“The ability to choose cannot be thrown away, only forgotten.” This is one of the many notes I took as I read the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. When we forget our ability to choose we learn to be helpless. The author goes on to argue that we have lost the ability to filter what’s important and what is not (hmmm…I wonder if misspelling a word on my IG comment is that important after all?).
I love research and history, so I particularly loved the section when he talked about the history of the word “priority.” In the 1400’s it was singular and not until the 1900’s did that word become plural, meaning you can have more than one. “When everything is a priority by definition nothing is,” he states. (Is this why people hate the word balance. Can only ONE thing actually be a priority? Eating delicious pasta maybe? Or maybe it’s simply ME?)
All of this reminds me of the documentary I recently watched about Warren Buffet. He and Bill Gates were asked to write down on a piece of paper their secret to success. Both independently wrote the same word, “FOCUS.”
This is a theme we are playing with this week in The Being Me Program. We are replacing the word hard work with FOCUS. A lot of times, an activity seems like hard work because our mind is not fully focused on the task at hand but instead is ten steps ahead or worried about the things it is NOT doing while it IS doing this particular task. One common theme this week in the coaching group is everyone feels they have more time than they “should” considering they have added more to their lives. The secret is they have had a mental shift. When they are watching Netflix they are watching Netflix. When they are working on their cover letter, that is all they are doing. They set a timer for a half hour (the Pomodoro technique/check out Focus Booster app for your phone, I just use my microwave timer) and in that time there are NO distractions. Only focused work.
The second and maybe biggest secret to to FOCUS is get into a good vibe mood and then! Meaning do not tackle hard stuff when you are already feeling tired, frustrated, hungry. In my experience, in this state, a task that could take an hour turns into three (computer gives me the spinning wheel, I can’t find that piece of paper that was just here, I get that text!). Choosing a better feeling thought and deliberately getting your mind, body and spirit into a good vibrating state makes FOCUS a natural bi-product and suddenly the computer seems like it is your dance partner.
If you’ve been following me you know meditation is how I stay in a high vibe state. There is a great app called Headspace that can help you especially if meditation seems daunting to you. For my more advanced peeps, check out Ziva Meditation. For me, I like to set my timer for 30 minutes. I start by focusing on my breath and then I just chill with my eyes closed until the timer goes off. Yup, I allow myself to chill. I can’t think of a better word to describe it.
Ghandi has said, “Each night when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake I am reborn.” I think this means that we get another chance to set and choose our feelings to the highest vibes we possibly can in the morning. Sleeping brings us back to neutral. And when we wake we have another opportunity to decide what to FOCUS on for that day.
Try it. Choose to feel what you want to feel when you open your eyes tomorrow. See how it goes.
Hmmmm…What IF doing less IS better? I’m going to go focus on that thought after I focus on every juicy, sloppy bite of this beautiful tomato.