Focus. Focus. And Focus. You might have come across this word probably thousands of times, for all the reasons. Whether it was your parents asking you to focus on your studies, your boss asking you to focus on your work, your gf asking you to focus on the relationship, or at 112 other places—you will never hear the end of it, and for all the good reasons.
Life is all about focusing on the right thing at the right place. Many of our problems can vanish instantly, only if we learn how to focus on things the right way. Here, I am not gonna hand you a list of “quick tips” on how to focus better—you can find a ton of shit like that out there already—here I am gonna go to do the bottom of it—what causes us to not be able to focus—the ultimate way to uproot this issue once and for all.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
HOW TO FOCUS On Yourself?
If you are a student, studying in a school or a college, and are wondering how to focus and the power of focus in life, then let me tell you, you don’t wanna miss this article—read it till the end. There is this one major problem in a student’s life.
Choosing the wrong track, consciously or unconsciously
Now, what is the wrong track? From addiction to Cigarette, Alcohol, Drugs—Social Media, Gaming, TV & Movies. All this is the wrong track. Now the thing to understand here is that Mobile is not the problem, our own addiction to it—our not being able to take our eyes off of it—is the issue here.
Addiction to any object, state, person, situation, phase, or experience is the wrong track. Doing anything under the limit is fine. Mobile in itself is a wonderful tool, it all depends on how one utilizes it.
Like a knife in the hand of a surgeon and a knife in the hand of a mugger—the knife remains the same—it all depends on who’s using it and how. One is saving lives, the other is taking them, while the tool remains the same. Tools are a good servant but a weak master, so it’s imperative you let them do what they were meant to do. Once you let these tools swap the roles, then that’s where you open the pandora’s box.
So, What’s the Right Track?
Simple, we all know it, STUDY. There is no other option, right? This is the right track. Taking a decision, and giving your 100% to it no matter what. Now, how to focus on studying and give your 100% towards it?
Again, two solutions.
One is at a superficial level. If you don’t like studying I can tell you a hundred ways of how to focus and concentrate. Turning on the music while studying—turn off your mobile and keep it afar from you—and a million other tricks that you can already find on the internet. I don’t need to tell you this.
But this doesn’t solve the root cause of the problem. The main concern is not learning how to focus, or increase the concentration powers—the main crux of the problem is to figure out why are we not interested in studies in the first place?
The bigger issue to figure out is that why do we have to force ourselves to study? You don’t need any kind of motivation whatsoever if you wanna go and play with your friends or party at the weekend, right? Chilling out with your friends or horsing around on social media—does one need any kind of inspiration or tricks to do that? That answer will be a big fat bowl of NO!
Also, come to think of it, by students, I mean everyone who still considers them young enough to learn and grow. After all, in the school of life, we are lifelong students, as we should be.
The Ultimate Solution
The ultimate solution that can uproot the problem altogether is to somehow make yourself so frucking concentrated and focused on your studies(or whatever work you do) such that even if the whole world forces you not to study—you still are truly, deeply, & madly in love with studies.
If somehow this becomes your attitude then voila! Task completed, once and for all. And how are we gonna make this shift happen again?
You are gonna need a reason. A big enough reason. This is the root cause, the thing I was talking about. We don’t really have a reason to study or work. We don’t have any reason to overcome all those addictions and learn how to focus.
All the bad habits that you are trapped in—you don’t have a reason big enough to break those habits, plain and simple. If you are entrapped with the habit of ‘not studying’, then you are gonna need a reason—an enormous one—to form a new habit of “studying”.
You need a REASON, to come out of the excuse world you created, otherwise you will keep on living the life you have been living, and nothing will change.
If you are wondering why do you need a reason, then let me tell you a story.
Imagine that you are in a desert, and are lost. You are all by yourself, and now you are scared shitless as you have no idea how to head back to your home. The cherry on top is that you also don’t have any supplies left too. Now a day passes by, but you are exactly where you were, lost. Fear and anxiety are getting the better of you and your thoughts are practically eating you up by devoiding you of the energy you had left in you.
Another day passes by and you still haven’t found your way home. You are famished like hell and you can’t take it anymore. Your throat is screaming like anything to provide it with water. The sun is also posing its threat. What are you gonna think about it at that particular time?
WATER. You will be ready to practically give up anything for a few drops of water. Your own piss will become your elixir of life as that’s the last resort left. How many of you are ready to drink your own piss today? Probably none, because there’s no good REASON to do it.
But if the reason is big enough, then you will be ready to even drink your own blood.
A REASON—Everything revolves around it
You need a reason—a purpose important enough to do something without getting distracted. When you were in the desert, will there be anything that could possibly distract you from achieving your purpose, i.e to find water no matter what?
Your whole sole goal will be just one thing, W A T E R. This is why you are gonna need a burning desire to study or to do anything for that matter. You don’t get distracted, you create your own distractions in your mind because you are not liking the things you supposedly have to do, and in order to escape the torture you will let your mind wander to random places.
You see, the desert is still easier. At least there you know what you need to survive. But in life, most of us aren’t even aware of what is that WATER, that’s gonna quench your thirst. If that doesn’t lit a fire in your heart to discover your purpose, nothing will. It’s exactly like being lost in a desert and not knowing that water is the elixir that will put out your thirst.
What a nightmare that’s gonna be. Unfortunately, that’s how most of us are living our lives—lost and oblivious, not knowing that it is water that will save their life.
Our subconscious mind sometimes overpowers our conscious mind and makes us do things that we very well know are super wrong for us, but still, we do it and keep on falling into the trap deeper and deeper because the addictions have strangulated us pretty strongly.
HOW TO COME OUT OF IT?
We just gotta see things as it is and understand this one basic thing, everyone on this planet, from a student to an adult is doing whatever he is doing to be happy—to seek pleasure—to avoid his existing pain. James Clear mentioned it in his book Atomic Habits (affiliate link), our brains are naturally wired to conserve energy, which is why it tends to choose pleasure over pain.
If given a choice, to either work on something or to party with our friends—most of us would naturally choose the latter, because tasks like watching TV, scrolling social media, or hanging out with friends take up less energy or less pain.
But the funny thing is that “no pain no gain”. The life that we all dreamt of living is gonna become a reality only if we embrace the pain. Quite a PARADOX, isn’t it? We are wired to do what we shouldn’t be doing, and not doing what it takes to get what we want. Avoiding this trap is of paramount importance.
All the fun lies in doing what we shouldn’t do, and the thing that is good for us lacks the ‘fun’ and ‘attractive’ part. Ironical. Hard work and busting your ass on a weekend sounds utterly boring, but that’s exactly what it is gonna take to get you what you always wanted.
And nobody can do it for you. There’s no magic wand or a mantra that can magically change your natural brain wiring. What actually can change your mind, is again, a reason, a purpose.
THE MONKEY MIND
Our monkey mind needs to be put on check, because make no mistake—if not controlled it will keep on jumping meaninglessly from one tree branch to another all its life. You need some kind of a leash to control your monkey mind because it is so powerful that it can completely derail your life if not controlled.
Your burning desire—your reason—your purpose is probably the best leash you have in your hand to keep your mind in control. As soon as you discover your reason, the mind will accumulate all its monkeyness and put it all in place to make that reason become a reality.
Only you can direct your mind, and you better do it now.
Your Intelligence is what will make your mind make obey you. Your intelligence will use your purpose—your reason as a leash to keep the mind in check. You will stop giving excuses. Only those who don’t have a reason hide behind the excuse card. And they live in this illusion that they are giving excuses to someone else when they are actually excusing their own selves.
If your purpose is strong enough, you will find that one reason to keep doing it even when there will be a thousand reasons for you to not do it. But if you don’t have one, even a thousand enticing offers or advantages won’t be sufficient as just one tiny reason will be enough for you to pull the whole goddam thing.
Even your goal setting would mean nothing if there is no purpose behind it. Your “how to focus” question will automatically be answered for you, once you find that reason.
What is that Purpose?
There can be two.
One is that you want to live your life to the fullest—you want to do something worthwhile—you wanna make a name of yourself or anything that you feel is worth it. The other can be doing what the majority of people do—living life just for the heck of it—killing and abusing time—ultimately becoming dead from the inside, like a rotten coffin carrying your sorry and miserable soul.
Once you get this calling from the inside that “yes, I wanna make my life worth living”, then you will automatically know how to focus on your work or study, because now there is no external pressure which is making you act—it is coming from within, which is significantly stronger.
Until this starts coming from within you, nothing is gonna change in your life. And no one else can make this magically appear in you. It’s your life, you are gonna decide whether you want to do something or not. Once this thought “I wanna do something meaningful in life” grabs your attention, your intelligence will automatically start looking for solutions and you will start getting answers.
Getting rid of your bad habits—trying to inculcate some good ones without any calling or purpose is completely meaningless and temporary. You may stay in the zone for some time, but until you find that reason nothing is going to change and you will be back on your old track in no time.
All the external motivation and pressure has a limit, but the inspiration that comes from within has no limit—it’s boundaryless and limitless. The goal of this blog isn’t to motivate you for some time, it’s to make you find that inspiration from within which lasts forever. The simplest explanation of inspiration can be just saying this one line to yourself, “I wanna do something great in life”.
If one doesn’t have any inspiration of any kind within himself—doesn’t want to do anything worthwhile in his life—doesn’t want to do anything good for anyone, even himself—then such a person is bound to walk on the wrong path sooner than later.
The wrong track is the track of running after and getting addicted to meaningless and hollow pleasures. The temporary pleasures that later on become permanent pains in life.
Ask an alcoholic/chain smoker how he feels about destroying his little family—ask a gambler how he feels about losing all his life savings—ask a couch potato who watches TV and eats all day how he feels about his health—ask a swindler how he feels about losing their beautiful marriage.
The whole world is blindly running after pleasures, completely overlooking its consequences. This will make one shallow from the inside if he succumbs to it which he will if he doesn’t have a purpose. Without a solid purpose, your mind will drop anything that gives it pain and will get attracted to anything that gives it any kind of pleasure—dwindling your focus.
The whole world is running after instant gratification. Our brains often tend to lose their focus power if they have to hold it for too long, which is why we are so easily drawn to all the negative habits. Smoking, alcohol, drugs, social media—they all give us instant gratification which is why the whole world is crazy about it.
If it would show its long term consequences instantly, then nobody would even dare to touch these things. Similar is the thing with the positive habits—if people could get the long term results in a matter of an hour, then most of us would start taking their work seriously.
But, unfortunately, it doesn’t work this way.
You won’t become fit on the first day of your gym—you won’t become smart by reading the first page of the book—you are not gonna become healthy by eating vegetables in a week. These things take time.
The wrong path, the path traveled by most of the people, look like heaven at first but becomes hell at the end of it. The right path, the path less traveled, may look like hell at first, but it always leads to heaven at the end of the day. That’s where the power of focus kicks in. It makes us control our mind to put its energy in the right direction. And focus comes with a purpose.
Now I don’t intend to say that you just have to keep working on your purpose all day long and forget about the pleasure totally. The secret of how to focus is to maintain a balance between purpose and pleasure. If you just work on your purpose, someday or the other you will get tired and will relapse—and then all you will see will be ‘pleasure’. That will be a hard trap to avoid.
Have all the fun you want to have, but at the same time, focus and prepare yourself to endure any and every kind of pain—come what may—to do the work that you know is right for you. We all want to taste what success feels like, but we are not ready to face the pain our minds and bodies will have to go through in order to reach that pinnacle of success. That’s the problem.
To sum it all up in one line: Find a purpose—throw yourself into it—have some fun along with it.
The permanent way to Focus is to find a Purpose that is bigger than your Life.