Focus is a choice.
The runner who is concentrating on how much his left toe hurts will be left in the dust by the runner who is focusing on winning.
Even if the winner's toe hurts just as much.
Hurt, of course, is a matter of perception. Most of what we think about is.
We have a choice about where to aim the lens of our attention. We can relive past injustices, settle old grudges and nurse festering sores. We can imagine failure, build up its potential for destruction, calculate its odds. Or, we can imagine the generous outcomes we're working on, feel gratitude for those that got us here and revel in the possibilities of what's next.
The focus that comes automatically, our instinctual or cultural choice, that focus isn't the only one that's available. Of course, it's difficult to change it, which is why so few people manage to do so. But there's no work that pays off better in the long run.
When things are becoming monotonous, or you just can't stand 'it' anymore, what you might need is to change the way you're looking at things and doing them and maybe even switch things up entirely.
- Step away from the issue(s). Determine what your focus actually is. Maybe sit down with a piece of paper and pen (the tactile involvement helps) and write it out. Try out 'mind-mapping'. Some things to help you determine your focus include:
- Asking yourself what your major concern in your life is right now.
- Looking at your life and figuring out what isn't going right.
- Thinking about what is making you unhappy at the moment.
- Alternatively, flip this analysis around:
- What's working for you right now?
- What is going 'right'?
- What makes you happy?
- Avoid asking yourself disempowering questions. These are the types of questions with no real answers, that place you as a victim. While you may be a victim of a particular situation or circumstances beyond your control, it isn't helping anything looking at things in a way that prevents you from rearranging the challenges and choosing to change your life's path. Whatever the truth may be, there is nothing to be gained by dwelling on it. Some examples of questions that tend to disempower and keep you stuck include:
- Why me?
- Why can't I catch a break?
- It's all the government or my neighbor's or my family's fault.
- Empower yourself with the right questions. Ask yourself what is good about what is happening. For example:
- What can I do to affect the outcome of events?
- What is the good that is coming out of this turn of events?
- How can I take the things that are promising amid the hardship and run with those instead?
- Do something else for a while, even if you have to force yourself to do it. Distracting yourself through concentration on an unrelated task or activity will help you with stepping away from the issue at hand. You might also find another skill you weren't aware of or a skill you hadn't yet improved.
- Try doing something simple. Simplicity can ground you and bring you right back to a sense of who you are and where you're headed. It will also help to clarify what seems complex and put it in a simpler context. Try this exercise to reach a sense of simplification:
- Look around the room and look for everything red, or round or whatever. It doesn't really matter. You are trying to distract your mind and give it something else to focus on. Do this for a few minutes.
- Try to remember all of the brown items or the square ones. Choose something that you weren't actively looking for.