Every single day, we read in the papers about all the great entrepreneurs, business tycoons, politicians, sports personalities, etc. and about some of their really inspiring qualities. They are all hardworking, honest (mostly), determined and FOCUSED.The reason I put that word in capitals is, almost 90% of the people, when asked about why they didn't succeed in their endeavours, give this one excuse among another dozen.

They say, "I just can't seem to focus on the task!"

This is the reason most students give for their below average (at times horrible) performance and grades. If you've ever asked a teacher, why the student who comes first in class, manages to do so every time, their reason is also the same, "That child is highly focused on his goals!"

Makes you wonder, where in the world does one person get that much focus from? And how is this thing so powerful??

So let's take a walk down this path and try to understand something about the art of focusing and how to harness the power of focus.

What is focus?

Focus or the process of focusing, refers to the cognitive process of selectively concentrating, on a single aspect of given information, irrespective of whether it is subjective or not and effectively ignoring all other information around it.

It is a process where there is special attention placed on any point (also known as focal point) which becomes the beginning of a process of cognitive behaviour. When we place our focus on something, what technically happens, is that our eyes initially see the entire object of attention, the brain then sends signals to the eyes to look at that particular focal point were the eyes then focus and stay focused, till the entire process of scrutinizing is completed.This is called visual focus. Visual focus is the main form of focus as far as our day-to-day life is concerned. The power of focus is highest with relation to visual focus, simply because the object is not being imagined, which the case with meditation is.

While meditating, we close our eyes and focus on a single point (mostly the Ajna chakra or the third-eye) between the eyebrows and try to hold that attention. This is far more difficult to do.

Along with visual focus, there is auditory focus or focusing on the sounds or a particular sound. This process may involve selecting a particular sound out of a multitude of sounds playing simultaneously or it may involve recognising and then focusing on a particular sound. A good example of auditory focus in our day to day lives, is when we listen to music in a very loud and disturbing environment. It sometimes happens that even with headphones and full volume, we can't concentrate on the music because of the background disturbance.

Now-a-days we have 'voice-cancelling' earphones to help us focus. But in the more traditional method, when we wish to focus on just the sound, the brain follows the beat and once a rhythm is set, the brain then drives our attention to the only similar sounding rhythm. That is why we are able to focus on the song after a few minutes.

Now, most people understand very well, what I have written above in the explanation, but the question still remains, how does one focus? So let's dive straight into it.

How to focus?

Having understood what focus means and also how it works, the next step would be to understand how one can focus. The appropriate question would be how does one focus on something completely?

This is an important point to be focused on (no pun intended). People think that absolute focus means to ignore the surrounding and pay close attention to one thing. Which is also what the definition tells us. But over the years it has been discovered that the best way to focus is, to take away all the distractions, so that the only thing remaining is the main focal point.

For example, if you have an exam and there is a cricket match going on. Everyone would agree, studying is more important. Everyone would also agree that cricket is not to be missed! So then what should be done? Normally, you would choose the exam (depending on the level of importance). However, the power of focus, requires you to forget the study and watch the match! Yes! Because you have to study after the match (What were you thinking??)

The basic idea is this. Your studies are the focal point. The cricket match was a distraction. If you say No to the match directly and sit to study, you would have messed up because the whole time, all you'd be really thinking about, would be the match! So instead you watch the match, get that distraction out of the way and after that you will have no option but to study.

So the next time you really need to focus on something, simply write down all the possible distractions and get them out of the way. After that you can focus properly on your work.

Finally, I think it would be helpful to have a checklist of points to remember when you try to use the power of focus.

1. Clarity - Have absolute clarity regarding what you need to focus on

2. Identify - Properly identify all the distractions and hurdles in your path

3. Dispose - Dispose off all distractions form your path

4. Attention - Finally, go back to your work and pay attention

These are 4 simple but effective techniques to harness the power of focus. Now that you know the coveted secret, go and use this power to take care of all your focusing issues!

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Author's Bio: 

My name is Vaidehi Vihari. I am a regular girl, living the twentysomething life. I am a student of everything there is to learn. Spreading happiness one word at a time.