Saturday, June 7, 2008

Focus for Results

Wow, this was a hectic week -- full of good activities! However, living at a hectic pace can get tiring, and it isn't necessary to be frantic all the time. The way we live our lives reflects our patterns of thinking and our upbringing. These patterns have brought us to where we are and probably there are some aspects of our lives that we'd prefer to change. Once a level of awareness is established, that other ways of life are possible, it becomes a matter of deciding where to focus, instead of where to hide from our problems. It's not a matter of being perpetually unhappy, it's a matter of relishing challenges (a universal human quality) and tackling them with enthusiasm.


One good way to focus is to think of one area you'd like to work on: organization, dressing better, making more friends, healing a relationship, saving money. Focus on one thing at a time, and the wonderful surprise is that progress in one area has a multiplier effect that will help other areas as well.

I started this year with a focus on organization. I even made a cute little sign that said "organize" and posted it by my desk. Little by little, I began to get one thing organized, and then another, and then another. It's a continual contest with chaos, but I'm getting better at being more organized with less effort. This has paid off unexpectedly with my dissertation writing.

Multiplier Effect

Organizing my thoughts in my writing has always been a challenge. Now I'm better at it (and organizing my house) and I see more clearly how to organize my thoughts as I put them down on paper, or on the computer screen. I'm also getting more effective at organizing my communication class material.

Copy Someone Else

Finally, after you decide what to focus on, which you can always change later, find people to copy. Style-meister Tim Gunn recommends looking at magazine pictures of people whose style you admire, and gradually your look will more closely resemble your ideal chic person. If you want to focus on health, find someone who has successfully dealt with health challenges and find a behavior to copy. You don't have to know the person to her to help you; that's what blogs and books and articles are for.

Focus on one thing at a time and find a role model, just for that one single quality. You may be intrigued by the style of Hilary Duff, but she probably won't be able to help you be a better parent. But if you feel better about the image of yourself you're projecting onto the world, you're likely to be a better parent, or partner. Improvement in one area effortlessly helps you in other areas.