1:4,000,000,000,000. You know what that is? That’s the probability of you taking birth on this goddamn planet. Seriously, you are that one out of four trillion other sperms that hit the bull’s eye, or I should say the egg’s eye, to pop out into this universe. Kinda a no-brainer to focus on yourself.
You know, this is one of those things we tend to know at the surface level, but we never really get around to the fact that just how insanely and crazily critical it is for us to fathom the importance of focusing on ourselves.
So, this is just a wake-up call of what you already know you should be doing but still don’t.
Self Awareness and Focus
Focusing on yourself doesn’t just mean understanding what kind of dishes are being cooked in your tiny little brain kitchen, it’s also about being self-aware and knowing where did you get those ingredients to cook that particular dish in the first place.
In muggle language, focusing on yourself involves not just acknowledging what kind of thoughts, feelings, emotions, dreams, goals, visions, or values you have, it’s also about discovering what led you to have those in the first place.
“Why do you have the dream you have? Why do you think you should follow the core values you have adopted? Why are you having the thoughts that you are having? What is actually leading to the emotions you are feeling lately?”
Self-awareness leads you to those kinds of questions. In a way, focusing on yourself without being self-aware of who you really are or what you actually want is like organizing a get-together party and not inviting your best friend. It’d be super dumb.
Similarly, simply following your goals blindly or chasing your dreams without any deep questioning is just plain stupid.
This is why I feel those are the more important questions to focus upon.
Focusing Without Self Awareness is gonna cost dearly
You might have come across a whole bunch of people who even after achieving their so-called ‘most ambitious dreams’ feel empty from the inside and aren’t really on cloud seven the way they thought they would be.
Ever wondered why? They surely were focused on themselves which is why they were able to accomplish their goals in the first place, but they missed out on something. Yeah, that’s right. They weren’t self-aware of why they wanted what they wanted.
They are the kind of people who simply read some books, heard some podcasts, listen to families and friends and prop up some superficial goal for themselves, and threw themselves into the fire without thinking twice.
It actually is a pretty serious problem as countless people have no idea what to do once they achieve what they set out to achieve. They get disappointed and feel incomplete once they reach where they wanted to reach so ardently. The sole reason is a lack of self-awareness.
Question the Foundation
Call it the shiny object syndrome or the classic ‘grass is greener on the other side’ phenomena, 99% of people have to rely on them to set out their life ahead. And with such a shaky foundation, the building is bound to collapse.
We never really question the basic foundation of all our dreams and goals. Our very starting point itself is at the wrong goddamn place. And it’s only after we have crossed the finish line, do we actually realize that we were competing in the wrong freaking race.
The goals you were crazily chasing like anything, once you achieve them, you come to this grim reality that it wasn’t worth what you thought it was.
Ask yourself honestly, have you ever questioned the dreams and visions you have with patience and without any biases? Ask yourselves, if you leave your preconceived notions and beliefs you have formed based upon what society, your family, and friends fed you, would you still have the dream you have today?
We are not really taught to question this way, as everyone is just preaching about superficial things like “Chase your Goals”, “Follow your dreams”, “Hustle like anything” and yada yada yada. But nobody is talking about whether we are following the right goals or not, which is the more important thing to uncover.
It’d be a shame to work so hard, make sacrifices, struggle like anything to only achieve something you are not happy about. Now, you would be in a worse place than before because you will be thinking that you went through all the shit, to reach a shittier place. Had you not had the dream, you would have at least not made all those sacrifices and probably would have enjoyed the time.
That’s why it’s about time, you actually focus on your goddamn self.
Aren’t your goals an imitation?
If you think about it, most of you are only imitating someone or the other when it comes to choosing your desires or goals. Your distant uncle, your friend’s dad’s sister, or anyone in your surroundings, who is at a reputed place, you automatically get drawn to them.
And consciously or unconsciously, it becomes a really important deciding factor when it comes to choosing what we wanna do.
We are naturally wired to respect those with more money, name, and fame. And consequently, because we respect them, we naturally see ourselves becoming them down the line, without actually focusing on who we really are.
The result of all this is you becoming a result-oriented person who will do anything to just get what you want so that you can rise up in the social status game.
Even though the problems with this whole structure are apparent, let me still shine some light on the same.
Being a result-oriented person or someone who just chases external validations in the form of name, fame, money, would make you really susceptible to cross your values, principles, morals, and ethics which may result in loss of integrity and self-respect.
All that glitters is not gold, and likewise, you may actually never know what kind of a person, you are in awe of, actually is from within. Maybe he is depressed, maybe his family hates him, maybe he hates what he does but has to keep doing it to sustain his lifestyle and save his nose in society, and a lot of maybes.
And since you are so blinded by what he achieved outside, you may totally miss out on what he destroyed on the inside. As a result of which, you might be tempted to do something you are not totally in love with but are forced to do just because you wanna play the status game.
This path might make you rich, but not wealthy
Now, what I meant by the above subheading is that, even if you don’t focus on yourself, and even if you are not totally self-aware of what you actually want or who you actually are, simply walking on the path set out by society might make you successful after all.
But the caveat here is that you might gain all the materialistic riches treading on this path, provided you worked your ass off, but you will never be deeply satisfied with it. There will always be a void left unfulfilled.
Initially, it might look like all sunshine and rainbows, but real soon you will start seeing the grim reality and discover what you got yourself into. And in most cases, coming out of this trap becomes almost next to impossible.
Focus is about Asking the right questions
The actual meaning of focusing on yourself involves asking yourself the right kind of questions. Now, what are the right kind of questions? The kind which takes you closer to who you really are deep down, and not what you want on the outside.
“What makes me happy?” >> “How do I make $1M?”
“Am I enjoying the work?” >> “Is it gonna make me money?”
“Is my dream helping me improve myself?” >> “Is my dream gonna help me raise my standards around my colleagues?”
“Am I contributing to the world in a meaningful way doing XYZ?” >> “Will this give me name, fame, and money?”
“Can I do this even if I am not paid?” >> “Should I look for something else because it’s not paying me enough?”
“What am I learning from my job?” >> “What am I gonna get doing my job?”
“What will I become from the inside if I follow my vision?” >> “What will I become on the outside if I follow my vision?”
“Is it aligned with who I am from the inside?” >> “Is it gonna help me keep my status?”
Basically, asking the questions that take you closer to your true self and checks whether you are growing from the inside or not are the right kind of questions, and questions that are aimed towards measuring what you are gonna achieve on the outside and are taking you away from who you actually are, are the wrong kind of questions.
Focusing on Yourself Demands Patience
The second we figure out a goal at the surface level, without deeply understanding our needs and our personality, we just run blindly towards our so-called goal.
Being patient and introspective is simply out of fashion nowadays which is why you will find a ton of restless, unhappy, and unsatisfied people who are pretty successful if looked at from the eyes of the world.
Taking instant action towards our fake and superficial dreams has become the new trap that people fall prey to. It is the kind of trap you should avoid at any cost because once you fall into it, it’s gonna be one hell of a task to pull yourself out of it.
Your situation would be like that of a guy who is stuck; he can neither just drop everything overnight because he worked so hard to get where he is today and he’d be reluctant to start everything all over again nor he would be able to enjoy what he got himself into, because well, he never focused on himself.
For instance, if you had a dream of becoming an actor because you have seen that they have it all, name, fame, money, recognition, exotic places, high profile networks, and yada yada yada, it’s really likely that you won’t be happy. Because since you are attached to the external metrics and not the work, ‘acting’, itself, there’s a good probability that you won’t succeed. And even if you do, your happiness will depend upon outside metrics which will keep on fluctuating.
So, it’s kind of a no-brainer that patience is the asset that can give you invaluable returns in the long term. Think about it, before taking a decision that can literally affect the entire course of your life, it’s crucial to think it through patiently.
Take as long as you wanna take, and ask yourself with a calm and composed, and rational mind, whether what you are gonna choose is the right decision or not. If you lose your patience and just keep on going the way you were, your actions will be directed to solve only the most urgent problems in your life.
And the most important aspects of your life that need your complete attention will take a backseat. Once you make this a habit, to prioritize only the urgent things in life, you will eventually stop caring about the important things which ain’t no good.
So, if you don’t wanna live your life stupidly, and are actually serious about focusing on yourself, then let’s talk about what you should be doing while holding your patience and taking that break I talked about in the previous section.
So now that you have the self-awareness that before taking any major life decisions, you gotta keep your patience intact, and one of the best ways to develop patience is to go somewhere open.
It’d be a total waste of your time if you are still married to your tiny little room or apartment and are wandering just here and there in search of better answers.
Seek open space where you can see the entire sky at its maximum size. Go on a trek, or your countryside, or any nearby hill station, and if nothing works, just spend the majority of your time at your rooftop.
Looking at the abundant and ever-expanding sky will tell your mind subconsciously that even the sky ain’t the limit. It will assist you to declutter your mind, help you transcend your beliefs, and would help you channel your energies to discover a new dimension in you.
Now, I know it may look like superfluous and fake positive stuff, but don’t take it literally, and see it as poetry. Don’t fixate your eyes on my finger, instead focus your vision on what I am trying to show you.
We all crave Freedom
Freedom is pretty deeply embedded into our systems. Every living organism naturally wants to be free, and when you spend your time in an open space, you automatically get the feeling of being free from all the clutches and leashes that were tying you up at the level of your mind.
Interestingly, even the most seemingly pestering problems you were facing would fizzle out as you spend your time under the sun, relishing the exquisite and magnanimous beauty of the universe and just acknowledging the fact that how humongous Life is. Your mind literally drops everything at hand and you kinda enter a zone that’s really addicting.
All your desires, emotions, fears, wants, thoughts, everything comes to a standstill for a certain period if you deeply observe your brain activities the next time you try this out.
That’s the beauty and power of open space. But nowadays, we have caged ourselves into tiny little prisons. We stay stuffed into our homes, in fact, into our electronic devices to be more precise. That’s making our world shorter day by day.
We as humans weren’t really meant to box ourselves into those tiny little glittery screens. We were meant to be out, into the wild. Taking care of that is actually focusing on yourself, but since we were kinda clueless as to what focusing on ourselves means, it’s no surprise that we are indulged in the wrong kind of things.
You are not even realising this but because you have made your world so freaking small, even the minuscule problems become problems of the millennium for you. And you feel totally helpless to even move the needle because you have magnified your problems a tad too much.
So the point being, before taking any major decision of your life, cut off from the so-called world for some time (from a couple of days to a week or so), go someplace open, spend as much time as you can not doing anything, see how to enjoy doing nothing, preferably don’t rely on any external sources of entertainment while this little activity.
Decluttering your Mind is the Way out
The whole point of the above activity is to flush the useless, baseless, and petty thoughts your mind was cluttered with. And the best part is that you don’t have to consciously do anything, just simply observing the oneness of the universe and the magnitude of life would automatically do the trick.
It’s kinda naive and stupid to expect that you will be able to make the right decisions in life with an already cluttered mind that’s filled up to the brim. Trying to solve a problem with a brain like that would be like adding more water to an already overflowing cup.
Hence, the first step to actually focus on yourself is to make your mind clear, like that of a freshly rebooted PC. Even the device which has too many applications running in the background is gonna lag and won’t be able to perform as efficiently and smoothly as a device that has no applications running.
Our mind is also like that of a PC.
What comes next?
Ok so now that you will be in a mentally better position than before, assuming you did what I just rambled about, what is the next step?
In the beginning, I started off with the example that we chase the wrong kind of goals, chasing money, name, fame, which is why we feel empty and unfulfilled once we reach the other side.
So, once you rejuvenate yourself, you gotta ask this question to yourself, “What’d I do, if I didn’t have the problem I am currently facing?”
For instance, if you are just choosing to do something because you think it will get you money, it will make you famous, and blah blah blah, change the dynamics and entertain the possibility that you are already past it; then what?
If you are doing it just for the money, then ask yourself “if money was not a concern, would I do it?”
If you are doing it just for name and fame, then ask yourself, “if I’d already be as famous as Kanye West, would I still do what I am about to do?”
If you are doing it just to please your parents or your friends or your relatives or the society, then ask yourself, “if I already am everyone’s favorite who doesn’t need to impress anyone anymore, would I still do it?”
And if the answer is yes, then you have your answer. If it’s no, then also you have your answer. As simple as that.
Focusing is about Looking Inside
The main objective of asking those questions is to see whether you are acting to gain anything on the outside(name, fame, money), become anything on the outside(rich, famous), or to actually do the thing that’s gonna help you on the inside.
Once you see beyond those external validation points and ask yourself the most important question, “What would I do if any of those outer reasons weren’t a concern?” then that’s where you start getting some real answers. That’s what truly focusing on yourself is all about.
99.999999% of the people in this world are doing what they are doing just to earn money, or to impress or please someone, or to prove someone to something. Only a handful of people can see through the BS of the dreams and desires that were implanted by their surroundings and genuinely try to figure out what it is that they truly want.
Nothing is more important to figure out than this, isn’t it? And only a calm and composed and stable mind is capable enough to discover such a thing. That’s why the whole activity is so crucial.
Work would become play
Once you realize what it is you actually wanna do—and this would be something that you wanna do for the love of it, not because you would get something out of it—then you would focus on it effortlessly.
You wouldn’t have to try to focus doing it, in fact, this whole question would become non-existent for you. You’d be ready to go to any heights and bear any amount of pain just to do what you wanna do. Even that pain would become a beautiful experience for you to cherish.
You’d start enjoying the struggle, the discomfort, the torment, the torture, that would come along doing what you wanna do. And in my humble opinion, this is the only way to be actually able to live a deeply satisfied and happy life.
If you don’t figure out the one thing that could make you fall in love with the pain, then no matter how much material success you amass, how much you name and fame you get, you’d be empty from the inside and would have no real happiness to share with.
You’d only work to get something in return, and if you get it you’d be happy for a second and would then prop up another desire and become restless again, and if you don’t get it, then you’d get stressed about it.
But if you don’t care about any of that stuff, you don’t care if you get anything in return or not, you’d be excited and pumped up just to do what you wanna do. Your action would be a complete action in itself.
You’d lose yourself to the work you are gonna do, and work would become play. And you know the biggest irony with this?
It’s actually the people who care the least about the results that actually get the best results. Caring about results won’t get you results. You have to care about the work you do to get the results. So, see how this works?
People who keep ranting about the results take their eyes off of the work which is why they don’t get the results in the first place.
Look at any great artists of all time. They did what they did not to earn money, not to please society, not to become famous. Those were all just the side effects. But their main objective was doing what is aligned with who they deeply are from within.
Maybe everything is fine
One other possibility of that activity is that you might come to the conclusion that everything is actually perfect and you just have to change the way you look at it.
Maybe you don’t have to change a thing in real life and everything is already going perfect and you were just venting your emotions of one situation in an entirely different situation.
These are also some possibilities. And one may not come to these answers if he kept on revolving in the same circle he was in. That’s why I highly recommend trying out that activity to break your mental barriers, widen your horizon and broaden your scope.
You will automatically start getting all the answers, once you elevate the scope of your thinking and untie those stubborn knots of beliefs that were tying you up and keeping you from discovering who you frankly are.