Use what talents you possess: The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
-- Henry Van Dyke

 

   

The MONTHLY Motivator - July 2013

Staying focused

Achievement is largely a matter of staying focused. Often you know exactly what must be done, and you pretty much know how to do it. Yet the job demands that you stay focused for long periods of time, and that can be very difficult. There are so very many excuses to stop for a while, so very many possible distractions and interruptions and other things you can be doing. Modern culture encourages you and assists you to develop a shorter and shorter attention span. That can make the idea of staying focused seem like cruel and unusual punishment.

However, focus is not punishment. In fact, it can bring wonderful and valuable things into your life. Think of a favorite book you’ve recently read, and how much you enjoyed it. Reading through a long book demands focus. There is simply no other way to do it. You cannot possibly get the full value of the book by reading a 140-character tweet about it, or even by watching a 10-minute video about it. If you want the experience of enjoying a good book, you have to take the time and make the effort and maintain focus for the length of time necessary to read and fully comprehend it.

In addition to reading a good book, there are many other things you simply cannot do unless you’re able to remain focused. People with successful careers, people who are leaders in all walks of life, people who are top athletes and artists, musicians, physicians and writers, all are people who can successfully maintain focus for long periods of time.

So how do you do that? How do you stay focused when the world is conspiring against you to steal that focus? How do you maintain focus when you have so much to do, so much to think about, so many interruptions, distractions and challenges? Like just about any other skill, the skill of staying focused can be learned and continually improved upon over time. People who successfully keep themselves focused have learned to use a number of very effective strategies. Let’s take a look at some of those strategies.


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—Ralph Marston