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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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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

    Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

    Can I Be Creative?

    The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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    How Creativity Works

    Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

    What Really Is Creativity?

    Creativity Needs an Intention

    Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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    Creativity Is a Skill

    At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

    Start Connecting the Dots

    Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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