The Importance of Focus

–Exploring focus through body, mind, and spirit.

Our focus dictates how we see our world and how we interact with those around us. That leads to the life that we live and to some degree our happiness within that life.

There are two definitions of the word focus that I would like to share

  1. “Center of interest of activity.” – When we think about our thoughts and we talk about our cognitive processes, we look at what our focus is in the sense of what are we looking at?
  2. “Seeing things clearly”-  Having an accurate and true picture of what is really going on in our lives.

Thinking about our emotions and the events taking place in our world, we can take a closer look at what story are we telling ourselves about what we are seeing show up in our world.

How is our unconscious mind processing the information and is it telling us the story that will allow us to live our most desired life?

Center of Interest or activity

We have a tremendous amount of information coming at us all the time. The environment we live in has millions of bits of information available at all times. That includes what is going on internally with you as well. Physically, mentally and emotionally. The unconscious mind can process 11 million bits of information a second. The conscious mind can only process 40-50 per second.

Imagine you have a huge dump truck filled with toothpicks. It is dumping out 11 million toothpicks per second (what your unconscious mind is processing) and you have your hands out and they only hold 50 toothpicks (what your conscious mind can process). Every second, sploosh, 11 million, you grab 50, another second, sploosh, 11 million, you grab 50. You can imagine that there is a lot of information that you are not getting access to.

This is why working with a hypnotist works when you need help remembering details of an event that you were present for but you can not remember a lot about the event. Your unconscious mind is processing so much more that it does hold that information but your conscious mind just doesn’t have access to it.

We have so much information coming at us that we have to have a way to filter all that information in a way that will reduce the complexity of that input in a way that our limited nervous systems can cope with it.

In NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) we talk about how we process all the information that we have coming at us all at one time. The process is delete, distort and generalize.

Deletion is the process where we selectively pay attention to certain aspects of our experience and not others. We overlook or omit other information. Without deletion we would be faced with too much information to handle with our conscious minds.  Distortion is when we make shifts in our actual experience. Imagine seeing a rope and thinking it is a snake. If someone is scared of snakes and they see something even close to how it looks then their filters can lead them to believe it is a snake they are seeing.

Generalization is the process where we draw global conclusions based on one or two experiences. At its best, generalization is one of the ways that we learn, by taking the information we have and drawing broad conclusions about the meaning of the effect of those conclusions. This is also how we can end up with phobias since we regulate all experiences of a certain type to all have the same meaning. If you think about an adult that is scared of dogs. If they have always “not been a dog person” you may find that early in their lives they had an encounter with a dog that wasn’t pleasant. From that moment on they generalized all dogs to mean the same thing.

Think about two people living through the exact same event but they may have totally different experiences around that event. The difference in how they see that event can come from a difference in what they focus on.

Be very mindful of what you focus on. What we focus on is what shows up in our lives.

There is a saying that where attention goes, energy flows. This is why it is so important to focus on what you do want and not on what you don’t want. The unconscious mind does not process negatives. If I were to tell you to not think of a blue bear then you would have to think of a blue bear to then not think about it. It is the same way with how we program our minds of what to look for. If we were focusing on what we don’t want, then guess what will show up in your life? More of what you don’t want.

There is also science behind how this process works as well. There is a network of neurons located in the brainstem called the reticular activating system (RAS) that project anteriorly to the hypothalamus to mediate behavior and is responsible for our wakefulness, our ability to focus, our fight-flight response and how we ultimately perceive the world. It can control what we perceive in our consciousness, essentially a gatekeeper of information. A system in our brain that looks for what we want it to focus on. We program the RAS on what it should look for. Focus matters.

Think about a time you were considering buying something that you really wanted. You were really focused on that item and then all of sudden you would start to see that item everywhere. When I was looking to purchase my car, a red Mazda, I started to see red Mazdas on the freeway everyday when I was driving to work.

Seeing things clearly

There are times in our lives when we may have emotions and feelings show up that we are not sure where they came from or we may label them inappropriate. We may even push them away because we don’t want to deal with them at the moment. These are the things in our lives that need attention. It is your unconscious mind presenting something to you it thinks you need to deal with. Life will throw ping pong balls before it throws bowling balls. Deal with these items before they get too big. You can get clarity on what these things are trying to tell you.

Allowing you to see a situation clearly so you can learn from it and move forward. Greater clarity (focus) leads to growth. Instead of pushing them away, you can welcome them and realize that they are not only here for  purpose but they are also part of you.

Being aware of what you put your attention on and having clarity on what is in your life are two great aspects of focus.

I would like to share an exercise with you that will allow you to experience focus from a different viewpoint and hopefully allow you to see how changing your focus can change your perspective.

Focus Meditation

  1. Choose a piece of music that you enjoy. Preferably one with multiple instruments.
  2. Get comfortable and settle in to meditate. If you have a practice you can just follow your normal preferred method.
  3.  If you do not normally meditate then find a comfortable sitting position and relax. Being fully in the moment and in the space where you are at. Gently relax and follow your breath. One way to do this is to count each inhalation and exhalation. Also, counting the holding of the breath. As an example, breathe in for a count of 4, then hold that breath for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four and then hold that for a count of four and then start over. There are many great instruction books and audios on meditating. Find a practice that works best for you.
  4. Play the song you have chosen and settle into your meditation.
  5. Listen to the song and be fully present with the music.
  6. Now, Focus on just one instrument. Hear the music from the point of that one instrument. Enjoying how this piece of music sounds with this focus.
  7. After you have focused on that one instrument, shift your focus to another instrument and also experience the song from that point of view.
  8. Do this for each instrument you can hear in the song and then end by changing your focus to hear how all the instruments sound together.

When you finish this meditation, take some time to think about how your focus changed how you related to this song.  Take some time to think about how what you focus on in your life has shown up for you and how you can adjust that to get better outcomes and have a happier life.


Jason Jurado
Jason Jurado
Jason is the owner of One Path Coaching where he works with clients to support them in designing and living the life they desire. Jason has had two major passions for as long as he can remember; supporting others on their personal journey and writing. Jason's earliest story was written about a trip his family took to visit his grandmother in the hospital when he was in the third grade. He has continued to write travel stories, fiction, and poetry throughout his life. Since he has gone full-time with his business over the past year he has been writing articles about mental health, wellness, and spirituality and posting them on his social media accounts.  Jason discovered meditation at a very young age through his martial arts practice and has continued to study and practice mindfulness and meditation since then. After graduating High School Jason joined the U.S Marine Corps and spent five years traveling the world. During that time he was stationed in Japan and continued his education there. After getting out of the Marine Corps, Jason went into Retail leadership where he was also an area manager, and trainer and worked as part of the regional HR team. The experience he gained in these roles supports his work in teaching others about leadership and how to improve their communication skills. Jason’s formal training is in Neuro-Linguistics (NLP), Hypnosis, Time Line Therapy, and Recently Polyvagal Theory. This year, Jason has done several podcasts and video interviews about stress management and anxiety relief and also talked about how people can use NLP to live the life they desire. In October of 2022, Jason will be part of the NLP Master Summit.

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