What is focus?
We can think of focus as a tool that helps us accomplish an outcome. Similar to a lens we would put on a camera, the focus tool comes in different varieties for different purposes.
Or we can consider focus as a magnifier for wherever we direct it. Focus can be a function of our nervous system.
We can also think of focus as a muscle that directs our attention.
Focus as a Muscle
Just as with focus as a tool, considering focus as a muscle gets us out of the “lack” mindset regarding focus. If we have focus, our opportunity is to build our focus capacity by improving the strength and endurance of our focus.
The question is: if focus is a muscle, how are you training it for strength and endurance?
There are lots of things we can do to build strength and endurance in our focus muscle, including physical exercise, meditation, and games.
Whatever path you choose, what’s your actual training plan?
The idea that we can go from distracted to focused overnight if we simply have a strong enough motivation or exert enough willpower sets us up for disappointment.
If you’ve ever tried to boost your focus by “focusing harder,” you know it doesn’t work.
Building strength in any muscle takes repetitive practice, consistently and persistently over time.
Most physical training plans incorporate brief rest periods between sets. Without those short breaks during a training session we will overtax the muscles and they won’t grow. In fact, we’re more likely to develop injuries.
You wouldn’t expect to pick up a heavy weight and maintain a flexed bicep curl all day.
So why do you expect your brain to be any different?
Pushing ourselves to maintain a strict focus for an entire day without rest is a recipe for burnout.
Like with all muscles, strength is built in the rest period.
When it comes to building strength and endurance in our focus, regardless of the method we choose, what’s most crucial is that we embrace our unfocused periods.