What are you putting your attention on? That’s your intent.
What would life be without focus? Having a focus enables us to create meaning in our lives, construct success based on achievement of goals, engage in deep personal development, and encourage others by saturating our lives in deliberate thinking and action. The word “focus” means a lot of things to many different people, but in the end, you have to define the word for yourself in order to apply it to your life. Focus can be a concentration of attention and energy, a clarifying perspective, a convergence upon a central point, or a fixed reference point in what would otherwise be described as chaos. It can also take on any meaning that you assign to it.
Reaching a Personal Definition of “Focus”
While it may seem like a simple enough concept, it can be difficult to define a word for yourself. This exercise means taking everything from the dictionary or encyclopedia out of the equation and filling in the blanks with what you think “focus” should mean within the context of your life. What are some words that would be grouped next to “focus” if you were to organize the terms of your life categorically? Would you include “goals,” “principles,” “guidance,” “compass,” or “purpose”? Writing down anything that you might associate with “focus” can help you on your way toward drafting a working definition. Next, you can move on to considering what focus brings to your life. Once you’ve figured out the mechanism of focus, you can better define it in terms of its applications to your individual life. Ask yourself why you need focus, how your life might look without it, and what the key benefits might be. Use the answers to these questions to fill out your definition of “focus.”
Making Your Choices
The next task to complete on your journey to finding your life’s focus is to choose a single point that addresses the physical, mental, and spiritual foci of your life. This is moving beyond a focus that dictates your life’s work – this is finding a focus to guide you daily, minute by minute, by motivating you to be the best person you can be. So define that person. In your ideal incarnation, what would you be like? Describe your physical, mental, and spiritual attributes and use these to guide your choice of focus. For example, your focus might be on becoming a contextually aware teacher and learner, in touch with your body and consistently seeking wellness. Your focus can be short or long, comprehensive or simple, but it should reflect the person you’ve always wanted to be.
Staying On Track
Maintaining physical, mental and spiritual health will help you to keep your focus, and vice versa. You can’t keep your life focused without giving your mind, body, and spirit the attention they need to grow stronger. Committing yourself to a healthy diet, an exercise regimen, meditation, and frequent learning opportunities will help you keep your focus, no matter what it might be. You can also write or print your life focus in several places around your home, at work, and even in your car. Memorizing it is a great way to keep it immediately applicable to your life, and you might even carry an object with you that represents your focus. Just let your focus speak to you, and you’ll find it in your everyday life.
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching areas of online degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.(Bold, italicized text is input from One World class participants. Thank you!)