Simplicty as a Value

How many of you value simplicity?  It is something we hear a lot about but rarely give it much attention.  Nevertheless, in the pursuit of happiness, don't you think simplicity would be a part of the equation?  It seems that in the 21st century, this is not the case.


Technology should make our lives easier and in many ways, it has.  Who can argue with the fact that it is much quicker and simpler to reheat something in the microwave as opposed to the oven?  Cell phones keep us in contact and allow us to conduct business during down times like when driving.  This increases productivity while enabling up to expand our reach.  Certainly, the Internet revolutionized the way life is lived.  Shopping is now done online as opposed to entering into a store.  Research requires only an Internet connection versus having to spend hours in the public library.  Book publishing and other fields were completely altered enabling new people access who normally would not.  Overall, these innovations have improved our lives.

There is also a downside to all this.  Because of these same technological innovations, we now see our lives ever more complex.  To start, we now live in a 24 hour world.  Shopping, just mentioned, now can take place any time of the day.  No longer are people relegated to only those hours which the store is open.  The phone technology means that we are constantly in communication to the point we cannot escape it.  Laptops and tablets enable people to bring work home with them negating the previous excuse "the files are at the office".  All told, we are becoming captive to the very devices meant to free us.

Economic Prosperity

There is no doubt we live in a society that promotes consumerism.  Advertisers are paid big money to deliver a message to people which gets them to take action.  And what is that action?  Obviously, to buy the product.  In the western cultures, we witnessed economic prosperity grow enormously over the last few decades.  Even though salaries might not have kept pace with inflation, the fact is many things are a lot cheaper than before.  The technological breakthrough enables more people to have more for less.  Consider televisions.  Today, you can buy a flatscreen for a few hundred dollars.  10 years ago a similar device cost in the thousands.  It is not uncommon to see homes in poor neighborhoods with televisions, xbox, and other electronic gadgets.  Consumerism was a homerun for the culture.

But again, we see little correlation between the economic prosperity and happiness.  We know this because every study reveals an increase in depression, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic abuse, and anger management.  Even though society, in general, has more "toys", this did not translate into a happier time.  A case could be made that we are the unhappiest people in the history of man.


Few people like complexity.  Think back to high school: who other than the nerdiest among us enjoyed those complex math problem in Algebra or Calculus class?  People innately prefer things to be simple.  We are constantly seeking the easiest resolution to problems.  It is something that we naturally value.  However, we seem to do more to complicate our lives.  Rarely does someone consciously decide to simply his or her life.

How do we maintain a complex life?  The list is too long to go into here but it is safe to say that almost everything we do complicates our lives.  It starts with the shopping we do.  We purchase items in a quest for instant gratification.  This creates financial strain since all our money is either spent, or worse, dedicated to monthly payments for boats, cars, and other toys.  At the same time, many items are brought home and never used.  Closets all over America are full of clothing and other things with the price tags still on them.  At the same time. we "house" possessions in storage facilities because we do not have enough room in our homes.

Another way we complicate our lives is by making things more important than experiences.  People continually need to be entertained.  They cannot enjoy the simplest of pleasures.  If joy is to be attained, it need to be expensive and include one of the toys.  Short of that, there is no happiness.  People overlook the simple pleasures that mean a lot.  The habit of always being on the go means people miss out on what is around them.  But we live in a world which operates at insane speed.  Individuals are expected to keep up.

I am certain that if you spent some time pondering how you make your live complex, you will realize that perhaps you need to simplify things.  Look at technology to decide where you are enslaved and how you can alter things to use it to your advantage.  At the same time, clear of your calendar and schedule time for simple pleasures.  Slow down is a good mantra to keep in your head.  Make simplicity a value and implement in all the areas you can.  Anyone who did this will tell you how it is a worthwhile proposition.

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The Mind

"The mind is the most powerful computer in the world."

I heard this statement for the past 20 years from many different people in the self help field.  The reason they all refer to it is because it is true.  There is nothing which can compete with the power of the human mind.  When you consider the achievements of this mechanism, it is truly astounding.  Everything you see in the physical world which mankind invented once existed in someone's mind.  Today, because of perseverance and development, you are able to enjoy the fruits of their mental imagery.

 The Mind Works Both Ways

While the mind created wonderful inventions, it has also helped every individual throughout his or her life.  The mind is constantly working providing an individual with hundreds, if not thousands, of profitable ideas daily.  Every problem that anyone is faced with will first be solved in the mind.  Input the data and you will receive an answer.

However, have you ever consider what the mind does and why it is there?  We see other animals who have "minds" yet they operate on instinct.  In many ways, these animals are better able to deal with the natural setting than humans are.  Yet, when we look at it, the mind is there to protect us.  Ponder the emotions of fear.  This is something that resides exclusively in the mind.  While the physical effects are felt in the body, fear is a manifestation of the mind.  It will take stimulus and create a response.  In its natural state, this is the fight or flight mechanism.  Input will be received by the mind, a threat realized, and fear will be used to protect the individual.  As you can imagine, in the wilderness this is a nice asset to have.

At the same time, the mind is also a jailor.  Everything we experience exists in the mind.  It is where we process the entire world around us.  The five senses (touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste) are only input devices.  All the data is sent to the brain for processing.  That is where we live.  Of course, each person processes things differently based upon their outlook, experiences, hopes, desires, and insecurities.  While the mind exists to protect us, it also will provide us with answers in keeping with a pre-determined plan.  Hence, a pessimist will always receive a negative answer.  He or she will also find the negative in every situation.  Why?  The mind ensures that outcome.  

Controlling the Mind

If life exists solely in the mind, since that is where we process everything, your challenge in life is simply to gain control of this mechanism.  This is the secret to all of life success.  Gain control of the mind and you have control of your life.  Yet so few even attempt this.  Instead, they live like puppets operating in a knee-jerk fashion.  Stimulus enters the mind and an instant result is punched out without any filter.  Conditioning allows the mind to operate freely.

As I mentioned, the mind provides hundreds of profitable ideas a day.  Let us focus upon the business world.  Each person has ideas that are worth a fortune.  The mind gives this concepts to us freely.  A person is driving down the street pondering certain financial difficulties and pop, a profitable idea enters.  The mind did its' job.  However, what happens next?  The self-doubt starts to run wild.  Those ideas such as "you are not smart enough to do that" or "that will never work" take over the conversation.  Ironically, the same mechanism which gave us the first thought also sabotaged the idea.  Both ideas came from the mind.  

This happens every day to all of us.  Allowing the mind free reign means you will never get anywhere.  The most successful people in the world harnessed the power of the mind and are able to direct it to whatever requires the focus.  People who are in top shape physically are a prime example.  Obviously, getting in shape requires physical action.  Those who exercise are the ones with the best body.  So, we know that physical health operates at the physical level (hence the name).  Or does it?  As you can guess, being in shape is a result of controlling the mind.  The reason is simple: everyone has the same thoughts and excuses.  Top athletes have days where they do not want to work out.  The difference is that when these ideas enter their mind, they discard them.  Those self defeating thoughts are not allowed to remain.  Someone who is overweight and out of shape heeds those ideas and remains on the couch.

We see the same thing in all aspects of life.  The human experience is the same for all of us.  Fear, doubt, anger, and insecurity exist in everyone.  However, those who excel win the battle of the mind by moving past them.  They say courage is not the absence of fear but taking action in the face of that fear.  Another way of phrasing it is to take action in spite of what the mind is telling you.  Unless you are up against a tiger in the jungle, fear is most likely nothing more than a figment of your imagination.

It is time to starting thinking about what you think about.  Failure to do so will lead to your mind placing you in a cage.  The possibilities in the world are endless if you will only allow yourself to consider them.  The mind will give you the idea...it will also provide another idea to negate the first one.  Be mindful of this.


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A few days ago I wrote a blog post titled "The World is My Oyster".  In it, I discussed a thing called opportunities.  Basically, those are situations which present themselves on a daily basis which we often overlook.  Sometimes the greatest fortune is right underneath our nose.  Being aware of what is offered to us on a daily basis is crucial.

Today I am going to cover something a bit more basic and, most likely, a predecessor to opportunity thinking.  The world is full of possibilities if we will only allow ourselves to embrace it.  However, most are conditioned to focus upon "reality".

Science Fiction

I will admit that I am not a huge science fiction fan.  Nevertheless, I do realize its importance in the world we live.  Star Trek, which evolved into multiple series and numerous films, is one of the most successful accomplishments in the Sci-Fi arena.  One of the interesting thing about the original show is that many of the "gadgets" used by the characters are now part of our daily lives.  While the writers/creators were delving into the world of fantasy, it was the pathway into what eventually became reality.

If you ponder all great technological or scientific accomplishments, you will realize they were nothing more than fiction 20 years prior to their development.  Flying was reserved for the birds before the Wright Brothers came along and changed how we travel.  Talking on a handheld wireless device was only done by Captain Kirk, not everyday people.  Computers occupied an entire room and cost millions of dollars before the invention of the personal computer. Everything was a dream before it became true.


Certainly the writers of Star Trek were not focused upon providing the scientific community with ideas for new inventions.  Their focus was on providing entertaining television which drew ratings.  However, because of the field they were in, their role was to consider all possibilities.  Their minds were not limited by reality.  Anything they could think of was apt to become a part of the show.  They were not worried about the practicality of going from the idea to reality.  It was simply written in and a set designer created the product.  The technology in between was not of importance.  Of course, years later, other people did uncover the technology needed to make these devices functional in the real world.

The point I am making is what are the possibilities for your life if you think like a Sci-Fi writer?  Once you remove the limitations which other people have erected for you, the possibilities are endless.  Goal setting experts tell people to remove the limitations of the mind when first starting a goal setting process.  Write everything down no matter how fat fetched.  Enter into a mental state of limitless where anything is applicable.  This is how we can uncover our truest of desires and dreams.

People have a rational side.  This is what prevents them from seeing the unlimited.  We are conditioned to "keep our feet on the ground".  Fortunately for us, people such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, and others did not subscribe to that theory.  Instead, they saw possible when others saw impossible. 

It Was Done

Am I telling you to go become the next great inventor?  Perhaps.  If you have some aptitude in this area, then by all means go and change the world.  However, for most people, their dreams were already accomplished by somebody.  This is a helpful point.  There path is already laid out.  Many have forged it and left instructions how to do it.  What do you desire?  Stock market success?  There are books on that.  A happy marriage?  A ton of information out there on how to accomplish that end.  Travel the world on very little money?  Numerous blogs exist covering this exact topic.  My point is whatever you desire most likely was accomplished.

If it was already done, what is holding you back?  Does your thinking enter into the picture and crush you dreams?  Do you think about something and say "but I could not do that".  This is what happens to many.  The fact is you can do most anything you desire.  Sure, being a concert pianist might be a stretch if you are not musically inclined.  Nevertheless, most things in life are learned skills through the use of practice.  If you simply apply the 10,000 hour rule you will excel.  And what is the 10,000 hour rule?  Basically it says that we require 10,000 hours of study/practice at something to become masters.  Professional athletes are examples.  They spend years honing their crafts.  The same is true in any field.  Whatever you want, dedicate every waking moment of free time to it and see where it takes you.  I am going to guess that you cannot help but to improve.

There is a basic question that is often asked: what would you do if you knew you could not fail?  Think about this for the next few days.  Consider the possibilities open to you with this outlook.  When you approach things from this perspective, the world truly is your oyster.  Determine what you want and go mine for it.  The riches, whatever they are, that you seek are out there waiting for you.

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A Son's Insight

One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people can be. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “It was great, Dad.” “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Oh Yeah” said the son. “So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” With this the boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thanks dad for showing me how poor we are.” Too many times we forget what we have and concentrate on what we don’t have. What is one person’s worthless object is another’s prize possession. It is all based on one’s perspective. Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for all the bounty we have, instead of worrying about wanting more.
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The World Is My Oyster...

Have you ever given thought to all the opportunities there are in this world?  Today, there is more than one can accomplish than in any period in history.  While some will claim that life is tougher today than it was ________ (fill in the time period), the truth is that it is never easier.


In sports, people often talk about the potential of a particular athlete.  For example, in baseball, a prospect will have the potential to be a front line pitcher or a hitter the potential to be a "35 hr a year guy".  Basically, this means nothing more than this is a possible outcome for these individuals.  The actual result might vary and that is why it is called potential.  Without development, it is worthless.

The opportunities today are only potential scenarios for your life.  On their own, they are worthless.  People pass by opportunities each day usually because they are too busy focusing on what is wrong with them (or the world).  This creates a blind spot to the possibilities which are right in front of them.

Many have stated that knowledge is power.  The fact is that knowledge is not power but potential power.  It is possible that one will garner great results from the knowledge acquired.  However, there is an equal chance that this knowledge will be worth nothing.  The difference maker is whether the person uses the knowledge or not.  Those who apply it will see positive results if they stick with it.  That is what separates one who takes action from one who idly sits by.  Turning potential into results is where the focus needs to be.


Why is the world my oyster?  Simply because, as Mark Victor Hanson says, I have 360 degrees of possibilities.  I can take my life in any direction and there are enough people out there who are capable of assisting me along the way.  Success is not a secret.  Anything can be learned if one is willing to look.  Again, this never was so easy.

The Internet is a creation that enhances the lives of so many.  However, few of using it to its maximum potential since they spend hours a day on non-essential activities.  I read of people who spend 15 hours a day on Facebook.  To me at this crazy.  What does that accomplish?  Sure there is some pleasure derived but did it really move one's life forwards?  Not likely.  This is where the invention became more of an addition.

Those who understand that the web is the greatest research tool ever invented know that the possibilities in life jumped forward drastically.  You can learn about any topic with the click of a mouse.  There are thousands of websites dedicated to any subject, most of it free for your reading.  Research sites also exist which post there results for people to peruse.  This was not something that exists 25 years ago.

An example of this is the stock market.  I remember dealing with a guy who was an investor in a small town.  He subscribed to a service which allowed him access to real time quotes.  Without that, everything was delayed 15 minutes.  Today, you can go to a number of sites throughout the day and get real time quotes.  Simply open up an online account even if you do not fund it and you will gain access to this service.  Here is a knowledge base that was only for a certain few that is now available to anyone.  It is the great equalizer.

The question is what are you doing with these opportunities?  Are you enhancing your life through knowledge and them applying it for more power?  Or do you just surf for enjoyment while living your life like it is 1980?  I see people all the time whining about their plight in life yet so few want to do anything about it.  Do they realize there are opportunties everywhere?  Most likely not.  Instead they bask in the glory of their own misery.

Here is a suggestion for you.  Now I will admit that I have not done this myself but I have a feeling it will net you terrific results.  Open up a search engine and type in something to the effect "100 life improvement tips" or "ways to better your life" or "ways to success".  I am going to assert that anyone who does this will come up with hundreds of ways to make your life better.  A lot of web hits will be articles that are nothing more than lists of ways to become more successful or improve your life.  Jot a few down and start to apply them.  I will hypothesize that you will see results rather quickly.  This is how you take knowledge and turn it into power.  Do this now and let me know how it worked out.  

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Tis The Season

It is holiday time again in many parts of the world.  In the United States, we are 7 days away from Thanksgiving.  For those who are unaware, this is where we celebrate the pilgrims who were the first European settlers in this country.  It is a time when families usually get together and give thanks.  Of course, in a month we celebrate Christmas which is an equally festive time.

Not Total Happiness

For many this is not a joyous time of the year.  The imagery put out by the media companies often can put people in a state of deep depression.  Their holiday season simply does not match up to what is portrayed as the norm.  Many are separated, if not estranged, from family members.  This places a significant burden on them emotionally.  The feeling is that they are somehow "left out".  

Another problem with the holiday season is that, in many parts of the world, it became commercialized.  Christmas is a time for giving and the toy producers make sure you know it.  Each year there is a hot gift(s) that every kid has to have.  Anyone who does not get this is looked down upon when returning to school after the New Year.  And what parent wants to put his or her child in this position?  So, the credit cards come out and the spending begins.  That is for those who are able to.  Sadly, there are many who are in a financial position which will not allow this.  This evokes feelings of guilt and worthlessness.  Children can not understand.  Hence, the adult will feel less than joyous.

The final component that I will mention is the time change which occurs.  I realized tonight that it was getting dark at 5.  Within an hour, it was pitch black.  The days will continually get shorter (meaning less daylight) until December 21st.  For many, this increases the depression.  Couple this with the fact that many areas start to experience the cold and grayness of winter, and the joyous feeling is quickly extinguished.  Life is spent indoors away from the elements.  Exercise and other hobbies are cast aside.  


Any of these factors can cause someone to detest the holiday season.  At the far end, some can go into a state of depression which require treatment.  Obviously, anyone who is at this end of the spectrum should get the help needed.  For everyone else, read on.

So how do you go about beating the holiday blues?  I will start by sharing an interview I heard.  Years ago I met a man who interviewed Norman Rockwell's son.  For those who do not know, Norman Rockwell was the 20th century painter who is credited with capturing Americana on canvas.  His paintings depict American life in a simpler time when family was important and that closeness was shared.  What is of interest is when the interview was over, the guy I met ask Rockwell's son how nice it was to grow up in the Rockwell home.  The response is pretty telling.  He stated that what was shown in the paintings did not reflect his home like.  It turns out that Rockwell could be a bit moody and difficult to deal with.  In other words, the idea did not exist.

And that is part of the solution.  It is crucial to remember that the ideal does not exist.  People tend to judge their insides by the outsides of others.  What they see is what they believe to be true.  We all know that people are very good about covering up what happens in their homes.  While everything looks nice from the outside, under the roof it is sheer terror.  Just ask anyone who grew up or lived with an alcoholic.  Outer appearances are usually deceiving.

The other important thing to do is to be grateful for what is presently in your life.  It is easy for us to look at others with longing.  The truth is there is a lot of things you can be grateful for today.  To start, you are not dead.  While your life might not be exceptional, it beats the alternative.  If you are employed, no matter how crappy the job, be thankful you have it.  There are many people who are struggling and would like nothing more than to earn a paycheck.  The point is that you can look at the glass is almost totally empty or you can focus upon what is full.  Everyone has something to be grateful for.

If you are having a tough time with that, here is something else to remember.  The holidays do end.  January 2nd will be here before you know it.  For those who remember, baseball season ended 6 weeks ago.  That is the amount of time left until the new yearIt seems like just yesterday that the last pitch was thrown.  Time has a tendency to zip by.  In truth, the holiday season will be history very quickly.  

Finally, if you are down, go do something.  One of the best ways to get active is to do things for other people.  If you are suffering, help someone else.  There is a lot of power in taking the focus off your own woes.  Volunteer at a nursing home or go visit an elderly relative and you will have a new perspective on your life.  Many do not reach the end of their lives in terrific shape.  That will give you a good dose of "I would rather be me than them".  And that is what you are seeking, a shift in perspective. 

Always remember, feelings are not facts.  If you do not like how you feel, do something to alter that.  As hard as it is to believe, you are the one who chooses how you feel.     

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A Means To An End

Most people view their present situation as permanent.  The problem with this outlook is that little in life is constant.  Things that we think are "forever" are just momentary flashes in time.  A great deal of those events pass without much thought.  However, if we are aware, they can hold the key to our further advancement.


The simple fact is that every situation is a lesson which we can learn from.  We enter this planet screaming and kicking while often leaving exhibiting similar behavior.  In between, we need to learn all we can to deal with the world around us.  Sadly, many pass up the best opportunities that life has to offer.  Lessons are everywhere if one will just take the opportunity to learn.

Since situations are only temporary and each one offers lessons which can help us in the future, it is best to look at every event as a building block to a greater life.  As was mentioned, we enter the scene knowing absolutely nothing.  We encounter the world around us which offers guidance for further development.  Life has a way of offering up similar circumstances which allows us to show what we learned.  Unfortunately, we are also exposed if we did not the lesson previously.

Mistakes are our friend.  There is no knowledge gained from doing things perfectly.  Thomas Edison tried over 10,000 times to invent the electric light bulb.  While all of those attempts were failures, he garnered a great deal of intelligence which ultimately led to the breakthrough.  What in your life is offering you opportunities to learn which will be used for your breakthrough?  Pay closer attention to what occurs on a daily basis and you might uncover the answer to that question.

An example of how life offers us knowledge through our experiences is in the world of dating.  Think back to your "first love".  For most people, this occurred somewhere in the early teens.  At that time, what did you know about interpersonal relations with the opposite sex?  The answer is nothing.  However, if we fast forward a couple decades, the answer to that question is that you know a lot about relationships with the opposite sex (although I am sure there are still many of you who will answer "nothing").  To expect a person in his/her teens to have the wherewithal of someone who has been dating for a decade or more is unrealistic.  Life serves up the lessons and we learn them.

Means To An End

So, now we understand that life circumstances are pieces or building blocks in our lives.  This understanding will greatly help in appreciating those tings which go wrong.  The truth is that nobody enjoys pain but it is often a necessary component of life.  I found the more painful the situation, the more valuable the lesson.

However, there is another factor to consider.  Many people are unhappy about their present circumstances.  For whatever reason, they feel they are stuck in a situation which they cannot exit.  In fact, to go one step further, there are many times when one truly does have no choice but to remain exactly where he/she is.  This is a fact of life.  Often the door we are seeking is not open at that time and all that we can do is wait (and learn).

A prime example is the job people work in.  I read that up towards 80% of the population despises their job.  This is an astounding figure.  While there is no magic wand to change the professions people are engaged in, it is possible to change the viewpoint to make it easier to accept.  Now, I will admit there are some jobs that are downright awful.  There is nothing that can be done to make them better from an external source.  Jobs like these suck.  However, a person needs to look at it as a stepping stone.  Jobs, as most of us know, are temporary.  Many like to think they will work in it forever (if they like it) but the reality is that people switch jobs many times through their career.  Ultimately, that job is not the end.

And that is my main point.  Whatever you are dealing with at the present moment, just realize it is a means to an end.  If you can write out a list of goals for your life and work towards them, you will see how your present situation is just one stop along the way.  For example, if someone has the entrepreneurial spirit, he/she would understand that a job is nothing more than a means of financing oneself until the other project is self sustaining.  When this view is adopted, the daily grind is looked at not as the end but part of the process.  I think you will agree that it is a lot more palatable when structured in this light.

Remember this the next time you are tempted to let some life circumstance get you down.  No matter what you are dealing with I can guarantee you a few things.  First, it is most likely temporary.  Second, there is a lesson(s) in there for you to learn which can be valuable down the road.  Finally, whatever it is, this is nothing more than one piece that is your life and a means to the end which is your ultimate goals.

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Laserlike Focus

Today I am going to write about something that often is overlooked as being one of the most important life attributes.  People fail to attain the heights they can achieve because they lack this simple (but not easy) characteristic.  Of course, when have you ever heard someone mention that he or she was working on improving the ability to focus?  My guess would be never.

The World Is For Multi-Taskers

Many believe that the way to succeed in life is to be able to handle multiple jobs simultaneously.  Let us be honest: it is a busy world.  There is a ton going on all the time and people are under greater pressure to do more in the allotted time.  Business moves faster than it ever did.  Technology ensures that we are in constant communication on a daily basis.  Cell phones, email, instant messaging, and a host of other devices require our attention.  The most successful are the ones who can navigate the waters of simultaneous action and get things done.

Enter the multi-tasker.  Here is the star person who can juggle all tings at one time.  We see this person advertised and esteemed all the time in the media.  The "supermom" who is able to hold down a successful career while running the kids around and taking care of her husband is shown to us as the model for this generation.  The picture of her handling multiple tasks at the same time is imprinted upon our psyches.

But is this really the most effective way to approach things?  The answer is a simple no.  Studies repeatedly have shown that multi-tasking is actually less effective than single tasking.  The reason is because it is impossible for the brain to consciously focus upon more than one thing at a time.  Hence, if one is multi-tasking, complete attention is not given to any single item.  The focus is split between the two actions.  Or is it?

If the brain can focus on one task at a time, how can attention be split?  It can not.  What actually occurs when one is multi-tasking is that the brain shifts the focus back and forth.  For example, if one is talking on the phone while watching the kids, the brain moves from the conversation to the kids and then back.  This happens in nano seconds but it does occur.  The shifting of the brain means that when it returns to the conversation, it not only has to pick up where it is again, but fill in the gap as to what was missed.  In other words, the quality of the conversation was downgraded.

Single Tasking

Nature is a wonderful teacher.  If we just open ourselves up and align ourselves to what is natural, success comes a whole lot easier.  Attending to a single task at one time is natural.  In fact, nature dictates that it is the only way for us to live.  Multi-tasking is a myth.  As was just shown, it is impossible for the brain to conscious tend to two things at the same time.  Hence, we are forced to focus upon a single task even if it is just for a split second.

From this point forward, accept the fact that your chore is to work on improving your focus.  This is done by embracing the idea that you are two tend to one thing at a time.  While we know there are situations like the example mentioned where two things have to occur at the same time, be mindful this is not the ideal situation.  Certainly, no rational person would say that watching the kids while talking on the phone could be considered quality time.  You role is to ensure that you approach all activities with the single-minded focus.  Multi-tasking is out the window.  Do what is in front of you to the best of your ability.

Laserlike Focus

Once we adopt the concept of doing one thing at a time, then we can start to work on the idea of developing our focus.  Obviously most are aware of the power that a laser has and why.  As compare to a shotgun which sprays pellets from a shell over a wider area, a laser targets all its power at one specific area.  The power that is harnessed is thrust upon the object with total force and accuracy.  Even the slightest movement to one side or the other will create a different result.  Power and accuracy are the two characteristics of this device.

How can we get this same effect in our lives?  Developing power and accuracy is done by conditioning ourselves to focus.  And by the way, this is not a novel idea.  Philosophers and religious teachers have promoted this idea for centuries.  Staying in the now is an example of a similar thought meant to focus our attention where it needs to be.

The best way to go about this is to realize that present moment thinking is required.  Whatever you are doing, the goal is to immerse yourself in that activity until it is completed.  Too often people are there physically while being absent mentally.  This is especially true when the activity is rather mundane like washing the dishes.  Quite simply the easier the task the less likely we are to focus upon it.  Yet it is this conditioning which enters into the more difficult situations.  We find that when we are in a position that requires our complete attention, invariably we unable to give it.  That is because the habit is not formed within us.

Hence, your challenge is to develop your focus by being 100% present in the mundane activities that you do.  I like to use household chores because they are simple enough and everyone is stuck doing them.  Today, when you have to tend to the dishes or cleaning the kitchen, notice where your mind is.  Attempt to focus exclusively at the task in front of you.  Do not talk on the cell phone or pay attention to the television.  In fact, if you can, for this exercise, turn those devices off.  Establish an environment where you can dedicate your total focus.  You will see how much more effective you are.

Another terrific way to harness the power of focus is to write up a list of 5 activities that you are going to do.  Again, in developing the ability to focus, I would suggest starting with 5 rather simple chores.  Write them down and go do them.  This will assist not only with focus but procrastination.  The key is to complete one action before going onto the next one.  It is the habit we are after as much as the results.  Focus complete attention until you can move onto the next.  That is how we are going to generate power and accuracy.

Try this for the next 30 days and see how much differently your life is.  The ability to focus is simply another characteristic which needs development.

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