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How to Practice the Art of Detached Focus to Achieve Your Goals

How to Practice the Art of Detached Focus to Achieve Your Goals

    Focus: Effort, Attention, concentration, motivation, application, single mindedness emphasis, to name but a few of its synonyms.

    Having the ability to decide at each moment what merits your attention is to me one of the secrets of success. It’s been proven time and again by sports stars and high achievers If there is something you want, fearlessly focusing on it will give you a much higher probability of achieving it.

    Can we focus too much?

    But what happens if we focus too much on our destination, when the object of our focus becomes our waking thoughts, our daily deliberations and our midnight meditations? Can this intense concentration bring us the results that we desire?

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    The answer unfortunately is no, those people who set goals and struggle daily for their goals to manifest generally don’t achieve them, holding on to the goal too tightly will not assist in its acquisition.

    Shooting Arrows

    My husband practices archery, he has thought me the basics of shooting arrows, the stance, the technique, the pulling back but most importantly the letting go. They say the letting go is the most important bit. The energy, the focus and the goal are there but it is in letting go that the arrow reaches its target.

    I heard Deepak Chopra explain the concept of letting go by using the metaphor of a gardener. The gardener plants the seed and gives the seed all it needs to survive but he doesn’t go and dig it up every day to see if it has grown. The gardener is clear about the outcome he desires, he does the work required but then he lets go or detaches himself from the outcome.

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    So the problem is not focusing too much but focusing on the wrong thing.

    Do not focus on the goal

    So the sports star should focus on the daily actions and not on the final outcome, the business person should focus on the individual tasks and not the ultimate objective. When you concentrate on the goal you are holding onto it and holding on does not work with the flow of nature and life. If you focus too intently on the goal you are not truly present, and if you are not present you cannot be open to the possibilities that life may bring.

    If a sales person focuses on finalizing the sale he is not paying attention to the customer and therefore will not serve the customer according to their needs. Therefore we must remember to work with a sense of purpose and awareness of presence, if we work in this manner we will be benefiting from the increase in productivity and efficiency that being focused can bring us, but more importantly we will be moving closer to our desired outcomes in a relaxed, detached and more effective manner.

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    Focus on the path

    And so the secret is to focus intently, but to focus on the path and not on the destination. To do all that is required to make you the best at what you do but not to concentrate on the result. If we can learn to practise and hit the best forehand that we can physically hit, the outcome we want will follow. If we do our jobs with passion and the best of our abilities then the consequences will be positive, and if we intently focus on the perfecting or doing the best possible job, our goals, our dreams and our desires should not delay in following close behind.

    By practicing the art of detached focus, ironic though it may sound we can achieve more by letting go.

     

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    More by this author

    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Published on July 22, 2019

    The Secret to Success Is Failure

    The Secret to Success Is Failure

    You see a job that you’d love to do; and, you decide to go for it.

    You submit your application, and then are pleased to find a few days later that you’re invited for an interview. This goes well, and you begin to have quiet optimism that a job offer will be coming your way soon…

    It doesn’t.

    Instead, you receive a letter saying thank you — but, they’ve decided to go with another candidate.

    At this point, you could allow yourself to feel defeated, sad, and perhaps even a little angry. These are normal responses to bad news. Yet, it’s not wise to let them fester and disrupt your goals. Successful people don’t let failures kill their dreams.

    Sure, they might temporarily feel deflated. But, very quickly, they pick themselves back up again and begin planning their next steps towards success.

    How about you? Do you currently feel embarrassed or guilty about failing?

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    Don’t worry if you do, as most of us have been programmed since childhood to see failure as a bad thing. Yet, as I’m going to show you in the next few minutes, this programming is dead wrong — failure is actually an essential part of success.

    Don’t Be Tempted by Perfection

    The first thing I want you to think about is this:

    Resisting failure is, at its core, seeking perfection. And, perfection doesn’t exist.

    That’s why perfectionists are also likely to be chronic procrastinators.

    As Psychology Today noted in their article Pitfalls of Perfectionism, people who constantly seek for perfection stop themselves from engaging in challenging experiences.[1] That’s because these perfectionists are less creative and innovative than the average person — plus they’re less likely to take risks. Add these factors together, and you have someone who is overly focused on their own performance and is always quick to defend themselves. Unfortunately, these traits prevent them from having the necessary focus when it comes to learning new tasks.

    Let me be clear: Striving for perfection is not the same as striving for excellence.

    The former is a fool’s quest for the unattainable; while the latter is really just about doing our very best (which we can all obtain).

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    And, there’s another problem that perfectionists have to deal with. Namely, when they fail to reach their ideal, they feel dejected and defeated. And — as you can imagine — repeat this often enough, and these people can end up feeling bitter and depressed about their lives.

    So, forget about seeking perfection, and instead, focus on always doing your very best.

    Why Failure Is Good

    I recently came across a Forbes article Failing Your Way To Success: Why Failure Is A Crucial Ingredient For Success[2] that helped explain why most people are opposed to failure.

    The article referenced the work of two world-renowned psychologists (Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky), who were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work. They discovered something very interesting: the effect of a loss is twice as great as the gain from a win.

    Have you ever thought about that before?

    What it means is that failure has a far greater negative impact on us than the positive impact of an equivalent win. It’s no wonder then that most people are afraid to fail.

    And, here’s where it gets interesting…

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    Amazon (which along with Apple, Facebook and Google, is considered one of the Big Four technology companies) has a culture that is tolerant of failure. And Jeff Bezos — Amazon’s founder and CEO — believes that this culture is one of the main reasons for the company’s big achievements over the last 25 years. In a letter to shareholders, he said:

    “Failure comes part and parcel with invention. It’s not optional. We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right.” 

    The truth is, failure can open up a world of exciting opportunities for you.

    How does it do this?

    By constantly showing you new avenues to travel on. And, by helping you learn from your mistakes — so you can be better next time around. It also helps you identify what’s not working for your life, and what is.

    So instead of seeing something as detrimental to success, you should see it as a tool FOR success. A tool that will help you to continually refine your journey in life.

    If you still need some convincing that the secret to success is failure, then take a look at the following excerpts from our article 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On:

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    • J.K. Rowling encountered a catalog of failures shortly after graduating from college, including: being jobless, the breakdown of her marriage, and living as a lone parent. However, instead of giving up on life, she used these failures to propel her to write the Harry Potter fantasy series — the best-selling book series in history.

    • Walt Disney didn’t have an easy start either. He dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt to join the army. Later, one of his early business ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt. He was also fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.” (Yes, you read that correctly.) Was he defeated by these failures? Just ask Mickey Mouse.

    • Michael Jordan had this to say about the power of failure: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

    Embrace Failure, and Prepare for Success

    I hope this has been an eye-opener for you.

    Failure has long been branded a leper; but in reality, it’s a healthy, essential component of success.

    The trick of course is to develop the mindset of a winner. Someone who sees failures as stepping stones to success — and defeats as important learning experiences.

    So, are you ready to embrace your failures and take the proud road to success?

    I sincerely hope so.

    Featured photo credit: Bruce Mars via unsplash.com

    Reference

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