The Art of Focus – a Crucial Ability: Christina Bengtsson (Transcript)

So, focus is simply about choosing the right thought among thousands of thoughts.

Now, how do we get focused?

Well, firstly, regarding the disturbing thoughts. We need to learn to notice disturbing thoughts and to distinguish them from not disturbing thoughts. A not disturbing thought is something completely neutral, like a lamp, a chair, a belt, a toaster or an autumn leaf.

Because as the brain, in broad terms, only can focus on one thing at a time, a not disturbing thought knocks out all the disturbing and worrying thoughts. And this is enough to reach that inner capacity we in fact already possess.

Second, regarding how we constantly focus on what we will achieve. In the performance-based society of today, we often lose focus because we constantly strive towards the new and better instead of finding our inner power and constructively working with what we are best at at each given moment.

Because if we always think about the goal, about what we want to achieve, about where we want to go, about who we want to become, our focus is constantly on the future and not on the work that needs to be done now.

So, removing the goal now and then is not as crazy as it sounds. Well, scary at first. I mean, where we’re going now? But that is how focus ends up on who we are and what we have instead of chasing after what we are not and do not have.

So, focus is not about becoming something new or something better, but simply about functioning exactly as well as we already are and understanding that this is enough for both general happiness and great achievements.

Third, regarding frustration for not having time. We live in a time with endless possibilities around us, and this seems to have created the notion that life must be lived intensely. We try to exceed on all arenas at the same time, and one’s self-confidence ends up on all that we do instead of placing focus on one thing and doing this really, really well.

Our focus shatters into a thousand little must-dos and must-haves, and time is somehow eaten up.

But the principle is quite simple: The more possibilities, the more there is to refrain from. Today is no longer about prioritizing but about prioritizing away.

Imagine yourself sitting at your desk in the morning and making a must-to-do list. Now challenge yourself and make a not-to-do list, and your brain will automatically shift in focus.

Also, it’s funny, despite our unique ability to think long term, we want immediate response on our efforts. Posting a picture on social media, for instance. We live our life with short-term focus, and we are losing the ability to build our own self-esteem without constant feedback from others.

So, how do we find a long-term focus, that focus that moves your life in the right direction?

Achieving long-term focus requires that we learn to direct our attention inwards. To that what I call our inner core. To that which doesn’t need a constant response. Because it’s here, and perhaps only here, that we find genuine contentment and satisfaction with who we are.

So, why is all this so important to us all?

Focus is important because several essential abilities are linked to this innate skill. The ability to listen, to learn, to empathize, and not at least, to steer our self and our life in the right direction.

And as the pace in our society will increase even more, it will require quite a lot to navigate in this new unpredictable era, with a constantly growing roar around us.

And you know what? We must control the intense society. The intense society must not control us. And for this, we need to stay sharp and focused.

But do you know what I’m worried about? I am concerned that our ability to steer our focus with our own power is something we are about to lose.

I’m worried that we, in the future, will see two groups of people: those with the ability to co-exist and handle the intense society, and those who will become more or less slaves under the same possibilities.

Although we as adults are struggling with our focus more than ever, we still have a sense about what focus is.

But what about our coming generations? What if our generation is the last one with access to this life-affirming tool?

Here, we own a responsibility in ensuring that this ability is maintained in the future. Because focus, this vital force, is what brings out the best in ourselves and in others, something our world so greatly deserves.

Now, finally, embrace the ability you have within yourself to be able to see the value of a small autumn leaf playing in the wind.

 

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