Advice on Focus

If you think you can’t concentrate or focus, you are fooling yourself. You are very focused. The problem is, you aren’t focusing on what you think you should. You aren’t managing to force yourself into a persona you have chosen rationally but are resisting with everything you’ve got. Find out what you are really concentrating on. In all likelihood, it will be some crude form of self-numbing. You are concentrating on it not because you are lazy, unfocused, or defective but because without it your psyche is going to blow. Berating yourself for poor focus is like telling a drowning man that he’s concentrating too hard on staying above water and not focusing as well as he should on learning Japanese.

One exercise is to spend 2 hours a day doing nothing. Really nothing. Not looking at a screen, not working out, not talking, not reading. Stare at the sky (or at a wall), and let your thoughts roam. Eventually, after doing this daily, you’ll re-learn to notice the world around you and will start figuring out what hurts, what soothes, and why.

4 thoughts on “Advice on Focus

  1. I started doing this in my classes (not the doing nothing, but the lack of focus) and eventually realized I just needed to change my major. I’m far, far happier where I am now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. Very often the problem isn’t with you but with the surroundings or the situation you are in. Instead of forcing themselves into something that won’t make them happy, people should consider changing the direction where they are going.

      I had a conversation the other day with a student who had forced himself into a major his family wanted him to do but it was contrary to everything in his nature. Once he figured that out, he was so happy.


  2. ‘spend 2 hours a day doing nothing’

    I guess that’s what the Germans call Müßiggang. I remember from my college reading of Lucinde by Schlegel, that there was an extended discussion on the benefits of letting your mind run idle. If I remember correctly Schlegel thought that it can be a source of creativity. Now I want to reread this crazy little book.

    Liked by 1 person

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