I have learned much from a friend of mine, Dan, about attention and focus. He has said that attention works like a muscle. If you exercise it, it grows. There seems no doubt that our ability to focus greatly enhances our results, but it is difficult to quantify and measure.
I like to be aware of my current focus. One model that helps with this is to consider three areas of focus, inner, outer, and other.
1. Inner focus – This is the focus on our self. We are seeing the world in terms of impact to our life. We are using intuition and our embedded values, and making decisions for our self.
2. Outer focus – Our world is made up of layers upon layers of complex systems. This is the construct from which everything operates, and includes systems such as corporate, biological, financial, legal, and educational. When our focus is here, we are trying to work within the constraints of the construct. This includes strategizing.
3. Other focus – This is the focus on other people and our relationships. We are utilizing our connections to other people. We use this focus to enhance our relationships, and see the world from some one else’s view.
At any given instant, our focus can only be in one of these three areas. One measure of success is how intentional we can be in focus. Being able to exclude other thoughts and remain on task. But another measure of success is how flexible we are in switching between these three areas, and understanding the impact of one upon the other.
It is an interesting concept, and it makes me ask, “Where is my focus at the moment? Where should it be?”