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100 Ways To Live A Better Life – 18. Train Your Focus


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Your focus is in fact your reality. Use it wisely. Train it constantly for it will enhance your reality in ways you never imagined. Keep your focus sharp as a razor blade and be prepared to experience life in fantastic shapes and colors.

Let’s make this little exercise: take your eyes out of this blog post and look at the wall in front of you. Now, which is part of your reality? The screen on which you read this, or your wall? You may think it’s the screen, but it isn’t: since your focus changed, all you have in your reality now is the wall in front of you.

It’s the same in all areas of your life. If you focus on your problems, even if you think you have their solution, you will just make them grow. It’s like looking at the wall while ignoring what you have in your hands. The problems will become more real than their solutions.

Your focus is creating your reality: whatever you focus on it will grow. 

3 Proven Ways To Train Your Focus

The good news is that focus, like any other human ability, can be trained. The bad news is that there are millions of ways to do this, and you won’t know which works best for you, until you try it out.

What follows is my own personal experience with this. These are my main 3 ways of training my focus.

Meditate

Contrarily to popular opinion, meditation is not about emptying your mind. It’s about training it, taming it, making it follow you, not some random thoughts.

Mind is a wonderful tool. But a very peculiar tool also. As opposed to a hammer, for instance (which is also a good tool) the mind has this tendency of substituting itself to… well, you.

Sometimes, our mind just takes over. Its frozen structures are triggered by outside events and, instead of answering to these stimuli with presence, we just go by auto-pilot. We answer by reflex, not by judging in the context. And, by doing this, most of the time we screw up.

Out mind can ease our ways in this world significantly, but, left out of control, it can also ruin our lives.

And here, meditation can be very helpful. It’s true that a part of meditation implies emptying your mind, but, as a whole, meditation doesn’t mean you just space out, mumbling mantras and doing nothing. On the contrary. You become sharper, more relaxed, clearer.

Even 15 minutes per day spent meditating can help you improve your focus tremendously.

Run

I only recently started to run (and by that, I mean long distance running). This year I finished 2 semi-marathons, 1 marathon and 1 ultra-marathon. I’m not even remotely close to the performance of the people that I look up to when it comes to running, but I am very happy  I can do even that.

One of the benefits of running is focus training. If you train consciously, you have to be very careful, to watch a lot of data, so to speak.

First, there is your body, and the signals it sends you: breathe, muscle pain (or relaxation), under or over-hydration symptoms and so on. Second, it’s the training data: your current pace, the distance you ran so far, your heart rate and so on and so forth. And third, it’s the surroundings. I run outside and I am fortunate to witness beautiful sceneries, being them in the park, or on the streets (I run very early in the morning, and there is a certain “je ne sais quoi” about the morning light in a bug city). So, in order to make some sense out of this data, your mind should be razor sharp. Very present, at least.

Needless to say that my focus improved significantly since I started to run.

Tango

Last, but not least, let’s talk abut tango. Don’t be mislead. It’s not just a dance. It’s way, way more than that.

In tango, you send the intention to your partner not by hand, but by chest movements. You lead with your chest. As a follower, you receive information from the other partner at the same level. So, there is a very specific need to stay present, to feel, to focus. To understand what the other “says” to you, with very, very subtle movements.

If you’re a follower (in tango, the man is considered “the leader” and the woman is considered “the follower” but the relationship between them during the dance is way more complex than that), so, if you’re a follower, tango is somehow simpler for you. But if you’re a leader, and I’m a leader, you have a lot of stuff to think about while you’re dancing.

You have to think what steps are you going to improvise next (social tango, the one that I dance and teach, is about connection and improvisation, not about choreography, so you constantly have to improvise), how not to step on somebody else’s toes, how you’re going to dance the music and also what to do if the follower doens’t understand your intention. It’s your responsibility to keep the flow going on. If the follower stumbles, it’s your fault, not her.

It is said that in argentine tango a leader must always have the dance in his head at least 3 steps ahead. It’s like drawing each step of your dance, in advance, for each and every step.

Believe me, that is a very powerful tool for training your focus.

further reading

How To Train Your Focus

The Story Of My First Ultra-Marathon

10 Tango Lessons



Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

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