Discover the Magical Power of Intentional Focus

I know you hear catch words like intentionality and focus all the time. Maybe you think it’s just a bunch of hogwash, but intentional focus is a real thing. How do I know? I practice kick-ass karate!

Well, the kick-ass part might be an exaggeration. I’m only a green belt and I might be one forever, but something I’ve learned in karate is how to focus, and yes, it’s intentional. On the other hand it’s also an act of letting go.

Intentional Focus in the Dojo

After six months of not training in the dojo due to COVID-19, my daughter and I have recently started training again. And it’s fucking great. It’s exercise. It keeps Annie busy. And I’m learning some kick-ass moves. But seriously, the best thing about it is that training in the martial arts is an act of intentional focus. Here’s how it works.

When you enter a martial arts class you bow at the door. Sure, this is a sign of respect to those who have higher rank, to those who have trained before you. But there’s another reason we bow. It’s simply a way to stop and acknowledge that we’re leaving all our worldly problems behind so that we can focus on practicing karate.

That’s intentional focus. But did you catch the part about letting go?

In Order to Focus, You Have to Let Shit Go

The first step in having stronger focus is to stop thinking about all the other crap. Believe me, I know there’s a lot to worry about these days. I also know we have more distractions in today’s world than perhaps at any other time in history. But that doesn’t mean that we have to let all that stuff control us.

I’d like to challenge you to try a quick exercise. Stop reading. Take a deep breath and count to ten. Clear you mind of all other thoughts. What do you feel? Calm? Nothing?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. But chances are fair that you felt less stress, less worry, if only for a moment. That’s how intentional focus works. You let go of all the crappy stuff so that you can focus on a single thing. It could be karate. It could be writing. Or maybe it’s just making a grilled cheese sandwich. The point is simple. Focus on what you’re doing in the moment. After all, there really is no other moment. The past is gone and the future is not yet here.

It’s Not Really Magical, or Is It?

Truth is that intentional focus is not really magical. It’s a simple human trait that we can all develop. But once you develop it, you’ll be surprised at how magical it can feel. Honestly, I’d have never written a book without it. My blogging career would have been done after two weeks. And I’d be lucky to have composed more than three pieces of music.

There have been a couple of times when I’ve let my outside worries into the dojo. And those were shitty training days. It’s not always easy to let go and practice intentional focus. But like anything else, with practice, it gets easier.

I encourage you to spend a little time each day to stop letting all the bullshit of this crazy world overwhelm you. Instead, do something you love with all your heart and mind.