To find out I consulted the all-knowing info spot on the internet…Wikipedia. Only to find that the Great Wiki has “merged” the words, “focus” and “attention”. Under either word you can find the following:
Focus or attention “is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things”. —Wikipedia (Focus/Attention)
I immediately saw “good news” and “bad news”. The “good news” is- it’s a skill that can be learned or improved upon. The “bad news” (or, as I like to refer to it…the “challenge”) is- it’s based on selectively being attentive and ignoring elements of the environment, which is always changing. In other words, focus requires consistent aim at a moving target.
Now, all that might sound a bit discouraging BUT the beauty in it is this…I believe that sometimes all it takes is 1) for us to become aware of what we want to focus on, 2) to acknowledge the challenging aspects of the environment that will vie for our attention, and then 3) with those two things in mind…start the balancing act. Just having those things consciously in mind can improve our focus skills immensely.
To prove my theory- I had been thinking about this post for weeks. I’ve had a few quiet moments (although not many) to write it out, but I chose to write it on a bus, as I chaperone my son’s 4th grade class field trip. Yes, amidst the excited chatter of hyped up girls and boys and the bumpity, scribbled handwriting (yes, I did it the old-fashioned way, with pencil and paper) I selectively turned my attention/focus on YOU, dear reader.
And now, MY skill level of focus has just been kicked up a notch. Oh Yeah!!!