Focusing on Focus

Tausha Cowan

Focus. In my opinion, so much easier said than done. In fact, it is truly an art, one worthy of mastering.

Over the last few weeks, I have become increasingly confronted with the importance of focus. Not just focusing on the tasks that need to be done in the office or at home but also focusing on those larger, somewhat intimidating things like life, career and personal and professional relationships.

Like many young people I know, I have goals (yes, I did put “young people,” aka Millennials, and “goals” in the same sentence, unironically). The thing with having goals, though, is that you usually need to be focused in order to accomplish these goals. Sometimes there are small ones that are pretty straightforward and don’t require that much effort, but of course there are the larger goals that require specificity, decision making and focus.

An example: I recently attended a workshop put on by the people behind Live in the Grey, a start-up that emphasizes blurring work and play so that you are living in the grey. Their philosophy is great and, I imagine, speaks to many Milliennials or those with a Millennial mindset. My biggest takeaway from their workshop —which was focused on ways to expand your box in either your current job or overall career — was the need for focus. They termed it differently, utilizing the S.M.A.R.T. mnemonic (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound), but what it all came down to is being focused, and once you are, you can start to map out your steps.

So what is the point of my rambling about focus? This idea of focus in order to reach a goal is nothing new. People have been doing it for years; I have even been able to accomplish this on occasion. However, in a culture that caters to the hyper-connected and allows people to be sitting across from one another while they both interact on their phones, it is apparent that focus is becoming harder to do these days. And if we cannot master focusing on the little things, how do we focus on those bigger goals in life?

For me, this question is a challenge, one that, as I mentioned earlier, has been thrust upon me increasingly. So I either decide to ignore the challenge and get lost in the shuffle or I work hard to focus.

And on that note, I am going to indulge my Millennial self some more and pull out a quote that sums up this whole focus thing really well (us Millennials are all about the quotes, usually with some sort of imagery behind it but for today, I’ll just use text):

“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” -Tony Robbins