Jim Kwik and Dandapani-Learn to concentrate-video
Concentration is not a personality trait; but rather a skill to be practised. You are not born with it; you have to learn the skill on how to concentrate and practise it; like you would a muscle.
Concentration is the pinnacle of all you do in life. The rewards you will get, far outweigh the effort you put into training your brain to concentrate. Like learning any new skill, it takes repetition and patience. We have practised being distracted all our lives, so when you start practising the skill of active focus and concentration, it takes time to change the neurological patterns in the brain that we have formed over time.
Firstly let’s define exactly what concentration is:
It is the ability to keep your awareness on one thing for an extended period of time. For example, when you are with a friend, does your mind often wonder all over the place and you struggle to concentrate on the conversation with your friend? It is actually not your mind that wonders but rather your awareness that shifts in the mind to different parts of the brain. When this happens you can train your awareness to come back to the present moment.
Step #1: Deal with distractions:
We have to be disciplined with our will power to first determine what are the triggers (internal-fear of failure, self-doubt, lack of motivation)and (external-mobile devices, technology, people, pets, hobbies, bad habits, outer circumstances)causing the distraction and then we can consciously recognise when we allow ourselves to be distracted and take a different course of action. If you don’t control distractions, they will control you and keep you from making progress towards your goals and will keep you from being successful.
Most people blame their cell phones and mobile devices (technology) for distracting them. The truth however is that WE are the ones who need to use our willpower to discipline ourselves to put our devices off when we need to concentrate on other tasks or conversations we are engaged in. If we don’t do this, instead of us using technology; it will use us! Your conscious mind (your will and your rational thinking) needs to work with your subconscious mind (your past patterns and programming) so that your mind and body are in alignment to concentrate on one thing/person effectively.
Step#2: Practise Concentration:
The most effective way to do this is to put your focus on ONE thing at a time. Practice on a friend-when you feel your focus is shifting to other thoughts, draw it back to the present perfect moment-bring your awareness back to the conversation with your friend. Engage in deliberate and ACTIVE listening-be more interested and invested in what your friend is saying than thinking about how you will respond and being more interesting. Keep repeating drawing your attention back to the conversation, this practise build a new neurological network in the brain and it develops into a habit. Soon your concentration ability will be an art that you have rewired into your subconscious mind and it will be an automatic skill you have acquired-like learning how to drive a car. At first it takes great effort and conscious concentration until you have got the motions by repeated practice of driving a car and then you find yourself driving somewhere and when you get to your destination you don’t even know how you got there. Your subconscious mind was programmed like a computer and it got your there on a non-conscious level. This is the same process that will happen with practiced awareness and concentration-it will eventually become second nature and it will happen effortlessly.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a by-product of concentration. You cannot be mindful if you can’t concentrate. When you feel your mind is ‘all over the place’, it is more that your awareness (imagine it as a ball of light) is moving from one part of the brain to another causing ‘brain fog’ and lack of concentration. Your mind doesn’t shift, but rather your awareness is travelling around the brain causing further distraction, less energy and confusion and low self-confidence.
Be kind to yourself while you are training this ball of light to focus on one thing at a time. Remember you have spent most of your life practising being distracted and it is now a subconscious habit that runs on autopilot. As you install the new hardware of concentration into your brain you will be less distracted and mindfulness will become your new installed program which will increase your learning capacity, renewed energy to create and a calm and centred mind and body.