More on focusing

Yesterday’s focus on focus raised a big topic, which I’ll continue just for today.  We human beings struggle mightily with the question of focus.  Inasmuch as we have private rights to our own thoughts, we like to think we each individually decide where to place our focus.  To some extent this is true, and by applying stern discipline, we can select and cultivate focus that brings rewards we seek.  We can focus on work, and see some profit increase.  We can focus on losing weight, or building muscle, or learning a new skill, and earn rewards for our efforts.

Indeed, we have tremendous power to achieve through intense focus.  The difficulty surfaces when we see, however, the limitations of focus.  The tool is only as useful as the choices we make.  We may chose, for example, to focus on increasing business profits through hard work.  And while we may achieve our goal to some extent, we suddenly realize that by focusing intently on working harder, we have been blind to new methods that provide shortcuts to the same success.  Focus, in other words, can obstruct clear view of opportunity.

Maybe you focus hard on losing weight, and indeed the pounds drop away.  But in the process, you turn a deaf ear to your soul’s lonely outcry and ignore the oppression you feel from dieting.  You end up thinner, but now there’s a new problem: chronic depression.

So focus is a handy tool, but it can be deceptive.  It can trick you into thinking you’re in charge and invincible.  Which is a great feeling for the short term, but simply untrue in reality. 

Focus is like the drugstore magnifiers we aging boomers all use to boost our fading eyesight.  It’s a wonderful tool that lets us pretend we can see with accustomed clarity.  We do well not to forget, however, that the larger truth is that we’re slowly going blind, no matter how powerful the tool makes us right this instant.

In the end, practising focus and learning to use it intensely and well is a seriously helpful way to achieve your goals.  And then, letting your focus go, dropping it completely in order to open to new information supercedes your focus.  Focus, like the rules of a game, is best practised and then forgotten.

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