It begins with clearly outlining an objective, focusing on the specific, desired outcome. Next you apply that focus to an external effort, applying the previously determined strategies and methods to achieve said outcome.
To put it more clearly, when we leverage our internal focus (intent) to some outside task (external effort), we’re more effective in our efforts. Think of an athlete who is “in the zone”, or a skilled expert mastering their craft. They both share in a laser-like focus. A focus so intentional it leaves no room for doubt, fear, worry, second guessing or any other negatively hindering obstacle.
External Focus > Internal Doubt
It’s safe to say we all have our doubts, we all struggle from time to time with the anxiety and fear of “what if”.. Often times, when we embark on something great and set out to achieve something beyond that of which we’ve previously experienced, we are faced with heightened levels of anxiety, fear, doubt and worry. Solution...stop; don’t give energy and valuable mental real estate to the self doubt and anxiety of the “what if’s” that may never happen. Instead, focus on the objective and task before you, and your attention that would otherwise be the crippling anchor to keep you stagnant, can now be applied and leveraged to be effective in this endeavor.
Yes, I know.. This seems too simply to be effective. And, if this is true, why would anyone suffer from the paralyzing effects of this worry and anxiety? I can’t answer for anyone else, but I can certainly speak for myself, and share my novice level of understanding on how the brain works in these situations.
We have an amazingly complex and highly adaptive brain, however, we often don’t take advantage of it’s plasticity. Forgive my lack of fancy neurological jargon, but we have a great ability to “shape” and “mold” our brain. By creating feedback loops, and understanding the basic abilities of firing patterns in the brain. The phrase “neurons that fire together, wire together” is a great depiction of how we can leverage our brain's plasticity to a specific “state”. When we quickly shift our focus from fear, worry, anxiety at these early stages of a challenging task, and istead associate this process with the excitement and thrill of the desired outcome, we can develop these “firing patterns” and create a “positive feedback loop”.
Personally, when I spend any time in thought on the “what if” scenarios, I am quickly spiraling into greater and deeper fear, worry and panic. 100% of the time, when this occurs, I am ineffective at whatever I’ve set out to do. All of the time spent in worry and panic would be much better applied to the task or objective. We cannot do both, we simply can’t overanalyze and become crippled by internal doubt while moving forward in achievement. The times I act and adjust, I don’t allow those doubts to gain traction and hijack my thoughts. Instead, the momentum of achievement begins to grow and before long, those doubts, fears and worries of “what if” become irrelevant. We waste valuable energy fearing the uncertainty and unlikely possibility of an undesired outcome, when we would be much better spending that same energy toward the very task and objective which we embarked.
Desired Outcome X Greater Outcome = Exponential Results
I believe myself to be very momentum driven, meaning when I’m in a rhythm or in the “zone”, it’s very difficult for me to stop or get out. Conversely, if I have no momentum, or am stagnant, it takes a greater amount of effort and energy for me to “get going”. The same is true for our internal narrative about success and our ability. When we achieve a desired goal or accomplish a task, we are then propelled into the next tier of accomplishment and can embark on a greater challenge.. If we take advantage of this concept. The phrase “success begets success”, is a concise explanation of this principle, when we are fresh off the “high” of achievement, we have a strong belief in our ability.. Leverage this feeling and momentum to the next, rise and repeat. Take this principle and apply it as soon as you’ve achieved even the smallest, seemingly insignificant outcome, and multiply the results. Meet a deadline, set a bigger one immediately after. Set some personal record, set one even higher. This will provide the level of “self-drive” and ambition that is required to ultimately maximize yourself. If we truly believe our potential to be nearly limitless, why wouldn’t we take advantage of this natural “high” of achievement to take great action towards greater results?
Internal Focus = Best Self
For these reasons (and many more), internal focus is one of the primary pillars to self mastery and ultimately becoming the best version of yourself. When we become more clear of who we are, where we are succeeding, where we are most valuable, and how we can leverage all of these things to better serve those around us, we can double down on the efforts to improve.