Focus Misconceptions

June 23, 2021 • Awareness & the Mind

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There are so many misconceptions surrounding focus. These misconceptions often lead people to have a very skewed or misinformed perspective on focus thus shunning it as a possible quality to cultivate in life. I’ll pick a couple of them and hope to dispel these misconceptions here.

Firstly, one of the biggest misconceptions of focus is that focus means an absence of joy. People think that if you are in a state of focus all of the time you cannot be enjoying life. Why? Because we’ve all seen a video or more of a person running carefree through the forest or on a beach, arms stretched out to the side embracing the wind blowing through her and on her face. She definitely looks like she is not concentrating. When you see this video you think to yourself, “She’s free. That’s what I want. I don’t want to be so focused that I can’t enjoy life.” 

Focus for most people is an image or a video of someone concentrating on reading a book or a tennis player focused on waiting for his opponent to serve the ball to him. Eyes locked in on the subject of focus. An absorbed and highly attentive look across the face with the forehead slightly cringed. Yes, what I describe here are states of focus but they would probably be better defined as deeper states of focus. 

Focus simply defined is the ability to stay engaged with who or what you are with in unbroken continuity. 

People misunderstand focus because they don’t understand what focus is. For most people focus is the image of a person with an “absorbed look and cringed forehead”. The reason for this is that for most people who can’t focus it requires a tremendous amount of effort to focus. And this effort often results in a strained look on the face. This does not look joyous, easy or relaxing.

When you are an expert at distraction, when your subconscious is built on patterns of distractions, trying to focus requires a lot of effort and energy, and can be a strain and exhausting. But when you have trained yourself to be in a state of focus then focusing is not a strain nor is it exhausting. Focusing comes naturally. Your subconscious mind has patterns of focus instead of distraction. Your default state becomes a state of focus. 

Another common misconception is that if I am focused it means I am not relaxing. Yes, this is true when you are not able to focus. When you are not able to focus it takes a lot of effort to focus and this act is not relaxing indeed. Hence why so many people think that focusing is exhausting and not relaxing because all these people can’t focus.

The contrary is also true. Meaning, for a person who is focused who spends time with someone who is constantly distracted this is very exhausting. This is because the person who is focused, for example in order to stay in a conversation with the distracted person, has to now allow himself to jump from one topic to another. This process becomes, very quickly, exhausting. 

It’s exhausting and at times frustrating for me to spend time with someone who is distracted. Watching their awareness bounce around the mind like a pinball means my awareness is following their awareness and this is exhausting. To overcome this, I must withdraw my awareness from them, hold it centered within me and simply observe their awareness going all over place. 

The bottom line is that focus does not mean an absence of joy. In fact, it is the contrary. The state of focus results in greater joy because you are able to better experience the things and people that you love. 

When you have trained yourself to focus it requires very little effort to focus. There is no highly absorbed or strained look on your face nor a cringed forehead. You are able to keep your awareness anchored in what or whom you are engaged with. The resulting effect is that you are able to be present in all of your life experiences. 

That is living a full life!

Learn to Focus! Explore our Unwavering Focus course.

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