‘One thing at a time: it’s important that we focus on the task that is at present in hand’ – John Hughes
Focus as a verb according to the Longman Dictionary means to give special attention to one particular person or thing. That is to say that to focus means to direct time attention and other resources to a limited number of issues at the detriment of others at a time. This is also termed as Selective Attention. From the above, it can be said that focus as a verb and Selective Attention are synonymous in this context and thus they would be used interchangeably to refer to one thing in this write up.
In order to focus on one thing at a time, you need to concentrate all your attention, energy and resources at one thing at a time. Yes, you heard it right. I said put all your eggs in one basket. Someone might ask….eerrrhhhmmmm….. Is that not too risky? I say that living in itself is a risk one must take. Can we live an impactful life without taking risks? The stories behind our role models and those personalities we admire is that, most of them had a focus, they knew what they wanted to be, had an insight on what they were supposed to do and they gave it their all. The perfect picture you see today has a story behind it and the story is, the photographer focused on one angle and the result is that spectacular piece you are holding. The photographer was selective with his attention and his results was that catchy piece you never grow tired of appreciating. This can be done by you. If you focus your energy, attention and resources on one thing at a time, your results too would be appreciated by others. Don’t divide your attention between two or more issues if you know you can not handle it. According to research, selective attention, which is the ability to select from many factors or stimuli and focus on one while filtering out distractions provides effective and efficient results than divided attention which is the ability to process more than one reactions to two or more demands simultaneously.Let’s use this scenario. You have one seedling and your friend has three seedlings. The two of you have equal quantity and quality of resources at your disposal. Whose seedling (s) would blossom quickly?
However, being selective with your attention does not necessarily guarantee success. Before zeroing down on one thing as your focal point, you need to have an in-depth insight on the chosen profession or business be it positive or negative. You would have to consider the resources at your disposal and the resources your endeavor would require to at least start up and maintain it. You should also look at the number of sacrifices you would have to make and consider if you are capable of doing so with your abilities, capabilities, personality and temperament in mind.At the end of this self analysis if you are convinced and confident that you can make your vision a reality, then go for it and never let your mind wander or waver and your result would be like that captivating picture to others and to yourself. People might criticise you and wonder where your source of motivation is coming from but don’t be bothered because when you are listening to music with a headset or headphone, you are the only person who gets to listen to the music. People might wonder which tune you are dancing to but it would have to be your decision to either let them in or let them continue with their assumptions.
One may ask, is it possible for one to focus on one thing consistently without getting distracted? The answer is simple. As we live, day in day out, we are subjected to distractions but it is up to you to be selective of what you pay attention to. As Russel Revlin rightly said in his text, Cognition :Theory and Practice “In order to maintain our attention to one event in our everyday life, we must filter out other events. We must be selective in our attention by focusing on some events to the detriment of others. That is because attention is a resource there needs to be distributed to those events that are important’.
Success comes with a condition. The condition is that, you do an analysis of yourself with regards to your focus and give it your all. It’s about time we got selective with our focus as focus acts somewhat like a spotlight, highlighting the details and casting irrelevant information to the sidelines.