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Skill: To Focus

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Making a change in your life, taking a career move or achieving some difficult goal: it all doesn't happen automatically. People are often hindered by obstructive thoughts, doubts or actual obstacles. These appear to be surmountable if you keep your focus sharp. You thereby increase your chance of success. What is focus and how do you use it?

What is focus?

Focusing actually means ' focusing ' and has everything to do with focusing your attention on something. That means that you focus on something concentrates. The trick is not to get distracted .

People tend to be constantly distracted. Causing?

- By daily worries. 'First I have to clean up my house, the floors need to be topped up and the windows polished, and oh yes, the plumber is coming next week. Well, you know, I'll work through that course material after that time. I'll catch up with the missed hours later. "
- By negative thoughts about themselves. "I can't do it."
- By obstructing thoughts about the environment. 'They only want experienced people at that company. It makes no sense to write a letter of application. "
- Due to disruptive events. "My father is sick, I have to go there every day. I will leave that letter of application. A pity about that nice job, but it is not coming true right now. "
- By external incentives that produce something in the short term. 'Pieter, it's nice that you call. Yes, of course I'm going to that concert tonight. I actually wanted to work on my project, but hey, I'll do that somewhere next week. " Or: 'Pff, I'm tired now. Now just not on the study. I'm going to hang out in front of the TV. A person must also rest? "

What do you think, do you feel satisfied afterwards if you have given in to this kind of thought? No, no! And do they bring you closer to your goal? No, not at all!

Achieving a goal usually also means: bringing about a change. But people do not generally like change. They allow themselves to be kept away from changes by:

- need for certainty. 'Now I know what I have; if I start my own business, I may not have enough income. "
- fear of failure. "If it doesn't work out, I'll be empty-handed and a loser."

Anyone who thinks about changes in this way doesn't focus their attention on the goal, but on the potential obstacles and obstacles along the way. Focus can help to shift your attention from the obstacles to the goal .

Hold focus

You need the following things to maintain your focus:

- Discipline, concentration and focus. These characteristics are the basis for being able to retain focus. With these three qualities you will be able to make the decisions you need to reach your goal and to overcome obstacles.
- Visualize your goal. Whoever literally keeps his goal in mind ('focuses on it'), achieves that goal much easier. It is important to always keep that goal in mind when you make a decision: am I going to watch TV or am I going to study? Shall I still work two hours for the project or take my colleagues to the pub? Will I clean my house or write a letter of application? These questions are easy if you have your goal in mind: a completed study, a successful project or the chance of a new job.
- Patience and dedication. Achieving a goal doesn't happen overnight. You need patience for it. If your goal is reachable in no time, then you have probably set your goal too low and you will not get much satisfaction from it. In addition, dedication (with the associated perseverance ) is needed: half-heartedness doesn't reach your goal. Dedication means taking your goal seriously and always making the right decisions for that purpose.
- A healthy dose of confidence. If you self-confidence have, then you know what you want and you, and you will be able to from your inner self to define it for you right path. You are less likely to fall prey to doubts and you also know how to deal with obstacles.
- Maintaining focus is therefore not automatic: concentrating on something and focusing on it requires a lot of effort. But as athletes know: effort pays. And not only in the long term for achieving your goal. There is a good chance that you will increasingly enjoy the moment itself. That is the principle of flow: those who work on a task that requires effort, but whose goal is achievable, experience extra satisfaction.

The usefulness of focus

The strange thing about focus is that over time it seems as if things 'come naturally' to you and succeed. Suddenly somebody draws your attention to the job that you have been looking for for such a long time, or the right place appears for you to do your graduation research.

Yet that is not so strange: because you are completely focused on your goal, it is also clear to others what you are doing. People will relate you to what you are doing and think of you when an opportunity arises that has to do with your 'subject'. The clearer you are about what you focus on, the more people are implicitly involved in your goal. Use this knowledge and don't forget to make clear in your network where your focus is.

Examples of cases where focus can be useful:

= Career step. Knowing what you want in your career, now and in five years, makes it easier to take the right steps and also make it clear to others what you want. You do not make strange career switches, and writing an application letter will also be easier, because you know more clearly what you want and can do.
- A project. Projects are often characterized by setbacks and obstacles. That is because they are aiming for something new and that can create resistance. The trick is to handle these bumps as well as possible. This is easier if the goal is clear, and the project team and the project manager set to work in a targeted manner and do not get distracted.
- Business day. Everyone knows the feeling of 'working well today'. That nice feeling is usually precisely in focus: you have been able to concentrate on the tasks that you had planned for that day. You have finished what you had planned and you have made the necessary effort for that. The trick is to create these conditions as much as possible for every working day: set yourself achievable goals, work on them with concentration, and not be distracted by anything and everything. Unfortunately, that will not work every day ...
- Task in the here and now. You can actually perform any task or activity with focus, whether it's about working out boring minutes, having a difficult conversation or doing the dishes. It requires the necessary concentration and practice to do boring tasks with focus. But people who practice it feel better and more efficient over time on all fronts. This art listens to the name mindfulness, an attention training from Zen Buddhism.
- Personal development / training. Developing yourself requires the necessary effort and dedication. But if you really focus on the goal you have set yourself, you can go very far. By keeping focus, people manage to do a full study in addition to a family and a job, retrain at a later age, or learn a skill that they never thought possible. All of these things require the right decisions about time investment, which things to do and not to do and dealing with distractions for a longer period of time.
- Life purpose. Fulfilling a life goal requires focus by definition. If that were not the case, it was not a life goal. After all, you focus everything you do on that goal. In this way people have become monks, champions of a certain charity or simply 'a happy person'.
- Stress reduction. Restrictive thoughts, a demanding environment, the feeling of not being in control: these are important causes of stress. Focus can offer an important counterbalance against these types of stress factors: those who determine and retain focus, make clear choices, with the right trade-offs between themselves and the environment, and the right concentration and attention to be faithful to those choices. Mindfulness can also be useful when combating stress .
- Successful entrepreneurship. It is not for nothing that the saying goes that the shoemaker must stick to his reading. If you as an entrepreneur know what you are doing, what your goals are and what you have to offer (in other words, if you have focus), then that is also clear to your customers. Potential customers will find you easily, and you will experience that the customers almost automatically come to you. All a matter of focus.

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