Focus vs. Thinking

Achieving a high level of athletic performance or a business goal involves the progressive completion of smaller tasks over time.

Specifically, when achievement is reduced to the smallest common denominator, it consists of the successful completion of each of these tasks.

If we could better focus on the completion of each task, we are more likely to achieve our goals in the minimum amount of time.

What often limits us from tackling each task efficiently is our inability to differentiate Focus from Thinking.

Thinking is related to Expectations. It limits our ability to focus and our performance. It results in anxiety and procrastination, and the loss of motivation and confidence.

Focus vs. Thinking
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Between Information and Application…

It is no longer surprising to hear athletes make statements such as “I should focus on the process rather than the outcome.” Compared to when I first started coaching, both coaches and athletes today are better informed about the need to focus on the process.

However, there is still a gap between information and application. Despite being better informed, athletes often do not know how to let go of the outcome and refocus on the process.

From what I’ve observed, there are three related reasons that are limiting their ability to do so.

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The Problem with “Motivation”

‘Control your Controllables’ (CYC) is a resilience program facilitated by the blind and experienced through the Paralympic game of Goalball. Earlier this week, my team conducted the program for a group of junior college students who did not manage to progress on to Year 2.

During the session, the students were asked to reflect on possible barriers that could stop them from putting in the necessary effort to pass their exams. Many of them alluded to some version of the same problem – the lack of motivation.

Does the problem really lie with the lack of motivation?

I asked the students if they were disappointed that they did not pass their exams, and why they wanted to progress on to Year 2. Indeed, these may seem like redundant questions but I was trying to get them to understand that they do not lack strong reasons nor motivation to strive for better results.

“The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed.” Steven Pressfield

The problem here isn’t about the lack of motivation. The problem lies with the ability to direct their motivation towards the goal of passing their exams. The problem has to do with procrastination, specifically, they were motivated to do something else rather than to study.

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