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Benefits of Concentration

  1. Output is increased. You simply get more done when you are 100% attuned to your task. That means you get more letters written, papers corrected, projects completed, and goals achieved.

  2. You perform optimally. It makes sense. If you are giving total attention to something, you have the greatest chance of doing your best work. If you are preoccupied, it will be difficult to excel since you’re only partially applying yourself to your performance. Isaac Newton said “If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.”

  3. Time invested in projects is decreased. This is particularly important for tedious jobs. If you don’t feel like doing something in the first place (e.g., paying bills) wouldn’t you rather have it over in an hour instead of stretching it out to three hours? Giving full attention saves time initially because tasks will not take as long to complete. It also saves the time it would take to correct the mistakes and omissions that are a byproduct of inattention.

  4. Confidence is increased. Ask any athlete about confidence, and they will tell you that confidence and concentration are inter-dependent; they are like the chicken and the egg. If you acquire the ability to concentrate on command, you will feel more confident because you trust that you will perform your best. This trust leads to added concentration because you are not distracted by doubts and anxieties. Also, as Chapter Five outlines, visualization (a positive form of concentration) gives you recent, frequent, successful practice which is the source of confidence.

  5. Tranquility and peace of mind are enhanced. There is a story (probably apocryphal) of a man who travels the world searching for the meaning of life. One day he climbs a high mountain to a monastery to get the advice of a monk who is reputed to be the wisest man on earth. When asked for the secret to happiness, the monk replies simply, “Do whatever you’re doing.”

    In other words, become totally immersed in whatever it is you are experiencing. Savor the taste of the food you’re eating, marvel at the beautiful sounds of the music you’re listening to, glory in the youthful exuberance and curiosity of a child. Have you heard the famous quote by Gertrude Stein about Oakland, California; “There’s no ‘there’ there.” That is true of some people. They are always “somewhere else.” They may be with someone physically, but their minds are a million miles away thinking about this meeting, worrying about that errand, or trying to figure out what someone meant when they said this. As a result they often feel frazzled. Bhagavad Gita said, “For him who has no concentration, there is no tranquility.” Concentration is a way to live fully in the moment. It can help you focus on and appreciate what you have.

  6. You can accomplish desired goals and transcend your abilities and circumstances. In an article titled “How to Make Your Mind Behave,” Frederick Robinson said, “The men who achieve important positions in life depend less upon their natural special aptitudes or inherited gifts, than on this acquired ability to fix the attention upon any specific problem and to hold the mind to that problem until they have seen it through.”

    It’s as simple as this. What do you want in life? You will increase your chances of attaining it if you cultivate the characteristics of concentration. In his book, Peak Performers, Charles Garfield found that a sense of mission (clarity of purpose and determination to achieve their “chosen project”) was a primary attribute of successful people. Identifying something you really care about and devoting yourself to that pursuit can add zest to your life and make it more meaningful.

    The next time you don’t feel like concentrating, remind yourself of the many benefits of concentration. This should provide you with enough incentive so you’ll want to apply yourself mentally. The following seven tips can put you into a “want-to-concentrate” frame of mind.



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