They say that if you take a big task and start slowly and apply consistency, everything becomes possible. The long journey begins with one step kind of philosophy. Yet, the fact remains that you have to be focused on the journey for it to be completed – focused on one thing only.
And the same metaphor applies in almost every aspect in life. No matter the intensity that you put into doing something, the outcome will always be positive if you keep focus and try to improve.
Yet, every opportunity that offers even the tiniest payoff is immediately seen as some beauty dressed in an haute couture gown. And we lose focus. We try to invest ourselves in many tasks while dividing our attention and thus doing things halfheartedly.
Focus on one thing at a time
Our mind works by following the concept of comfort and security. Most of the time, that is. And with such mental wiring we are somewhat conditioned to positively respond to every seemingly fruitful opportunity. The moment we hear something appealing in terms of offering a payoff, we dive in, and dive in head first.
But the thing is, you see, that once we try one thing we are reluctant enough to keep being open for countless of other opportunities.
And while it’s always great to consider options, the truth of the matter is that they distract you from focusing on one thing at a time, thus not allowing a full use of your potential.
There is no need in having a plan “B” since it distracts from plan “A” – Robin Sharma (tweet this)
And Robin had it right. The moment he started his writing career (though it wasn’t exactly a career at the time), he quit his law practice. And this was hard initially since both finances and recognition were to be lost over time.
But if he decided not to go against his comfort zone reflex, he still would have been this lawyer who tried writing and things just never took off.
What he did though, is focusing on one thing and one thing only. He didn’t care about everything else that was on the table. The rest is a story we all know quite well. His first book, despite initially being turned down by many publishers, became number one bestseller, and sold millions of copies throughout the world. His second one, also successful, and so on and so on.
If he was to share his secret formula, I believe that it is something in the lines of focus on one thing at a time and keep pushing forward. Step, by step.
How to focus on one thing in three steps
Everything that translates into going against your reflexes and mental wiring is hard at a number of levels. Therefore solutions should be looked for in our mindset.
If we know that countless opportunities appeal to us because of the fact that we seek comfort and security, then the question on how to focus on one thing gets easier.
- Condition yourself to believe that whatever you are focused on, will ultimately bring you that comfort, that level of security.Try and vividly imagine the benefits and the course in which your progress will take place. Not might, but will. Believe wholeheartedly that you are doing the only thing that will give you payoff.
When this step is done, it gets a lot easier.
You see, we try different things only as a safe switch in case our initial plan doesn’t work. So hide the switch somewhere deep, and keep it there for a while.
- Seeking for comfort and security in what you do is only part of the picture. Encouraged by that, you should try and disregard other opportunities. Or better yet, not even try to visualize about how the outcome would look like if you follow in a different direction.Focusing on one thing is easier when you follow your plan and use that every time another opportunity shows itself.
- The final step is so obvious, that when you read it you will go like: Duh. It is the most important as far as realization goes. Again, this is not some magic formula, nor I claim any sort of guru status whatsoever. It is, rather, something that I notice as I walk the walk myself. Makes sense too.In order to focus on one thing only, the equation is simple really. Just do one thing at a time. Slowly, inefficiently even. But do it – Day in and day out. You will get frustrated from time to time, feeling that other opportunities will pass you over, but endure this initial overwhelming feeling. Progress will ultimately come. It is always behind the corner, just that the corner sometimes takes more time and effort. But we get there; and for sure.
And this line of thinking is helpful in all other aspects of life too. Take for example fitness and weight loss – the less distracted you are, and the more disciplined your approach is, the sooner you get to see results. You just visualize the progress by reading motivational workout quotes, and stick with your daily routine, as well as your diet. I’ve seen hundreds of people who took baby steps but kept walking for weeks on end. People who instead of going to the gym, experimented with programs like PIYO. And here is the interesting part – even yoga and Pilates, if done properly and long enough, will turn you into a fitness machine and help you realize your weight loss goals. You just have to believe in the process and invest yourself day after day.
Focusing on one thing at a time is something that goes against our nature. We are curious, driven by comfort and security, and these things tempt us to reach for so many of an opportunity. But it is always a bigger payoff when we stick with something for a while longer giving it our undivided attention, rather than trying myriad of other things and doing them halfheartedly. Focus on one thing and one thing only.
Image credit: By Jack Batchelor