Give Me The Fish (GMTF): Focus is a habit. It’s what makes your life worth living, it’s what determines if something is worth doing or not and if you will get anything out of it. Whether you are training or attending a conference, if you want to make yourself better and live a better life learn to focus on the task at hand and learn to care about what is going on around you. Break your lack of focus.
As these words of Les Brown hit me I realize that once again I’m starting to slack off.
It’s not the pain, it’s not my ability, and it’s not the fact that it’s pitch black out and I can’t see where I’m running.
It’s a lack of focus.
As I feel the pain in my legs as I race up the hillside, my brain is somehow finding a way to focus on anything else but this. Who knows, maybe it’s a survival instinct. Or, maybe it’s my brain falling into the equivalent of highway hypnosis. Either way, it’s the “enemy within” that’s stopping me from being better. The lack of focus.
Despite over a decade of training, in both professional and personal settings, the hardest part has always been focusing.
If there is anything I’ve learned, it’s that training doesn’t do anything if you are just going through the motions.
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We All Have Excuses
I’m in the middle of my Tuesday night running workout, it’s 10 p.m., and I’m on my third one-mile repeat.
In total, the workout consists of five, one-mile repeats that are done as fast as I can with a half-mile jog to rest.
This workout sucks for several reasons. It sucks because of one-mile repeats. And, it sucks because it’s on the side of a mountain, so, it’s a half-mile down and a half-mile up.
But the part that sucks the most is the downhill. It’s not very steep, but, it’s long and gradual and makes it easy to coast.
And like we talked about in Embrace Pain. The body always tries to take the easy route.
It’s easy to say, “Take it easy, I still have a half-mile to go”, or “I’ll save up my energy for the uphill”. Or even worse, to start thinking about the outside world.
The second I let my brain go slack, these thoughts start to bubble up a lack of focus takes hold.
These are the kind of excuses that stop you from achieving your full potential.
Today, Les Brown blasts through my headphones, reminding me that a lack of focus is a disease.
I’m brought back to reality, and I put on a new burst of speed to make up for my laziness.
Lack of Focus Is The Enemy
Regardless of how long you’ve been training for, there are good days, there are bad days, and there are the worst days. I consider the worst days, the days when you end up just going through the motions.
The worst days are days that you let time slip by. Because, the truth is, going through the motions doesn’t cut it and doesn’t get you anywhere.
What they told you in high school about “showing up is half the battle”, it’s a lie.
It might be enough for corporate America. It might be enough at some humdrum job. But, if you actually want to accomplish something and make your life worth living, going through the motions is not enough.
This is no different in life as it is in the gym or on the trails.
If you want to not just succeed, but to excel, you need to snap yourself back into focus. Find something that triggers you to step up and into high gear. A reminder of the drive that made you want to be where you are in the first place.
For me, sometimes it’s remembering where I want to be, and sometimes it’s listening to Les Brown.
I’ve been listening to Les Brown for close to a decade now. He has gotten me through many tough workouts. It might be cheesy, but it works.
Well, that and crappy 90s rock.
But today, as I finished the workout, I hear “You cannot waste another second in the day” just as my headphones turn off.
It made me think about how much this applies to life outside of grueling workouts.
And, I don’t mean the failure of a New Year’s resolutions.
I mean, about how you live your life. Whether you work behind a desk, at a construction site, or behind the counter at the deli, your life will be better if you focus on the task at hand
Life is what you make it, and you can make your life better by just caring about the life you have.
I am all for making your life better (hell, I have an entire blog about it). But, in between making those drastic life-altering changes, there are a lot of more boring things that you have to do. By refusing to waste more time and focusing on the task at hand, you can make even these boring parts of your life worth living.
What makes your life boring and makes your life average is a lack of focus. It’s a lack of determination. But, when you care to make a difference at both the big things and the little, your life becomes a whole lot better.
Focus Is A Habit
Success does not come from routine. It comes from growth and growth is only made when you make a concerted effort to be better.
Everything in life becomes a habit. If you decide to care more and focus on succeeding and doing better regardless of the task at hand, it will spill over into the rest of your life.
And if it’s one of those “worst days”, where you just want to make it through, it’s that point that we need a little bit of Les Brown. So he can remind us to stop lacking focus and to tell us that there is no another time but now to make a difference and be better to do better.
The time to act, the time to speak up, and the time to perform is now. Break your lack of focus.