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Column: Find your focus with these 5 tips

Many of us find it hard to focus, blaming the distractions we have on our modern working lives – but how can we achieve clear thinking?

Valerie Pierce

MANY OF US will admit we find it hard to focus, blaming many of the distractions we have on our modern, multi-tasking, working life. We blame the many emails, phone calls and meetings that we have to contend with during our normal working day. We say that many of these physical distractions are the reason why we cannot get the important things done more efficiently.

I want to challenge this outward blame culture and to find the answer to clear focus by building up our innate clear thinking skills. Here are five easy, thoughtful actions to ensure success.

1. Check your attitude

It is incredible how our focus follows our desires.

To illustrate this, notice how easy it is to think of lots of ways and new ideas to achieve a goal when you really want it. Conversely, if you do not want to achieve a goal, notice how you focus on all of the reasons why it is not a good idea to forge ahead.

To attain clear focus, try to be honest about your desire to achieve a particular goal. Do you really want it? This may save you a lot of time at the very beginning or your pursuits.

2. Have a clear purpose

To achieve our goals we must be specific. The reason for this is that it is impossible to think towards a moving target. If we keep changing our goal, then we are also demanding of our brain to continually change its focus and so can lose our direction. To keep your focus, sit down for five minutes and write down, as clearly as you can, what you want to achieve.

3. Use your passion to control your emotions

There is a simple reason why this is so: as you strive for your goal, your passion overcomes problems as it focuses on the pleasure of achieving the perfect goal.

Your emotions, however, can be overwhelmed by problems as they feel the pain to the ego of a potential loss of the goal. To keep your focus, clearly look ahead to achieve what you want, use your passion to control your emotions.

4. Use your negative thinking to produce positive action

One of the most valuable assets we have is our negative thinking – for far from negative thinking leading to negativity, negative thinking is the stimulus that can free our imagination to achieve exactly what we want…

Using the phrase ‘Why not = How to’ you can stimulate your imagination to focus on how to achieve your goal. For if you look at all the reasons why you cannot do something, you will notice that you have a ‘how to’ plan to do it. And in overcoming each of the obstacles, you are getting closer to your goal.

So remember, your negative thinking is the intelligence that allows you to focus on achieving your goals if you can use it in a positive way.

5. Use cool logic in hot situations to reach your goal

This last skill is most important to retaining focus, for so many of us can begin with clear focus on our goals, but then be diverted by ourselves or others to lose that clear direction.
The golden mantra to retain clear direction to achieve what you want is to ‘focus on the issue, not the egos’.

What this means is that in every conversation, either within yourself or with others, make sure that you are concentrating on the issue you are trying to achieve, only. Do not let the conversation focus on the egos involved. For example, if you find your focus is more on your ability or the ability of others to achieve your project or goal, you may find yourselves becoming defensive and egos becoming more important than the issue at hand.

Using ‘Cool Logic in Hot Situations’ means that you direct all conversations towards progressing the goal you want to reach in an objective and purposeful way.

These are just some short explanations of how to gain and retain clear focus. I hope you have enjoyed reading this topic and that being aware of these five simple steps will give you the confidence to achieve what you want.

Valerie Pierce is the author of the book ‘FOCUS: The Art of Clear Thinking’ (2014, Mercier Press) Website: clearthinkinginaction.com

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Valerie Pierce

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