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No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.
-- Alice Walker


The MONTHLY Motivator - June 2018


Maintain focus

How do you maintain focus for lengthy periods of time? Well, the answer is in the word “maintain”. You’re not attempting to build focus. What you’re choosing to do is maintain a specific focus that you have already reached. So, the way to stay focused is simply to let your thoughts of everything else fall away.

There are times when focused thought is highly appropriate and useful. At other times, you can gain more by not being so tightly focused. If you were sharply focused all the time it would wear you out. And, you’d miss the opportunity to discover new experiences.

So, focus is best when you choose to focus for a reason. Perhaps you are working on a complex problem, or writing a speech, learning a second language, studying for an exam, or any number of other tasks that demand focus. When doing so, set an intention at the very beginning. Make the commitment to yourself to stay focused. In addition, set a time limit. Choose, for example, to stay focused for 30 minutes. This enables you to make a specific, measurable commitment. It also assures you there is a definite ending point at which you can relax and move on to something else. Yes, at some point you will need to go back to another period of focus. But if you tell yourself you’re going to stay focused for five hours or some other very long period, you’re likely to begin rebelling against that commitment. So make it a period that you’re willing to accept and stick with for the duration.

Once you’ve set the intention, once you’ve made the commitment, begin immediately to exercise your focus. At this point you are already focused, because you’ve been focusing on setting the intention. So all you have to do is maintain that focus. It’s not easy, but at its core it is really very simple. You just have to let go of everything that is outside the subject you’ve chosen to focus upon.

A car drives by outside. You notice the sound it makes. Perhaps a little sunlight glints off the car and flashes in your window. At this point, you have a choice. You can choose to be distracted by the car, to wonder who it might be and where it could be going. Or you can choose to just notice it and then quickly let it go. That’s the path of focus, to simply notice other things and quickly let them go. Get back to what you have decided to focus upon.

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--Ralph Marston

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