Focusing on focus.
Above image by DaGaAl/Shutterstock.com
In my last article I investigated the link between contentment and exercise. This highlighted the importance of focus. After all, if our efforts lack concentration, then this in turn affects how successful the outcome can be. When our world is full of errands, commitments, distractions and time constraints, many of us still manage to find some time to exercise. But how effective is that exercise if we lack focus?
Maybe when we do focus, it is done so unconsciously without us knowing how. Think back to an exercise session that went particularly well where you were determined, committed, and the outside world no longer existed. There was a point where you became totally immersed in the exercise.
I think one of the key components of focus is the psychological concept known as ‘flow’, this is when your ability meets focus, and you become completely immersed in the activity you are doing. Your thoughts and movements become second nature without any hesitation. You are no longer just exercising, you become one with the exercise.
I see focus as a certainty of the task ahead, with the confidence in your ability to achieve it, and a commitment to concentrate on the task irrespective of where you are or what’s happening around you. I liken this to being in the midst of a storm, the wind battering your body and distressing your mind, there could be feelings of fear but despite this you still set your mind to the task at hand, you push on forward, your eyes narrowed, your heartbeat fast but you know what needs to be done and no matter what, nothing will stop you, not the storm, not the noise and no one else.
If contentment was compared to soil, and our thoughts the seeds, then perhaps focus is the steady hand that disperses them whatever the conditions.
Let us focus whenever we exercise, let us be the steady hand that throws the seed, for without this, perhaps we can never reap our true potential.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. (July 1 1997). Finding Flow. Available: https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199707/finding-flow. Last accessed 11th June 2017.
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