Learn to Focus our Minds
Developing one’s will power is directly related to one’s success in life.
No one can over estimate the power of your will to do.
It is the lack of determination and concentrated will power that most people fail.
The process of obtaining this self-mastery – the complete command of one’s mind – is a gradual one.
Just like an athlete who trains, requires him to channel full mental attention to his skills, a mind must be trained to have it focused on one particular task. This again brings us back to Thinking. No one taught us how to think in school. We all have too many thoughts making a chaos in our minds, when this mind is in a pandemonium, utterly out of control, is when we loose complete focus of something we want to succeed in, and we fail to realize our goals.
Yet with practice and self awareness of our thoughts we can train it to FOCUS. Our mind is like a camera which captures emotions, events etc as mental images. We look at the captured imagery. All we have to learn is to Focus it to a particular object in the picture, the one which is of paramount importance to us. Let this lens adjust itself to get that very particular object in focus and let all the rest in it blur out. Once in focus, the clarity of the task we have to perform is crystal clear, without the mere distractions of irrelevant thoughts we can use all our effort to work towards it, and eventually succeed.
When Henry Ward Beecher was asked how he could accomplish so much more than others, he replied, “I don’t do more, but less than other people. They do all their work three times. Once in anticipation, once in actuality, and once in rumination. I do mine in actuality alone, so I end up doing things just once.”
Beecher could concentrate his mind on what he was doing at a given moment. Then he’d go to something else and concentrate on it. One of the secrets of a successful life is to be able to focus all our energies on one thing at a time.
Don’t waste your time worrying as it only crowds your thoughts with worthless clutter. Focus on what you’re doing while you’re doing it, and stop worry before it stops you. Worry is an energy zapper. It reduces your chances of success and it can make life just as miserable for those around you.
Learning to focus your efforts is the only way you will achieve the success you’re capable of. The earlier in life you learn this simple fact, the more likely you will overcome everything that slows you down and prevents you from true success in everything you do.
Here’s a recipe for a wasted life – just go about every day trying to do too many things at once. Splitting yourself up into a hundred parts leads to nowhere.
When a person is focussed, he extracts all his latent power and pulls the switch to ignite it. The resulting force is directed all to the goal he has focussed on. His goal is clear. Mind is pure. Time is still.
For medical students it is very important to maintain focus on what they are learning and where they are moving. Many can have their mental faculties disturbed by various trivial things and this can lead to loosing your focus. Loosing focus can make your life miserable in the medical field. There is too of demand on you, yet you get consumed by wasteful thoughts, this tires you down, you are then unable to cope with rising workload, even the ones you read seem to fade away leaving you in confusion. Anxiety and frustrations take over you and you start living a painful life, a life full of stress. You may clear exams, but just a nudge at the borderline, you may even fail. The pain is too much to withstand, and you loose your goals, you now want to quit or settle to a lower level of a general practitioner once you pass out. Those who eventually make it to top pursuing fields of specialization and super-specialization are the ones who had remained focus, full control of their mental faculties and used up their fuel only to direct themselves to their goals. Whats on their mind is nothing too much, its just the clarity of their goals and the rest of the thoughts are pure. They feel no stress. They enjoy their work and learning and learn more, get better by the day.
I am not a Mental trainer nor a Thinker like Edward de Bono, I am just a bloke who is learning and sharing what I am learning. Hence these are few mental strategies one may employ to help him focus and concentrate. These were number of ways I learnt from Rabbi Noah Weinberg reading his articles on spirituality.
GUARD YOUR THOUGHTS
It’s often hard to concentrate. Our mind wanders all over the place.
Just as you need to “guard your tongue” in order to not waste words, so too you need to ?guard your thoughts” to steer them in the right direction.Get in touch with your mind. It’s flopping all over. Freeze the frame: What are you thinking right now? You’re wondering what’s for lunch!
You set the agenda, close off other compartments, and concentrate. You mind is here, not anywhere else. You couldn’t care about sports or politics or finance or anything else. You are only aware of the task at hand.
DEAD TO THE WORLD
Life pulls us in many different directions and it’s hard to stay on track.It’s not simple to take off time of work. But whatever you do, whenever you do it, be totally immersed and involved. Pretend as if you’re “dead to the world.” For that time, nothing should pull you away from the more meaningful task at hand. Nothing else exists.
CLEAR THE MIND
We are what we think. Our ideas dictate reality. If someone thinks people are out to get him, it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not, he will be afraid. Or if a smart child gets the idea that he’s stupid, that will become his reality.Intellectual purity means sorting out your ideas. Distinguish which are true and which are false; which make sense and which are foolish. Then clear your mind; filter out the “garbage” so it doesn’t get mixed into your brain.Get in touch with your mind. What are you thinking? Whenever you utter a statement, ask yourself, “Do I really mean this?” A false idea repeated often enough will become your reality – even if at first you don’t believe it.Finally, interact with ideas as if they are real. Once you decide that a certain idea is correct, translate it into a concrete idea. For example, take the feeling: “I don’t want to waste time,” and turn it into the idea: “Life is precious.” The next step is to take it from your mind and put it into action. To ignore it and go on is living a schizophrenic life.
Just as you need purity of mind, you also need purity of heart – “one emotion at a time.? Different emotions can invade at the wrong time, and if you’re not clear, you’ll get pulled in too many directions.Being pulled in opposite directions causes paralysis.Before entering a situation, decide in advance which emotion you want to “ride.” If you’re going to a wedding and it’s important to have joy, don’t drift to extraneous topics like: How will they support themselves? How does my hair look? Will I have the salmon or the beef? Instead, focus on the singular emotion and tell yourself, “I’m going to be joyful – and no one’s gonna stop me!”Even if you don’t feel cheerful, fake it. Emotional purity is an act of discipline. You are the master of your mind. Intensify your will and pull your mind where you want it to be. Before long, your internal reality will catch up with your external actions.
BLOCK IT OUT
Get a hold of crippling negative emotions and block them out.If you feel a negative emotion, realize that you have the ability to “let go” and feel upbeat in a moment. It’s only wounded pride that says, “I have to pout a while longer before I can get over this one.” The negative energy is hurting no one but yourself. You have the power of free will to lift yourself out of it.This is especially important in times of confusion and anxiety. You have a flight to catch, but the taxi arrives late and then you’re caught in traffic. Don’t sit there aggravated, seething and kicking yourself. It will ruin your day. Instead, switch to positive thoughts: Okay, so I missed the plane. But I can still enjoy the view! Of course, if there’s something to do about it, do it. But otherwise, block it out.Imagine a surgeon who had an argument with his wife this morning. He’s aggravated, and now he’s going to operate. How can he possibly concentrate? He’s a trained professional. He’ll block it out.Be ruthless in your focus. It’s not always bad to be ruthless. If the surgeon doesn’t ruthlessly focus, he’ll endanger the patient.The goal, of course, is not to be devoid of emotions, but to control them and apply them appropriately.How do you avoid this trap? Be interested in truth, wherever it will lead. If you find truth and it conflicts with your prior beliefs, dissolve your prejudices. Be relentless in the pursuit of truth. I have to change my whole life Okay, I am not afraid.
Relates to the concept of Meditation. Meditation does not mean chanting a word that does not make sense to you. Rather, it means taking one subject and immersing yourself completely, to the exclusion of all other subjects. This in Islam is seen in Sufi practices, yet according to many scholars, the Salat itself is and has to be performed in act of meditation. Yet there are many who just learn it in physical actions, a ritual rather than focusing their mind in it. Here are some ways you can use in your personal prayers.
Use “tunnel vision” to connect with your deepest emotions on God, life, humanity, family, suffering, etc.Abraham, Moses, were all shepherds. It afforded them time to meditate alone under the awesomeness of the heavens, and it gave them private time to concentrate on lofty spiritual ideas, to get into the right frame of mind to speak with God. Propher Muhammad (S.A.W.) used to spent days together alone meditating in the Cave on mount Hira.To meditate, try saying a single word out loud, and concentrate on it’s meaning. After 10 minutes, your mind will be fully focused.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Once you’ve developed the twin tools of intellectual and emotional purity, the next step is integrated purity – putting it all together. Of course, stay away from counterproductive activities. You can’t party all night and meditate in the morning. It’s the antithesis of purity.Don’t contaminate your goal. Focusing on what you want is the first step in getting what you want. “Confused equals diffused.” If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there.Wishy-washiness often comes from not being clear about personal goals. Know your goals and priorities at all times, and have a plan for how to reach them.The most important thing is to know what you’re living for – i.e. “The Main Goal.” If you are ready to die for something, that is pretty heavy. You want to be a good man? Every human being is ready to die to be good. Isn’t that true?Once you have a goal, you need to get psyched up and focused. Everyone needs a cheerleader, and there is no better (or more readily available) cheerleader than yourself. Try giving yourself a pep talk like a football coach: “I’m going to accomplish today. I’m going to concentrate. I’m going to search for truth and nothing will stop me. The next person who gives me a piece of wisdom, I’m going to listen, appreciate it, think about it, and apply it.”Make your goals real. You only have a short time to achieve everything you want in life. Start now and give it all you’ve got.