“There are two kinds of people in the world – those who walk into a room and say ‘Here I am’ and those who say ‘There you are.'” ~ Abigail Van Buren
Looking east this evening at the sunset’s reflection on the Sandia (‘watermelon’ in Spanish) Mountains, I was reminded of the elusive green flash. Green flashes are optical phenomena that sometimes occur right after sunset or right before sunrise. The green appearance usually lasts for no more than a second or two. They were first observed and photographed in 1960.
I say ‘elusive’ because I have witnessed countless sunsets from mountain tops, Key West, and San Diego beaches where I focused on glimpsing a green flash. And once, it presented.
That flash would have been missed had I not been focused; had I not been concentrating on it, exclusively. Yet focusing can be challenging for many people.
Every minute of every day, thoughts, desires and sensory experiences stream through our minds. Each wants our attention making it near impossible to focus. Our minds (well, at least mine) tend to drift to other matters when we try to focus on one thought, subject or activity. Truth?
In the last 10+ years there has been an unconscious shift from encouraging focus to belittling it. And it often happens without us noticing. As soon as multitasking became the rage, focus was quietly relegated to a space of lesser importance.
I consider focus and concentration, interchangeable. What is interesting (as well as encouraging) is that researchers have found that concentration is driven by interest, and interest is driven by attitude. If your attitude towards a specific person or project swells with interest, intrigue and passion, concentration becomes profoundly easy.
Lack of focus is a common killer of making things happen. If you want to realize a dream, accomplish a goal or deepen a personal connection, pay attention to your attention. Stop yourself from getting on a wrong train of thought early – before it leaves the station.
We get so busy with our ‘stuff’ that it’s easy to forget others’ needs and our affect on them. If it’s significant to you, consider the value in focusing on the importance of caring and compassion for others, of seeing through their eyes. Be mindful of distractions, the frequency with which they interfere and the impact they have on your focus. Distractions can be stealth-like stealers.
If you want to manage what you focus on, these three actions might be helpful:
- Plan some joy!
- Take a break. Boredom and distractions invite procrastination. Find a comfortable balance between the activity at hand and the level of focus it truly requires.
- Consider less multitasking. The truth is you cannot see that green flash (or whatever you have your sights on) when you are doing multiple things at once.