One of the common elements you see in almost all successful people is focus. They saw what they wanted to achieve, and they focused in on it like a laser. Then, when they become famous, and we, the common folk, know their name, we are amazed at the focus they have.
Focus will set two people apart who have equal skills.
What I am about to say may appear to be blasphemous to some: Tiger Woods is not that much more highly skilled than the other top PGA players! No, I haven’t lost my marbles. Take any of the big names, stick them on any course and on any given day, and they can shoot a 65 for 18 holes. You see, it isn’t whether they can—they all can—it is whether or not they do. And that is determined mostly by F-O-C-U-S.
Watch Tiger sometime in a close race to the finish. Watch when he hits a bad shot. Does he fall apart and grumble to anyone who will listen? No! In fact, it is almost eerie to watch him lock back in, even more focused than ever. That is what makes him a champion. I truly believe it is Tiger’s focus that has distinguished him from the rest of the field to become the best golfer ever.
The same is true with others who achieve great things, even in crucial and highly tense situations. Think John Elway in those final minutes of those games he brought the Broncos back in. Think of all of those last-second shots that Michael Jordan took (that everyone in the entire arena knew he was going to take—including the other team). These are classic examples of focus.
So what can the average person do to increase their focus? There are some things you can do to train yourself. You may never be Tiger Woods on the golf course or in the office, but you can increase your focus to where it needs to be to give you the success you desire.
In the remaining part of this article, I want to show you how to stay away from a common mistake and turn toward a discipline of focus that will be the first step in greatly enhancing your ability to focus. I will show you a practice technique that will greatly enhance your focus and your performance.
The myth is that, to focus, we must push other things out of our mind. For example, people will say to an athlete, “Don’t listen to the fans.” Or someone will say to another, “Don’t think about…” This doesn’t work! For example, right now, do not picture your car. You thought of it, right? Exactly. This myth actually gets you to focus on exactly what you don’t want to focus on!
Instead, the secret to intense focus is to set your mind intently on what it is you want to focus in on. For example, let’s say you are standing over a 10-foot putt. (I’m hoping we have some golfers here—and if not, make the changes you need to, but you should get the point.)
What do you want to focus on? Making that putt! So what are the elements you should be aware of? Focus on them. But go beyond mere observation. Most people just look at the line of the putt, take a guess on how hard to hit and then fire away.
Here are some other things to do: (Remember the process here is to get you highly aware of your surroundings and to focus with intensity.)
Look at the hole. Is the plastic cup even with the top of the grass or is it sunken in? How much? Bet you never noticed that before. Does the grass tip in at the edge or is it even? How long is the grass between you and the hole? Does it waver in length from foot to foot?
Is there sand along the way in your path? How much? What color? What size? Is it even or just for a section?
Are there any bugs sitting on the ground between you and the hole? Does the hill go up or down at all? Not significantly—you would have already noticed that—but even slightly?
Is there a slight wind? Can you feel it blowing on your face?
Lastly, imagine that ball rolling along that path, curving slightly if it has to, and falling in the hole. I mean, really create that movie in your head and watch it!
You may ask, “Chris, is this the secret to making your putts?” No, but it’s an example of how to focus. Be observant. Notice. Focus. Lock into your focal point(s).
The myth of most focus advice is to try to not focus on bad things.
The secret to intense focus is to focus to a higher degree than you normally do on the “good things”—the things you are trying to accomplish!
Give it a try for a week. Focus intensely on what you want to accomplish. Bring yourself to a much higher degree of awareness of the surroundings, etc., and see for yourself the power behind this methodology!
Then, when you have taught yourself to do this for practice, it will become a part of you and you will start to do it naturally, and that will be an incredible day!