100% Focus Is the Best Skill You Can Have

"Now. Right now. When was the last time you were there? When was the last time you weren’t busy remembering the past or mentally projecting yourself into the future?”


The above words are from my friend Jim George, author of Time to Make It Stop: the How of Now.


Jim's point is that most people are too busy getting stuck in the past or imagining the future to deliver 100% focus. As a result, they apply only a small fraction of their skills to any challenge or opportunity.


Is this true of you?


Most of the sports I like—skiing and mountain biking, to name two—require you to be 100% focused.


It is virtually impossible to think about anything while skiing straight through a mogul field on a steep slope. Sometimes at the end of a run, I almost have to remind myself to breathe.


These “flow” experiences are so remarkable in part because they are so rare. Most of us find it difficult to fully immerse ourselves in what’s happening right now. As a result, we don’t hear what others try to tell us. We miss some obvious opportunities and fall into some obvious traps.


It’s pretty easy to recognize this behavior in other people, like when you tell your boss why you need another week to complete a project, and then you explain all the steps you still need to do, and he responds by saying, “So how much more time do you need?”


You may be frustrated when others start talking while you are in the middle of a sentence, or when you notice that the other person is texting while you are talking. Unfortunately, it is very hard to understand all the ways in which you personally are obsessed with the past and future.


Most people think that they are great at multitasking, that they can do two things at once, that they hear every detail. This is not true.


Just to be clear, I’m not saying that it’s bad to plan ahead. You ought to set aside time for planning. It is bad to think about the future when you should be focused on the present.


Think of your cute little niece proudly showing you how she can skip, while you are worried about whether you can make the 7:15 pm train back into the city and meet your friend for drinks. Do you really want to be the glassy-eyed adult who nods absent-mindedly at this child?


Great athletes, performers, teachers and leaders know how to be 100% focused. I used to attend yoga classes, and out of the dozen or so instructors I’ve had, a woman named Megan stands out.


Megan notices everything and remembers. She’s not necessarily better at poses than her colleagues, but she is far better at noticing if you are doing a pose wrong, or if someone is struggling more than normal.


I'd like to suggest that you aim for this sort of intense, 100% focus. Anything else delivers a pale shadow of what you are capable of achieving.

(This blog was first published on LinkedIn. It has been re-posted here with prior permission from Bruce Kasanoff.)

(Image Courtesy: Pixabay.com)

Categories: Leadership

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Bruce Kasanoff

Bruce Kasanoff helps companies empower and inspire their employees. He brings relentlessly positive messages of personal empowerment, flexibility and clarity. ...

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