At church on Wednesday nights, I would sometimes do a particular game with the elementary-aged children that I call, "You Got To Be Ready." In this game, the kids would be in a semi-circle and I would hold a ball. The object of the game is to be ready to catch the ball, because if I pass the ball to you and you drop it, you'll be out of the game. That alone doesn't sound hard, but I would purposefully distract you and try to "psych you out" so that catching the ball would be hard. For example, I might be looking at you but I'll pass the ball to someone else. Or I might say something like, "Nice shoes," and if you look at your shoes, I'll pass the ball to you, which you'll most likely drop.
The game could be a stressful one, because you truly don't know when I'll pass the ball to you. Plus, if you're the type who is easily distracted, the game would be even harder for you. Some kids, needless to say, have a hard time with the game. But then you have the select few who are very good at it because they have good focus. The game solely teaches you to stay focus. Those with the best focus win, while those with focus issues fail almost immediately.
Here's the thing about focus: you can't medicate yourself to better focus, you can't breathe enough defused essential oils to sharpen your focus, and you can't eat your way to better focus. In order to have strong focus, you need to TRAIN yourself to focus. With my experience with kids, the best (and dare I say ONLY) way to strengthen their focus is to help them train for it.
Let's go back to that ball game. How does that game truly help you focus? Well, because there is only one thing in that game that you need to focus on: the ball. For the next few moments, nothing else in life is more important than that ball. Everybody in the game has a focal point, and if their eyes drift away from the focal point, that person would lose. As the person holding the ball, I purposefully look for the kids who seem distracted. If a kid's eyes shift just for a split second, I'll pass the ball to that kid -- and that kid usually drops the ball. It only takes a split second of distraction to keep you from winning.
While winning isn't everything, well, a game is simply pointless if there are no winners. So, the other way that game helps you to focus is by giving you a drive to win. In that game, the last person standing wins. Focusing on one point and having the drive to win will help sharpen your focus so that you could be successful in whatever goals you decide to pursue.
Going back to the children, one of the biggest reasons many of them have focus issues is because they don't have a drive to win. Yes, they have a focal point, but they just don't care enough to succeed. Whenever I had the children play soccer when I was a physical education teacher, the team who had no drive to win were usually (okay, were ALWAYS) the losers. But once I, Mr. Jones, decide to play soccer with them, all of the sudden, EVERYBODY had a drive to win. The team that I joined had a drive to win because I was on their team. The opposing team had a drive to win because they simply wanted to beat me. Whenever I get into the game, the competition gets real! But if I don't join the game, then only a few kids have a drive to win while the rest just didn't care.
When I gave my daughter a book challenge, she spent every day of the week reading a book. She had to read 10 books in seven days, and these books had 100 pages or slightly less. Instead of watching television, playing on her Kindle, or doing anything else, she spent a lot of time reading books -- because I promised her a reward if she completed the assignment. She wanted to win, just like a typical child.
I've talked so much about children, what about the adults? As a fitness trainer, I could tell who has the drive to improve themselves and who doesn't have that drive. Those who want to win (that is, accomplish their goals), are the ones slimming down, toning up, and clearing up health issues. But those with no drive to win are the ones who put in little effort into their health journeys. They are the ones who always have an excuse why they didn't exercise, or why they deserve a beer or ice cream, or why they shouldn't push themselves too hard, or why they can't do this, that, or the other. The ones who want to win would exercise if they have a broken foot -- they can't do everything that they want to, but they're still going to do something.
See, if you want to go forward, then you have to build up your focus muscles. You build these muscles by having a focal point in your life and having the drive to hit that mark. If you do everything passively, don't expect a prize. If you do everything with purpose, then you could learn another language, get a better education, grow a big garden, lose that weight, and cut out bad habits. In other words, you need to keep your eyes straight ahead and walk in one direction with purpose.
I think about a passage in the Bible that says, "Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways." (Proverb 4:25-26). Pick a goal (focal point), look straight ahead, walk with purpose, and have the drive to hit the mark. If you have no focal point in your life, then you won't know where you ought to go, and if you don't know where to go, well, you'll just stay where you are. Ten and twenty years will come and go and you'd wonder why your life isn't going anywhere. But once you have a focal point and a drive to get there, time would fly by, and you'd look back and be proud of how much you have improved as a person.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.