People are just not that focused. We’re scattered. Walking and texting. Blaring music and driving. Checking email and trying to work. Watching TV, texting, and talking. People don’t focus.

In meetings at work, we see it. The off-hand comment and suddenly everyone loses focus and follows a train of useless banter. Or when we are on a T-con and you can tell everyone is disengaged. Probably writing an email while listening in.

It doesn’t work. Clearly, we do better when we focus on what we’re doing. No rational person needs a study to convince them that paying attention to what they are going is going to produce better results.

Exercise and Focus

You can develop your focus in exercise. Proper exercise. Exercise where you pay attention, you regulate your breathing, you concentrate on feelings your muscles, you visualize the effect you want the exercise to have on your body.

Feeling Your Body – Dialing In

A rep is not just a rep. It’s a chance to gain greater awareness of what is happening in your body as you lift the weight. How is your body positioned? Is your shoulder tucked in? Where are your feet positioned? Are you inhaling or exhaling? Where is your mind? Are you calm, present, and aware? Do you feel any pain? Does something feel out of position?

This isn’t just physical. This is the same type of thought that each area of life deserves. This ever-present fully aware, full of energy and vital, calm and in control attitude that it seems is more and more important.

Developing Focus Outside of Physical Exercise

Focus is a skill. Concentration is a skill. You can train it. You can improve it. You can completely change your mental capacity by training your ability to control your attention.

It’s a mistake to conclude that your behavior is due to the that just being the “way you are wired up.” You might have certain settings and proclivities, but lots can be altered, just like you can develop a very strong pull up or press by practicing and increasing muscle size and making neural pathways more efficient.

There are specific exercises you can do to increase your focus and concentration. One of the best books I’ve found for learning them is Red Gold, which I wrote a detailed review about that includes some sample exercises.

Planning to Be Focused

Getting laid off was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It forced me to focus. I was laid off for five months, unemployed. Then, I made a commitment. One I was going to get up at 7 everyday. Two, I was going to meditate everyday. Three, I was going to read positive, uplifting literature everyday. Within three weeks I was called in for a job.

That was focus. That was clearing my mind and concentrating on what I wanted to achieve. You have to know what you want if you want to be truly focused. How the heck do you think people like Elon Mush and Steve Jobs can/could carry with such intensity? Focus.

There Ya Have It

We need to relearn the skill of focus. Exercise, mental training, and visualization can help. We can improve our mental skills just like our physical–through exercise. The skill of focus will benefit many aspects of your life. From remembering names better to performing better on the job.