Improving concentration and focus is all about taking interest. The more you push your mind, the more difficult it becomes to concentrate. Concentrating can be like getting a donkey to move. Push or pull and it begins to resist. If you push harder, it will resist all the more. The trick is getting the donkey to move by not using force, but by using encouragement. Dangle a carrot in front of the donkey and it will begin to follow you anywhere.
Interest is the emotional constituent of attention. You do not have to force your mind to concentrate on a thrilling book or an action film. You do not really have to 'force' your mind to focus on anything you have got a stake in. Interest powers your mental muscle. And since it is natural to pay more attention to what is important to you, the way to deepen your attention on something that you don't care a lot about is to get your mind interested. With interest, there is no problem with concentration. Your attention naturally follows.
Cultivating interest is all about adopting a curious outlook. Imagine walking on a beach and you notice a few pebbles lying on the sand. You pick a few and notice changes in their shapes and sizes. Some pebbles are smooth, some shiny, some are large and rough. There are flecks of crystal in a couple of them. You see hidden cracks in some of them, asymmetrical designs and fissures. The more you see, the more you begin to look out for, the more you look out for, the more you observe
Try to look out for interesting aspects in everyday tasks-doing the dishes, working on a financial report, cleaning the garden etc. You look for the odd things, the things that surprise you, trivial things , the usual, the unusual. You begin to contrast things that you know with what you do not know. You start becoming interesting in things that seemed dull to you at one point of time.
Next time when you feel bored and want to concentrate, say in a meeting or a conversation, snap out of your boredom by looking for interesting aspects-even if your mind does not want to. In a meeting, ask yourself how the situation may look, if you saw it through the eyes of a five year old, of a person who did not now the people in the room or someone who could not converse in that language.
If you find trapped with a person who does not seem to be an inspiring, jovial companion, you can make the conversation interesting. Ask the person what he dislikes, what he likes, his priorities, his pet peeves and you will find that he is not so uninteresting to you as others may have assumed.
Willam James said, "Attention is easier the richer in acquisition and the fresher and more original the mind. And intellect unfurnished with material, stagnant, original, will hardly be likely to consider any subject long." In other words, keep an open mind, always willing to learn and absorb like a sponge. Virtually anything under the sun can be food for thought: premedival history, art of dating, theory of relativity, Third World Economy, cash crop farming, tuberculosis treatment, cures for rattlesnake bites, house construction, mobile phone repairing, reading about the different varieties of chocolates. If you want to fertilize your imagination, go to Wikipedia, Google around, read blogs, interesting content on a subject.
You can also go to a bookstore and pick up a book on a subject that you do not know anything, let's say lamination techniques. Buy a book on wildlife Safari, graphic designing, cooking Continental dishes. Go beyond your ordinary sphere of interest and feed your mind with new information.About the Author:
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