Find Your Focus
The Storm of the Mind
Your mind is in constant flux. It incessantly barrages you with images, thoughts, ideas, smells, tastes, wants, and needs. In addition to this, you are constantly being bombarded from outside. Before modernization, this was alright - a tree can be very calming. In modern times, however, this means constant, incessant images, sounds, smells, and dangers.
Advertising is everywhere, and increases your stress level to no end. You can't just simply look at a beautifully blank surface somewhere and relax the brain. In the own home, 'decoration' takes the place of advertising, constantly intruding on true mindfulness. You always have something else to look at, something else to think about, something else to fear.
Two Paths - One Goal.
There are really only two ways to fight off this constant influx, and both involve some measure of calming the mind. I've decided not to include "change the environment" because this is simply impractical for most of us.
The First Method: Meditation.
The first method of dealing with this constant influx is simply to meditate at regular intervals. You'll be able to focus more effectively, and ignore outside distractions - after all, this is what the main impediments to effective meditation are. If you meditate on a regular basis, you'll find that it's just like physical practice: you'll get better at 'blocking' out or ignoring the inconsequential, and you'll be better able to focus on the important.
Of course, this method takes some time, and is not really a 'quick fix', which is what society seems to crave.
The Second Method: Mind Stop / Mind Flush.
A warning: this method can be dangerous if used in the wrong place (for instance, in the middle of a street), as it will cause momentary disorientation and disassociation. However, if used correctly, it can become an extremely good way to clear your mind
This method simply involves listening to your own thoughts as an outside observer. I say simply, because it takes a much shorter time to get the hang of this than it does to even begin to be able to effectively meditate. In fact, this can be used to start off a meditation effectively as well.
Your thoughts are shy things - they are furitive, creeping into your mind. They are not evil, but they don't bear observation, because they are in a protected place. If you focus on a thought, and listen to it as you would to another person, you will discover that that thought simply stumbles or fades to a halt. All the other thoughts disappear quite quickly as well, leaving your mind blissfully clear.
It takes a try or two to get the knack; once you have it, it's hard to stop. It's a great way to tune out the outside world for a little while (usually a minute or two) without having to introduce some other chaotic factor (such as music) into the bargain. Or rather, you're tuning in to yourself, and away from the outside world.
So What's the Point?
If you enter a difficult situation, such as a job interview, with a storm in your mind, you're essentially dooming yourself to failure. You'll be unsure, confused, and terrified of failure. You aren't in a position of power - no matter how well you've prepared - because you simply can't be. You need the job. Your sentences will flow together, all of those points you thought of so painstakingly will simply vanish in a puff of smoke.
Or, you can simply listen to your thoughts and your fears for a few minutes before the interview, and walk in there with clear psycho-skies. You're centered and calm, and you'll only impress with your lack of nervousness.
Of course, that's only an example (relevant to me - maybe not to you). This can be applied all walks of life, in most any situation. After all, keeping a clear head is probably the most important thing in today's world, and we are rapidly forgetting how to do so...