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Developing Focus

Updated on May 22, 2015

We are all trapped, locked into a world that always changes, and it feels like we have no control over what these changes may be. People who have submitted to this never ending happening call these changes destiny, and they teach you that your destiny is personal and set in stone. All that you would wish yourself to become, all your hopes and fears are not in your control, they are results of a dice throw. We are taught to accept our fates and in this acceptance we will become satisfied and no longer expend needless energy fighting a losing battle, like waves fighting against a tide. This acceptance will bring us freedom, freedom from suffering and pain.

But I am a rebel to this idea, see I think we are all trapped by a phenomenon called time. Time always affects us, and it is relentless, like an ocean it gradually shapes us into what we are and often into things we never thought we may become. But time is not some evil force, it simply happens and there is nothing we can do about it, we cannot stop time.

But do we have control over what it produces?

When a farmer plants a seed he has two options, he can forget about it and hope that his seed was strong enough to grow into a mighty plant: he can have faith in the seeds destiny. Or the farmer can devote effort to the seed and dig out all the seeds competition and feed it nutrients at the best times of the year in order to see the seed realize it's maximum potential, here the farmer cultivates the seeds potential.

He cultivates the seeds potential by concentrating over a long period of time on getting the best out of the seed, essentially this changes the seeds destiny. Where most seeds would have been out competed by invasive plants, this seed thrives and produces many fruits for the farmer.

You are a seed.

You began life as even smaller than a seed, and you have been growing and changing everyday since. You have been watered by many farmers such as your parents, your teachers and the many great minds of the culture you grew up in.

But there comes a time when you have to take responsibility for your own destiny.

This is true adulthood, when you start cultivating your own life, and to do this requires that you learn the most important skill that anyone can learn: Focus.

Focus is the ability to hold your mind on one thing over a period of time. This is the most subtle and empowering skill in existence, if you can concentrate long enough on a goal, eventually you will reach it.

But immediately you notice that our minds to not act like that. Our minds jump, scatter and follow the winds of the world. In a single morning you may think one thousand different thoughts: dividing your attention one thousand times. This is dissolving your focus and diluting its potency, imagine how much more powerful your attention would be if all you thought about in the morning was one thing. Imagine if your mind concentrated on one task for an entire day, it would become like a laser beam, any obstacle would not stand a chance. Imagine if you could train your mind to focus like this for an entire month, an entire year? an entire life?

Think of the thousands of excuses and problems that would have confronted the men in NASA during the 20th century, had they lacked the focus of getting the job done, of beating any obstacle they simply would not have gotten the job done or conquered any obstacle.

It was never mans destiny to fly into space in a metal box.

Here I present the ultimate manifesto: Learn to develop your willpower, focus or concentration (they are all the same thing) and you will change your life, no: you will change your destiny.

Still focus must seem like a mystical skill, available only to very few elites. This is the greatest lie of all time, the very fact that you exist is evidence of your ability to focus. Infact focus is the great resource of civilisation. Every television advertisement is an attempt to grab a portion of your focus, every salesman is trying to get you to focus on buying their product: Your employer is not employing you because they think you're good fun to have lunch with, they're employing you so you will focus on a task that they do not want to focus on.

This frees him up to focus on other arguably better tasks: this frees up his time.

Now if you dive deep into the skill of focus, you will soon learn that time itself is relative, in fact the harder you focus on something the more detached you become from the passing of time. The more unfocused you become the more you notice the ticking clock, the more anxious you become of the passing hours: you begin to feel your destiny creeping up on you.

How then can we use this skill to change our destiny? This is simple.

First you must develop your focus like a muscle, there are of course thousands of ways to do this, but I use good old fashioned meditation. Meditation is the practice of sitting still and concentration all over your attention on a single thought, usually the process of breathing in and out.

Sounds easy? Try it.

Your mind will invade you with the most absurd amount of thoughts and mini memory movies, reminders of shopping lists and desires left unfulfilled. This is normal, the act of returning your focus back to your breath is like lifting a weight in the weights room, the focus muscle gets stronger with each repetition.

You will begin by getting frustrated after 5 minutes of trying this to in time being able to continually bring your mind back to your breath for 30 minutes.

Once this skill is developed to a consistent capacity then you begin using it.

Here I encourage you to get creative, for this simple act of learning about your focus is the incredible power of reclaiming your mind, in this moment you realize that you are in control of what you concentrate on. So choose! Choose to learn to paint, choose to talk to that girl you always have been avoiding because you like her, choose to set up you new business and decide to make it a success because you will now focus on it.

From here your destiny is no longer abstract and out of your control, you now have your say in the matter, you now have a hand in the happenings of your life. All I can say to you is welcome to the otherside, and please make the most of your new found power.

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