The Past = A Road To Nowhere
If we focus our thoughts on what happened or what should of happened, we will not change the past or improve the present: it is a road to nowhere. We cannot bring back the past, and if we try, the present can suffer as a result.
The Future = A Road Under Construction
We cannot control the future. The future emerges as we focus on the present moment. Heavily focusing on the outcome can enable us to easily lose what we are trying to accomplish – our goals. We need to focus on what we are doing, presently, and in time, the road under construction will become our desired path.
The Present: Keys to Stay Focused
- Refocus: First, we need to become aware of our lost focus so it does not disrupt our performance. Second, we need to redirect our attention to our goal.
- Use Task Goals: We need to focus on the process while not losing sight of the outcome, or our end goals. We need to pay close attention to the challenges associated with an event. Focusing on the task, or process, will help us direct our attention on what needs to be achieved in the present moment.
- Keep It Simple: If we think too much or too hard, we can produce strain and over-analysis. We need to be relaxed with our actions and thought patterns. If too many thoughts fill our minds, we will not be fully engaged in our performance. If you are an over-analytical thinker, like myself, learn to keep it simple.
- Plan For The Competition: While over-thinking can produce strain, worry, and unsettled feelings, we need to choose carefully when this increased thought process takes place. A competition plan involves planning where to focus our energy at different parts of an event, and can be prepared in advance. The more we practice this competition plan, the more automatic it will become during our performance. As a result, we will not overanalyze and stress in the moment.
- Make Back-Up Plans: We need to plan in advance how we will react in an adverse situation. A back-up strategy will increase our self-confidence and help us focus on the present task should an unexpected event arise.
- Practice Concentration: We need to know what to focus on, and be able to practice focusing in ways that are similar to the type of concentration needed for our tasks at hand.
- Direct Your Attention: Where we focus our attention can vary according to the demands of the activity, and this focus will change as the activity demands change. Furthermore, people may vary in how they focus their attention, depending on what works best for them. For example, some people may find working on an assignment at coffee shop helps them focus on the task at hand, whereas others may need a quieter environment to direct their attention.
Die to the past every moment. You don’t need it. Only refer to it when it is absolutely relevant to the present. Feel the power of this moment and the fullness of Being. Feel you presence.
True power is within, and it is available to you now.
– Eckhart Tolle, “The Power of Now”
Jackson, S.A. & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). Flow in Sports: The Keys to Optimal Experiences and Performances. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Tolle, E. (1999). The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Novato, CA: New World Library.