of focus though is much harder than the definition would make it out to be. When was the last time you were able to focus on one task for 15 minutes?–Not do a task for 15 minutes, but give that task your FULL attention. This is one reason I love Bikram yoga. It trains you to focus. Yogis talk about the art of being present. That is really just a poetic way of saying, “focus.” Focus on you, your breathe, your body for 90 minutes! That is much longer than 15 minutes. You might be saying, “I don’t have time to “focus” on just me for 90 minutes, I have a kid’s soccer game, a proposal to write, a presentation to plan, dry-cleaning to pick up, and a dog to feed.” My question to you, is what if you made time?
Al Ries, author of “The 22-Immutable Laws of Branding“ writes, “focus” is a long-term concept that can eliminate the short term issues, but you need to start for it to work. The result of focus is the more you focus the stronger your brand becomes, because you can stand for something.” Seth Godin another entrepreneur/writer often writes about the need to focus on great element rather than spreading your energy. In our ADD world of smart phones and constant stimuli we can not accomplish half our tasks efficiently (or effectively for that matter).
We as a society need to learn to focus. We need to learn that it is ok to let go of the constant connection to email, texts, and facebook. The problem is we aren’t disciplined enough as a culture to let go of these things on our own. Yoga creates an environment where you have no choice but to let go. There is nothing else there on that mat, but your body, your thoughts, and your water. Maybe you don’t have the time to go every day, but you can make the commitment to try to go once a week. I bet you will find, the to-do list gets easier to tackle when you have practiced having a little more focus.