I’ve noticed one pattern in every:
- Successful entrepreneur
- Enlightened spiritual guru
- Happy married couple
- Record breaking athlete
I’ve heard one person — from each category above — mention that “focus” is the key to their success, happiness, and progress.
After burning through books on performance, happiness, business, spirituality, philosophy, and anything else related to life enjoyment… I think I’ve found the answer.
The key to maximum life enjoyment that is (with a byproduct of success in any of your endeavors.)
A person can make himself happy, or miserable, regardless of what is actually happening “outside,” just by changing the contents of consciousness. — Mihaly Csikszentmihaly
Focus is controlled consciousness.
Or, focus is controlling the “contents of consciousness.”
When the contents of your consciousness, the things you are focused on, can be made sense of in a positive manner; your life becomes positive.
Meaning, if you strive for clear, unbiased perception from an advantageous perspective of any given situation, you will feel incredible.
This also brings up a point made by Leo from Actualized.org about how everything is a figment of consciousness. Example: an atom is a figment of consciousness. It is a label we created to make sense of something when we became conscious of it. That is a tad more metaphysical, but it’s interesting to make the connection.
By maintaining focus on individual “figments of consciousness” — instead of split between 10 figments — we can lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.
Content Of Consciousness
I want you to think of your mind as a supercomputer.
Your ability to process information is dependent on a few things, but I want to bring attention to your RAM.
RAM — or “random access memory” — is one of the most important parts of a computer, it determines performance.
The more RAM you use up with different programs running, open browser tabs, and the performance requirements of what you have running, the slower your performance will be.
This is no different from your focus, what you hold in your conscious attention.
Humans can process 126 bits of information per second. That adds up to 185 billion bits of information in your lifetime.
Most people live with multiple high-demand programs running that are draining the limited creative energy they have.
- Thoughts about regretful past mistakes
- Thoughts about stressful future happenings
- Desires of hunger and entertainment to escape those thoughts
- An internal cry to break out of their conditioned way of living
- A list of mixed-priority tasks that need to be finished
- Open loops of tasks they were supposed to complete but forgot about
The list goes on and on.
The modern mind has it’s attention split in infinite directions by default. We go about our lives stressed and near sickness. Rather than living in the present with singular focus and a worry free mind, we are the opposite. Living in a false reality created by split attention.
When we hold too much of the past or future in the contents of our consciousness, chaos ensues. The mind tends toward disorder. If not kept in check, we lose the sense of control over our lives that leads to enjoyment. This is accomplished through controlled consciousness.
8 Steps To Reclaiming Your Focus
To break out of our robotic ways of living, we must first become aware of how it is impacting our life.
From chaos to order, we must bring out attention back to center and choose what deserves our attention.
The less RAM we use — the more singular our focus — the more enjoyable life becomes. Order returns and the sense of control over our lives results in a deep satisfaction with life itself.
1) Choose A Lagging Area In Your Life
We are only as strong as our weakest link. The areas that are lagging the furthest behind hold the lowest hanging fruit. These are the areas that cause the most problems.
Think, what area of my life is consistently causing problems that if they were solved, your quality of life would shoot through the roof.
Money? Dating? Mental health? Self-esteem? Social life? Health and energy levels? Take a walk, contemplate, and choose the one that, when fixed, the results would ripple through other areas of your life.
For the sake of this post, and a common problem for many, let’s talk about money as a lagging area.
2) Gain Clarity On The Fundamentals
I want to make a distinction between:
- Basics, principles, or fundamentals
- Tactics, hacks, and technical details.
Fundamentals drive results. Technical details can further results, but only once the fundamentals are mastered, systemized, and habitual.
Fundamentals move levers. Technical details present the opportunity for traps, overwhelm, and creating problems that don’t exist.
For our focus area of money, you need traffic and an offer. This is a universal principle for getting what you want.
If you don’t have traffic:
- A social media audience
- Paid ads or promotions
- A community or group
- Organic search results
- Direct outreach (i.e. cold email)
Nobody will see your offer.
If you don’t have a compelling offer:
- Digital or physical product
- Freelance or consulting service
- Cohort based course or online tutoring
- Membership offer or community
You won’t have anywhere to send traffic to.
Like if you are in the dating market.
If you are a high-value “offer” but don’t put yourself in “traffic” heavy environments, good luck.
3) Create An Ability-Based Goal
There is nothing wrong with focusing on looking better, gaining more followers, getting the most engagement, having the hottest partner, etc. Those have their use cases and can be beneficial. I would recommend paying mind to these, but not making them your primary focus.
The problem: vanity-based goals are much more out of our control than ability-based goals.
These steps are not linear, it will be difficult to create an ability-based goal unless you are educated on the lever-moving actions you can take on a daily basis.
In our case, if I want to build an audience (traffic) and sell a digital product (offer) to make money — you will need to execute on levers such as:
- Writing 3 short-form posts a day (like tweets)
- Writing 1 long-form post a week (newsletter / blog)
- Condensing that long post into a medium form post (like a thread of LinkedIn post)
- Spending 30-60 minutes writing out a curriculum for your digital product
In this case, you could make it a goal to write 1000 high-quality words a day, and gauge yourself on the writing (instead of the results that come from it.
Process over outcome.
Speaking of writing, this is everything we go over in The 2 Hour Writer.
4) Self-Educate After You Start
The fundamentals will get you started, but you need to learn how to apply those fundamentals to your specific situation.
Too many people get trapped in “tutorial hell,” try to soak in as much information as possible, and never start.
- Start and fail fast
- Identify what caused you to fail
- Find specific information to overcome it
- Fail again and let experience compound with time
Stop trying to figure everything out before you start. That’s called mental masturbation.
5) Block Out 30-60 Minutes A Day
Deep work doesn’t only apply to work. It applies to every area of your life.
When entrepreneurs want to make progress in business, they dedicate time and energy to make that progress.
When married couples want to make progress in their relationships, they dedicate time for each other.
When individuals want to make progress with their mind, they dedicate time to solitude and consciousness work — like meditation.
Distraction-free time must be made so that your attention isn’t split when it is time to engage in “deep work,” no matter the domain of life.
6) Immerse Yourself In The Content Of That Goal
For the spiritually inclined, this is “presence.”
For others, this is known as being “engaged” and tapped into a degree of the flow state.
Think of how you give your full attention to your phone when you are scrolling social media. Marketers and tech companies have entire teams dedicated to triggering a pseudo-flow state through attention capture.
When you get sucked into your phone, there is nothing else held in your attention. Most use this to escape reality rather than tapping into reality itself.
If your goal is related to relationships, practice filling your attention with the entirety of the other person. Their body, movements, words. Use all of your senses to feel into the moment and make that the forefront of your consciousness.
7) A Moment Of Recognition
None of this comes easy. You will fail. That’s just how things are.
A distraction will register in your awareness, your attention will split, and you may get sucked into a negative feeling that the distraction triggered.
All it takes is a moment of recognition to snap yourself out of it.
Whether it be complaining through a grueling workout or being scared to approach someone new because of the identity you’ve created for that person before you’ve even talked to them.
Pause, recognize that you are resisting reality, and let it flow.
Your expectation of reality is not reality.
It’s not “supposed” to be how you think it should be.
It’s supposed to be what it’s being.
8) Put In The Metaphorical Reps
Everything is a muscle.
Your focus, relationships, business, fitness, spiritual practice, and habits of any kind. They grow with focus, ample energy to fuel performance and recovery, and direct experience so you can double down on what works for you.
Do not expect quick results. Even with steroids (like courses, coaching, methods and systems) you still have to put in the reps. You can’t inject some test, sit on the couch, and expect to be the next Ronnie Coleman.
Treat every area of your life as a science project.
- Identify a problem
- Set a desired outcome
- Test different solutions
- Find one that works
- Replicate the results
From there, continue building the muscle toward your desired outcome. Then, you will be experienced enough to know whether you want to bulk, cut, or maintain.
— Dan Koe
What Happened This Week
My new course, The 2 Hour Writer, is off to a great presale. It launches on the 27th and we have 150+ students waiting for the curriculum to drop.
If you want to learn a skill that will enhance your content, sales, perceived value, and any other marketable skillset you have, check it out here.
A new YouTube video went live on my 3 part framework for effortless productivity.
We are having a diet and lifestyle workshop inside Modern Mastery next week. Our goal is to help everyone create their own system for their health goals, whether it be building muscle, dropping fat, enhancing your energy for work, or just looking good (in a sustainable manner).