The human mind is an amazing thing. It can store practically unlimited amounts of information. It can critically analyze the most complex of problems. It can distill millions of bits of information into a single thought or feeling. Yet, just like a sophisticated computer or a powerful machine, you must learn how it works to take full advantage of its potential. I am about to tell you a profound but little known fact about your mind. If you will learn to take advantage of this idea, you can harness the incredible power of your mind. Ignore this information and you may unwittingly inhibit the marvelous power of your mind.
Here it is: your mind can only focus on one thing at a time. That’s it. It seems rather simple, but then, so are most of the profound truths in life. The human mind, with all its amazing capacity, simply cannot concentrate on more than one thing at once. Don’t believe it? Try this: think about climbing a mountain in Switzerland. Imagine the beautiful snow capped peaks, the fresh air, and the exhilarating vistas. Got it? Ok, now, holding that image in your mind, think about the inside of your refrigerator at home. Try to hold both thoughts in your mind at the same time. You can’t! You can alternate back and forth, but you cannot think about two things at once. This is either good news or bad news depending on what you do.
The human mind is like a stage. Only one performance can play at a time. If a competing cast enters the stage, they displace the existing performance. The good news is that YOU get to decide what is playing on the stage of your mind at any given time. Stray thoughts can attempt to invade the performance from back stage. Yet, they cannot take over unless you allow it. The trick is to decide what will get your attention and then keep focused on what is important.
Think about it this way. Imagine an assembly line in a factory. Perhaps one week the line will turn out computers, the next week it might be re-fitted to produce radios, or maybe motorcycles. What if the line manager suddenly decided to manufacture baskets and radios at the same time by alternating between baskets and radios, every other one, down the assembly line? What would be the result? It would be total chaos with few finished products, inferior quality, and a lot of wasted energy and time. The human mind is the same. If a multi-million dollar manufacturing facility can’t do two things at once, why do you think you can?
Yet, many of us try to do just that. No sooner do we get our mind working on one thing, when we remember something else to concentrate on. When we are at work, we think about home. At home, we worry about work. The phone rings, the boss calls a meeting, you remember a task that you forgot to do, and on it goes. Rare indeed is the man or woman who can truly focus his or her mind on a single task long enough to let the power of the mind work on it without interruption.
Rays of sunshine gently warm the earth. But concentrated through a magnifying glass, these same rays can start a fire or cut through steel. Rain, spread over an entire city has little effect, but concentrate the rain in one place, and you have a powerful torrent, able to generate electrical power or move anything in its path. Likewise, a person who becomes distracted by sidelines, errands, and trivial pursuits is of little effect compared to the one who learns to focus his efforts and actions. This is the key to unleashing the power of the mind. It can become a mighty tool when it is allowed to concentrate and focus.
Imagine the increased levels of personal power and effectiveness you would achieve by simply learning to do this one thing: focus your mind on the important tasks and problems of the day. Here are three effective tips to help you practice focusing your mind . . .
- Set a definite time to concentrate on a given task, project, or problem. Do not allow interruptions or stray thoughts to displace your thinking during that time.
- Keep a note pad handy to jot down stray thoughts that enter your mind when you are focusing on something else. Once these thoughts are written, you can forget about them until the appropriate time.
- If you get caught up in destructive thoughts such as guilt, worry, or fear, practice replacing them with positive, constructive thoughts.
Remember the oft-quoted success maxim, “do the most important thing now?” Why not take it a step further and THINK the most important thing at any given moment. Do this, follow these suggestions, and you will be astonished at the exciting new ideas, innovative solutions, and dynamic successes that will naturally flow to you.