The subject of today’s article is focus. More specifically how our focus impacts our ability to stick to a training plan aimed towards our desired body method. The discussion of focus is one of the feeling or sensation that underpins our mental and physical ability to stay on track. It is pivotal in our ability to not deviate from a path we have set and to stick things out. It would be fair to say that although I talk often about the development of the body, without an ability to focus, everything else is irrelevant.
Experts Define focus as the art of concentrating your interest or activity on something.
This is a great definition because it hints at how we must eliminate that which is not relevant to the goal. So, it may be better to say that focus is actually the elimination of all of the things which do not help us to progress. But how do we focus on the things that matter and ignore the things that do not? This is as question that has plagued researchers through the ages.
Most people do not have a problem focusing on things which are of interest, indeed the advent of social media has shown that it is very easy for us to become focused on things which our simple brains believe to be important (even if they are not). The social media example also highlights that we don’t always focus on the most productive things. Unfortunately, it is often the case that the most productive thing to focus on may not be the most entertaining. And even if it is directly related our goal we can have a habit of being distracted by more flashy things. It is important to recognise that things that we find most captivating or interesting, may also be the things distracting us from the ultimate opportunities and goals we may have for ourselves.
There is a cognitive impairment called ‘over choice’ or choice overload which results in people having a difficult time making a decision when faced with too many options. It would, perhaps, be fair to say that the abundance of information in the Martialbody system can present people with over choice. It is a hard job to keep things on track and only present the information that gives people direct access to the skills they desire. But I am fully aware that I’m not able to remove all of the choices for an individuals training, providing them with only the right information at the right time. Such is the reality of providing online training and services.
Creating and focusing on a plan.
However, with the right focus, anyone can design and create their own training plan. To do this they simply have to assess where they should place their effort. The resulting plan may well be a little boring or involve a process that is difficult and painful. In the traditional arts this was often called ‘tasting the bitter’ because we will have to face the reality that many of the things we should be training may not be the most interesting or captivating. And so we would have to choose the harder path, where we would commit our focus to the tasks which were most appropriate.
At the start of our assessment, we should make a series of documents and precisely record where we think our abilities lie. In the consideration of Martial body this assessment should involve us looking at how heavy, stable, connected, agile, complex, and fluid we believe ourselves to be. Here we must be brutally honest about our level of skill and give ourselves a score out of 10. Only when we have this clear map of our current position can we plan our route towards improvement.
This route will provide us with what techniques we should be focusing on in our daily or weekly practices. Once we know the path we will be able to begin to remove extraneous other practices and get right to the heart of things, providing us with a route towards specific goals and allowing us to focus.
This clear plan may show that we have a lot of work to do on our StableBody, for instance. And so we will begin the process of training stableBody techniques over a set period of time. It could be a month or two, but we will be focused on the plan to address our deficiency. Once this plan is in place, our focus is easier, we can simply follow the plan and not deviate until the required time is up. We have created the situation where ‘Over Choice’ is removed and we have a clear plan of action to follow.
Here, it is important to highlight the myth of multitasking. Of course we are able to do multiple things at the same time, however, this does not mean that we are focused on any one of them to the degree that will produce real effective change. In all of my years of coaching it has been a rare occurrence that someone has been able to focus on multiple areas at the same time and prove effective at developing in all of those areas simultaneously. It is actually much better to focus your time on a single task, or a few simply methods, than it is to try to master everything all at once.
So, ultimately when we consider focus in MartialBody, it is actually a process of stripping away the unnecessary, by creating a clear plan towards a specific goal. Then we can allow the simplicity of doing a few things well over a period of time to bare fruit. This approach to focus is easier on both our mind, will power and our body and will produce results consistently regardless of your current level of skill or understanding.
So, take a moment to define your level and to identify your goals. Then ask yourself what you need to focus on to achieve them. This process is something that we should go through every few months to make sure we stay on track, you may be surprised at what you need to work on, it may be the boring stuff, but it will progress your skill and method more quickly than if you were to defuse your focus and try to do everything at once.