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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai

How Focused Attention is the #1 Key to Achieving Success!

“You will never reach your goal if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” Winston Churchill

New research shows that you are not as good as you think you are at doing several things at once - multitasking. You answer emails while talking on the phone, drive while scheduling appointments or listening to the radio thinking you are a master of doing ten things at once. This is impossible because of what is called interference between two tasks which causes conflict and struggle within your brain. Through MRI technology this struggle in your brain can be seen. What you are doing is using your brain’s “executive system” switching your attention from task to task with astonishing speed. It is like a conductor telling the orchestra: louder, softer, faster, slower. You come in here. You be quiet for a few measures. The conductor in our heads lives in the brain's frontal lobes, basically above our eyes.

Daniel Weissman, Neuroscientist said, "Executive processes allow us to make plans for our future behaviors. They allow us to exert some sort of voluntary control over our behavior. The executive system also helps us achieve a goal by ignoring distractions or prioritizing different types of information like visual over auditory.” When my father was watching his favorite TV program, we had to call his name multiple times before he heard us. But if there was a scream, he immediately heardus and acted. Now I know how he was able to do that.

Studies show that you frequently overestimate your ability to handle multiple tasks. The consequences can be stress, a mistake, or maybe a car accident (talking/ texting and driving). With a more single-minded, focused, and determined pursuit of a goal, many have achieved their career goals faster without the struggle of others seeking these same opportunities. But whatever your endeavor, you will advance it tremendously by packaging your single-minded and focused attention approach with boundless energy and passion. Many successful and great people do this. Yet too many others give up on their dreams and aspirations after being rejected after only a few attempts. I know that you want to succeed in whatever you pursue. Below are some of the key elements you must have to focus your attention and succeed:

• An unwavering faith that what you want to achieve is achievable.

• Keep your pursuit top of mind to tap into unexpected opportune moments.

• Be open-minded not closed-minded missing potential path opportunities to your goal.

• Perseverance requiring a large amount of mental toughness and energy, and unbridled enthusiasm about achieving your goal.

• See the obstacles ahead and divert.

• Pay attention, set intentional focus, plan, and act by setting routine and habitual actions.

• Have the desire taking action to improve to close any skill gaps.

• Never play victim when you cannot control or influence.

Working on several different things is stressful and anxiety-producing. It can be very overwhelming to be juggling multiple things, hoping that the plates you are spinning will not fall. It is an ill feeling to keep up with it all. The reality is that our lives are in a constant state of flux. If you attach yourself too closely to multiple goals, you will never gain true peace of mind and success. Instead, you must prioritise and pick that one long term goal as a north star that precedes anything else you are doing. Your deeper vision is at the bottom of it all. Do these three things to figure it out:

1. Brainstorm and write down all your goals and ambitions.

2. Pare down what is the most important to you and then prioritize.

3. Ask and answer:

a. Which will have the biggest impact on my happiness?

b. Which one if achieved, make the other goals irrelevant?

c. Which one positively impacts my friends, family, and the world at large?

“You must be single-minded.

Drive for the one thing on which you have decided.” George Patton

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