Since I came into the Six Figure Mentor Community I have heard the encouragement “Take MASSIVE imperfect action!”. And immediately I thought ‘That’s me – I’m up for that’. I could see that through diligence alone I could make this work.
The advice for taking massive imperfect action is a great one and I will come back to that for a closer look at a later time.
Throughout my life I have valued being in action with purpose. That hasn’t meant that I have always applied that consistently and sometimes I have even felt flat-out fed up with ‘Being in Action’.
One of the things that I found has held me back in spite of my best efforts to be in action has been taking action with Intentional Focus.
This is why I can respect the value of the topic of my post this week. In fact my respect for this quality of Finding Focus grows as I apply myself to it with a new approach.
Recently I have come across the observation that there are at least 4 levels of Attention:
- Selective – block out features from view in our surrounding environment. Some sources refer to this type of attention as focalised attention as it is specifically tuned on a small target/objective
- Divided – this is where Multi-tasking reigns supreme. There is much to be said about how clever our ability to train our attention on achieving multiple tasks can be. In todays increasingly hectic/data-driven/time-poor world it is easy to consider that this is the essential skill to have in order to succeed in fulfilling our lives in work-recreation-and relationships.
- Sustained – by its nature sustained attention is inherently Selective as well and is relevant to the length of one’s attention span.
- Executive – assimilates all three of the above forms of attention – yes even Divided. Prioritises different opportunities in action towards a particular goal. Selects which areas to focus on in a given moment. Sustains that focus for the duration of the project until completion.
The main point that I have learnt from reflecting on these four levels of attention is that instead of feeling disappointed about following points of distraction, I can now notice that I have simply allowed my course of attention to shift.
Many people consider that there is only states of attention and inattention and that whenever a distraction diverts attention that it is a sign of an inability to focus. However, when I now notice other thoughts of diverted attention crowding my mind it seems easier to simply recognise it as a Divided form of attention.
And when I notice that it becomes easier to make a choice about how to manage the different demands on my attention. In that position I at least feel I have more control to prioritise my Execution of attention.
Where I am committed to following through on a course of action with Selective focus, all I need to do at that point is redirect my attention back to my priority at hand.
Getting control of how to focus our attention is a critical part of creative growth as much as it is for growing a business. It is normally not given much thought, however.
When doing something creative we mostly expect that it is something that we should enjoy doing. But to follow through with consistent action like I covered last week in this blog series, inevitably means that at some point the call for creative action will not seem the most convenient or even enjoyable thing to do. That’s when Focus is required.