On Balance – Focus

Focus in predator behavior makes an attractive feature to learn for us, humans

Ever experience a lack of focus, or mental inability to keep focus?

There is a difference between being tired and unable to focus, and being tired and still feeling strong focused attention.

In the society praising multi-tasking and multi-purpose, we often multi-thinking too. When we are at work we think about home, when we are at home, we think about work. This multi-directional thinking often wears out our nervous system. Sitting down, stressing out, and not breathing deeply sends to our nervous system a signal of fight or flight response and and the brain is unable to function properly under such deprived conditions.

However, who of us regularly takes time for a few deep breath, or re-setting our physical posture, changing to a position when you operate at your best?

Moishe Feldenkrais, a noted scientist of the last century, created a methodology in which he postulates that human functioning can be increased by body and movement awareness. He states that physical postures correspond with mood, and as the blood oxygenation decreases or increases, the brain produces corresponding hormonal inputs, which lead us to feel a particular emotion, and be driven to a particular action. Sitting at the desk for hours, or engrossed in a decision making task, deprives the brain of nutrients and the polarity of the cells in our body changes. Often unnoticed, those processes can lead to feeling tired, frustrated, unfulfilled. Those moods can then become habituated behaviors leading to continuous feeling of tiredness and more frustration.

You may think of yourselves as successful, leading seemingly full life, looking from the outside in. You have a successful position at work and a family at home.

Yes, I am talking about women I meet  through mentoring. All of them who I mentor are successful and want more success in more areas in their lives. And this is why they hire me. There are always more and more things to do, buy, arrange, take care of, and nonetheless, there is more of the feeling of dissatisfaction, unfulfillment. And when we start our conversation it is then the secret question comes up.

How do I keep focus? What is the right way? When will I feel satisfied?

Ultimately, we are talking about finding balance.

How do I find balance and still have the life that I want?

I experimented with learning about focus since about 20 years ago, when I learned extreme focus working on the trading floor as an analyst in one of the investment banks. In my late 20s I was interested to assume a challenge to be amongst the screaming testosterone of jumpy quickly angered equity traders and learn to keep my cool and focus so I can do my work effectively. Months after, I laughed at the newbie assistant who joined and could not take it.  I already knew what to do to focus myself, so I can stay on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. I strived to push myself to develop a focus intensity like the cougar’s, by the way, an animal of my admiration.

How are they, cougars, able to keep their focus and track all the little tiny movements of their prey? In all predators the prey killer instinct drives an inevitable behavioral sequence: the search, the eye-stalk, the chase, the grab bite, and the kill bite.

If they loose site of the prey for a second, there goes dinner. And cougar does not like to be hungry.

Notice, that cougars are never out of balance. They know what to do to keep themselves sharp and alert.

And it is this hunger that we need to develop in ourselves rather than trying to concentrate on focusing on the task.

A brilliant renown speaker and presenter Les Brown refers to our primary motivational drive as “You gotta be hungry!” When you are “hungry” like a cougar, your survival need will keep you focused, otherwise!….

It is the direction, the intention that drives us, not the separate tasks. It is when we place the atention to the intent of what is really important, where you are directing your effort, and largely in answer to the bigger question:

Are you aware of the direction in your life?

When we find the place of  balance in keeping the focus on what is necessary for the movement forward toward what you want focus comes without any difficulty. Many people need guidance in finding this place of balance.

Once you found your balance, put your attention to your intent, balance restores your focus – often very quickly.

I mentor women and often teach to use the power of their mind, particularly to future moms. I see them after work, in a class, tired,  overloaded with responsibilities at work and at home to the point they are unable to follow and focus their attention. And no, I am not that boring!

Once reminded of the purpose of those classes to prepare them for the comfortable childbirth the attitude is changed and focus is restored. Newly found energy creates more learning experiences, continued later at home.

I often wonder about a new mother who goes back to work while she still has not recovered from childbirth and her thoughts are with her baby.

So you have more clarity the following short exercise will help you restore your awareness of your intent quickly and will take the tiredness off.

Exercise in 3 easy steps:

1.Say the word FOCUSED out loud. Key is to say it out loud.

2.Now mentally remember your intent – the purpose of the project you want to focus on, its importance.

3.Close your eyes and let them rest for 15 seconds. Don’t count seconds, just rest.  Then open your eyes, notice that you are refreshed and refocused.

For better deeper results, repeat three times.

Seriously. Put everything aside now and experience the efficacy of this 30 seconds exercise.

This exercise will bring a new meaning to the word focus, as you will begin to feel sharp, like a cougar, going after its prey. And as a result will begin to make better decisions because you can achieve anything you want when you focus your mind.

Morrin Bass is a mentor to those who want success. Let me know what you have learned about yourself doing this exercise by posting a comment.Enter your questions and comments below for further discussion.

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