How to Focus - Run Your Race

How to Focus - introduction

Confucius said “Person who chases two rabbits catches neither.” This statement created a very vivid image in my mind of the futility of trying to do too many things at the same time. Chasing one rabbit is hard enough. Imagine chasing two. Clearly the only way to practically deal with such a situation is to first concentrate on one rabbit and then, after catching the first one, go and catch the other.

Such common sense often eludes us when it comes to chasing our dreams. If you have big dreams and a big vision for your life it is very likely that you may feel overwhelmed at times. There may be so many things you would like to achieve, but so little time. This is particularly true if you are managing your own business and holding a job at the same time. How do you manage to get it all done?

How to Focus - Relax

The first thing you must do is to relax. Don’t panic. Don’t get overwhelmed and don’t be in too much of a hurry to get something done. Develop a sense of confidence in yourself and your ability to attain your goals. It is very important that you keep things in perspective and remember that everything worth having in life is a process and requires time to attain.

Just because things are not working out the way you expect them to does not mean they are not working out. Often it is the unexpected and the things we have not planned for that work out for our good in the end. If you are working consistently towards your objectives, things will work out for you.

How to Focus – run your race

Secondly, run your race and you will win. It cannot be won any other way but by running. If you do not run, you will not finish the race. The race will not be won with one giant leap from the starting line to the finish. It must be done one stride at a time. Each stride gets you closer to the finish line. So your dreams must be attained one little step and victory at a time. You must keep running with you dream until you reach the finish line. It is Carol Lewis that said: "Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you'll win. Channel your energy. Focus.”

How to Focus – a very valuable lesson

This analogy carries a great amount of truth for me because I experienced the power of being able to focus in a very practical way. It was sports day at secondary school where I was in form one at the time. I was the third of four runners in the 400m relay. The relay is the highlight of sports day and as was to be expected everyone in the crowd, the teachers, students, parents and friends who had come to support their teams, was expectantly watching. All the movement there had been during the day ceased, as everyone’s attention was drawn to the event.

I was the smallest of the runners on the track and should have been quite intimidated by the size of the other runners I was competing against, but I wasn’t. As the race started, my team fell behind right from the start. By the time I was getting the baton, we were in third place. The moment I got it I was off. Running barefooted, I managed to rush past the boy in second place and after a few seconds, the one in first place too. I handed over the baton to the last runner in first place. He managed to maintain and even increased our lead. We won the race!

Everyone told me how well I had run and even my team mates expressed surprise at what had happened. I had surprised myself too. Thinking about it later I tried to analyze what happened in order to find out why I had run such a good race. Then it occurred to me that at the time I was running I was not thinking about anything. I was not thinking about the crowd, nor the competition I was facing, nor the fact that we were losing before I got the baton, nor was I thinking of winning the race.

How to Focus - concentrate on running your race

The only thing I thought about was running. I was so focused on running well that I felt as though my body was being lifted off the ground by a force external to myself. The track ahead of me was the only thing I saw. The grass under my feet the only thing I felt. It was only after running that I saw the crowd cheering and everything else around me. I learnt the power of being able to focus. That race remains a reference point for me when faced with obstacles and challenges. I remember that if I can focus, I can win.

How to Focus – concentrate on you

If you must win you must remember to focus on the one person that can make a real difference in your life. That is you. Do not look to other people to make you a success. More importantly, do not blame other people for your lack of progress and achievement. Such an attitude of blame will only serve to disempower you and make you feel helpless.

As Wayne Dwyer put it “All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won't succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.” You must focus on yourself and what you can do to change yourself and the things around you.

How to Focus – do one thing at a time

Lastly, learn to do one thing at a time. No matter how many different things you have to do you can only truly give yourself to one task at a time. Multitasking does not mean doing everything at the same time. It means acquiring the skills that will allow you to allocate each task its own time and complete it well. Whatever you are doing at any time, give yourself fully to it. Concentrate all your energy and effort on it. This is the only way you can be effective and achieve good results.

How to Focus - conclusion

Run your race. Focus on what you want and you will attain it.

You are all you can be. Go on and be it.
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Other Books By Dr. Moses:

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In the POWER PRINCIPLES series of books, Dr. Moses Simuyemba, "Africa's Success Coach", shares his knowledge, experience and insight to help you in overcoming your personal challenges and limitations and inspire you towards the life you desire and deserve: a life of greater purpose, free of fear and full of abundance.