I remember when I thought I understood focus. Drake’s Nothing Was The Same just dropped and Aubrey Graham or, maybe Quintin Miller in afterthought, had penned some classic bars that really stuck with me. “Overly focused, it’s far from time to rest now.”
I can recall how invigorated I felt. I made ‘No Days Off‘ my mantra and vowed to commit everything I had towards making my dream come true. And, in a sense, I did. I bought a planner, my free-time became more targeted, and I made long, and short terms, goals that I periodically monitored.
I was focused, but I had not scratched the surface on the type of focus Drake was speaking on. There was nothing overt about my focus, and in turn, the progress I wanted to see alluded me.
We don’t focus like we think we do. I know I did not focus like I thought I did. Although I had honed in on what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it, I had not truly applied myself in every facet of my life. I had not truly grasped the concept of time, made any sacrifices, nor was I was tracking my progress.
These are the qualities of someone who is locked in. It’s the difference between the people who want things to happen and the people who make things happen, and they’re paramount to achieving your dreams.
Conscious of Time
I will never come to understand the overused expression: “I’m bored.” You cannot be bored unless you’re rich, and even when you’re rich there would probably be too much to do to be bored.
One who is conscious of time has no time to be bored. When you are weary of the weight each second holds, you will find activities, tasks, projects, planning session, and studies to somehow get you a step closer to your impending goals.
Back in my “No Days Off” phase I was conscious of time but not weary of it. I would be sure to execute the obligations ahead of me, but I was doing the bare minimum. And that is the problem with a lot of us.
When you are truly focused, you are keen to time and the essence of it.
Waking up early, mapping out your week, prioritizing each second, weighing if it’s beneficial to your progression or not, takes a specific mindset. Every day, you have to consciously make the decision to be aware of the time you have and making sure you’re getting the most out of it. And that goes for factoring in recreational activities as well.
Just as you budget your finances — allotting money to the most pertinent responsibilities and spreading the remains graciously where you see fit — time, too, should be budgeted. When you do so efficiently, not only can you put in the work in ways your competition isn’t, but you can make time for play and rest, as well.
Everyone knows the trite sayings: “time is money,” “wasting time is robbing self,” “the biggest mistake you can make in life is to waste your time.” Yada, yada. But rarely do you see people change anything about their normal routine.
In what way have you maximized that amount of hours you’re awake in order to pursue that which you want the most? If you do not have a sufficient answer, can you say you really want that varsity roster spot? Or that fashion design internship? Or that career you always wanted?
What does Kevin Hart, Lebron James, and 50 Cent have in common, besides being richer than you and I? They all rise at 4.am. They all understand the importance of time, and they made a choice to make the most of it.
When you are focused making tough sacrifices becomes less of a burden. Focus is about never losing sight of where you see yourself, despite where you are and basing all of your decisions on what best suits that specific vision.
Most of us have dreams and desires that we are passionate about, but are too distracted by the now to make the sacrifices to get there.
NBA players are allowed to have their phone throughout the duration of the NBA season. There are no policies that regulate the use of their phone on their personal time, as far as it does not demean or conflict with the intentions of the NBA which, for the most part, gives players full reign.
But a select few NBA players do something a bit different. During the playoffs, Lebron not only cuts off his phone, but shuts down his social media, and tv consumption. Zoning in and focusing on the prize.
That is what true focus is — making a change in your life to position yourself for what you’re working towards.
Understanding where you are on your journey is crucial to personal success. It’s necessary to know how close (or far) you are from reaching your goals, and the only way to do so is to track your progress.
Back when I heard that Drake verse I was doing what I needed to do, but if I had been evaluating my progress I would have seen that I needed to do more. Whether it was waking up earlier, working more hours or setting benchmarks for how much I needed to save, there were limits that I never knew I could supersede because I never saw that I even needed to supersede them.
One of the main reasons that we do not tap into that next-level focus is because we simply do not know where we want to go or what we want to do. Because once you discover your purpose, you will be driven to do everything needed to ensure it is fulfilled.
Nowadays I can’t buy enough time. I make sacrifices everyday, ones I can hardly bare for future rewards. And I always keep track of my developments or the lack thereof. I’m not perfect by any means, but my progress compared to when I “thought” I was tuned in doesn’t compare.
Next time you think you’re focused, think again, and challenge yourself to go to a level you have yet to reach.