Another way to look at focus.

Editor’s note: This article is from WeChat public number “Lr. L.” (ID: lxianshengmiao) , author: Lachel.

After “self-discipline”, I have to work on “focus” again.

(Please call me a chicken soup to crush a small expert)

When I talked to readers, I found that many people are bothering the same problem:

I also know that to focus on the things in your hands, you have to be attentive, to eliminate the interference from the outside world… but you can’t do it, you always feel that your attention is easy to distract, what should you do?

In fact, this problem is very well resolved.

Since it’s really not focused, then… don’t concentrate.

Not a joke, I am serious.

A lot of friends may feel that every time I write, it is an afternoon. The article is so complicated and must have a very strong concentration.

So, people often ask me: How can we cultivate our concentration?

Not really. To be honest, my so-called “concentration” is not strong at all.

For example, I am not the kind of person who has no heart and soul. On the contrary, I often go to God. Even when writing an article, you often flash strange thoughts, or flip through books, brush and know, and wander around…

Similarly, the time I can “focus”, maybe a few minutes, maybe even shorter than many people.

Even, in the long run, it’s strange to say that I’m “focusing on writing and making products,” because there are many other things in my life. I often come to the touch of new things, go into some new areas, and sometimes even delay the business…

From this perspective, it is hard to say that I am a “focusing” person.

So, what do I want to tell you?

The “concentration” thing is actually an extremely simplified and meaningless concept.

A lot of self-media will tell you: How can you succeed? First, be self-disciplined; second, be focused.

This is of course true, but what is the point? This is essentially the same as “How can I get 500,000 a year? I can find a job with an annual salary of 500,000. Second, get it.” What is the difference?

Including many very powerful people, when sharing experiences, I always like to say something like this: In fact, I am an ordinary person, but I work harder, more self-disciplined, and more focused.

ThisDon’t blame them – because you have to consider the audience, you can only simplify, simplify, and talk about something that everyone can understand.

And, this is absolutely correct: I have concentration so I can do it, you can’t do it, that is because you are not focused enough. Very logical.

But if you really believe in such a statement, what are the consequences? Self-criticism and questioning.

You may always attribute your “not enough success” to “lack of willpower” and “lack of concentration” to ignore more core and more important issues.

You may spend a lot of time, energy, and effort to “cultivate” your concentration through various means, but find that it has been ineffective for a long time.

Even, you may start to question yourself, deny yourself, and stay in the strange circle created by the huge gap between expectations and reality.

This is why I am going to “self-discipline” and “focus”.

(articles on self-discipline and willpower, you can read: Are those who are self-disciplined, how are they doing well?, so-called will power, may not be present )

As I not easily to tab those mentioned: Most of the time, the problems that plague us are not necessarily from the problem itself, but from our “construction” and “understanding” of them.

In short, lack of concentration is not the problem. But always feel that you are “lack of concentration” and “nothing to concentrate on” is the key to your troubles and halts.

So, today, I want to talk to you about this issue.

First make it clear: the focus we are talking about here has two meanings.

Microscopically: refers to the task of concentrating on the task in front of you, not distracting, not distracted, and able to last for a while.

Macro: means that you only concentrate on doing one thing for a while, and are not affected or interfered with by other things.

Let’s first look at the micro level.

In fact, letting the brain continue to “concentrate” on a task is a thing that goes against the nature of the brain.


I said in the previous article: The activation mode of the brain can be divided into two types. One is called “default mode” (DMN, DefaultModeNetwork); the other is called “focus mode” (TPN, TaskPositiveNetwork).

What is DMN? In fact, it is what we often say about “going away” and “thinking.” You try to do nothing, just find a place to stay, it is that feeling.

So, in our day, which of the two is the norm? Obviously it is DMN, otherwise it will not be called “default mode”.

The study found that about 50% of the time we were awake during the day was “thinking” (that is, activation)DMN). At other times, we constantly turn our attention to switching between different tasks, constantly activating the TPN and converting the target.

So, for the brain, keeping DMN is a normal state, and “concentrating attention” is an abnormality.

Even, further research has found that when we focus on a task, “God” is the norm, and “no distraction” is an exception.

The study by neuroscientist Michael Halassa found that when we focus on one thing, what is the activity of the neural network? They suppress other input signals, so that our consciousness can distinguish between “noise” and “subject” from a large amount of information.

But the problem with this is that the noise that is suppressed by the brain may be important, hiding information that is vital to our survival.

Therefore, the brain has added such a double insurance to itself: “snap” these “noises” at all times to ensure that no important information is missing.

Neural scientist Fiebelkorn found that this “sweep” is about 4 times per second.

In other words, our attention is not to keep betting on one thing, but to present a waveform that constantly fluctuates between strength and weakness at a frequency of about four times per second.

When it reaches the trough, the brain’s “attention valve” will loosen. If there are more important signals at this time, it may attract our attention – which constitutes “distraction.”

As Fiebelkorn said: Attention is not a steady searchlight, it is constantly flashing.

You may be wondering:

If this is the case, those who are really able to concentrate, how do they do it? Is it overcoming the brain’s instinct?

In fact, it is not.

Our attention system is roughly composed of three neural networks. They are:

  • Alert Network: Receive Signals from the Environment

  • Directing the network: Focusing on the location of the signal

  • Execution Network: Activate TPN.

Before, what happened when the “Attention Valve” was loose? The activities of the execution network are weakened, and the activities of the alert network are enhanced.

In this way, it is easier for us to get information from our surroundings, and it is easier to “extract” from the things at hand.

So, those that look “veryPeople who are focused on it are likely to be stronger than the execution network, and the alert network is weaker, so that it is not easily affected by the surrounding things.

Let us go further.

Before I talked about DMN and “distraction”, in fact, there is a very essential difference between the two.

Let’s think about it, what do you think?

Explain the answer:

Distraction, referring to Attracting attention by foreign objects;

And DMN refers to temporarily closing the perception of the outside world, allowing the mind to “walk inside the brain.”

The two look very similar, but they are actually quite different.

Distraction, in any sense, is not a good thing. Because it is a sudden interruption to the brain. It forces the brain to leave from the task at hand and switch to a new task.

In this process, on the one hand, it will bring a certain “switching cost”, resulting in the waste of cognitive resources; on the other hand, unfinished matters will accumulate in the brain, occupying the cognitive resources in the background, crowding Press the available resources.

If you have too many such distractions in a day, it will put a huge burden on your brain, causing cognitive overload (cognitive resource exhaustion), making you feel exhausted Dizzy…

But in turn, activation of DMN is not the case. The reason is simple: DMN is internal, it will not suddenly give the brain an interruption, an interference, and will not occupy the background, squeeze cognitive resources.

Psychology specifically gave this phenomenon a name called Mindwandering (Chinese is temporarily translated as “God”.

In the past few decades, psychology has been mostly negative about cognition, and most of them think it is a manifestation of “attention deficit.” But in recent times, researchers have increasingly noticed the positive effects of God.

Psychologist Singer is a representative of this field. He believes that there are four positive meanings in the following:

1) Relieve negative emotions and improve planning for the future

2) Improve creativity, especially in incubation and problem solving

3) Rethinking what is the most important and top priority

4) Refresh brain state and recover from fatigue and “filling up”

In short, the essence of ecstasy is to close the external input channels, broadly activate the various areas of the brain, and reorganize the information and nodes that are suppressed and hidden, so that the thoughts are on this huge network. Walk around.

The most typical example is: when bathingWaiting, the state of the brain.

In this process, we can reorganize past thoughts, ideas, find new links and breakthrough points, and collide with new sparks.

So, why do many people have had such an experience: thinking hard about a problem, but not thinking about it, eating normally, sleeping, going to work, often suddenly, a flash of light emerges, the problem is Solved – the reason is this.

Recall that when you take a shower, is it usually the most relaxing and most peculiar time of your day? You will understand this feeling.

To this point, sum up: Pursuing “focus” is actually a false proposition. The brain can’t bet on the same thing for a long time. It is normal to take care of it.

So, if you talk so much, you still have to face a problem:

I need to complete a task, but I am always distracted. It is difficult to concentrate for a long time. What should I do?

My own experience is to turn it into a game of smashing.

What do you mean? Specifically, it can be divided into two steps.

First step: awareness and acceptance.

I know that my concentration time can only last for a few minutes, then I accept this, don’t deny it, force it, but let it go: let it go when you can’t control it. When I noticed that I seemed to be distracted, I pulled it back naturally.

You have to accept this reality, you can reconcile yourself and better guide your brain.

Step 2: Decomposition and challenge.

Next, I will break down the tasks to be done into small challenges and challenge myself to see if I can finish it.

In the case of writing an article, I might challenge myself like this:

Can I be before the next time I go to God:

  • Learn the scenes that are common in life;

  • Explain clearly with the simplest language and this concept;

  • Imagine a metaphor to illustrate this phenomenon;

  • Re-edit this paragraph to make the tone smoother and more natural…

This is a very magical thing: once the task becomes a small “challenge” that requires brainstorming and difficulty, the brain will naturally be attracted to the past, but it is not easy to distract.

The reason is simple: The brain has a natural interest in the “problem.” You created a challengeIt is equivalent to asking a question. Solving the problem itself, and the sense of accomplishment it brings, will make the brain feel very happy.

In this way, step by step, one challenge and one challenge are gradually completed, and one article is finished.

You will find out, what is this essentially? In fact, it is the embodiment of “heart flow.”

The so-called flow of mind is not a continuous, continuous “focus”, but a level of continuity, the need to constantly mobilize your skills, let you brainstorm, jump to pass – This series of “small barriers” process.

After each level has passed, the sense of accomplishment and pleasure that you bring to you is the driving force that keeps you running.

So, why do you need to be challenging to create a “heart flow”? Because only challenging, can form a challenge, create problems for the brain, and drive the brain to solve it.

For a simple example, when you read a novel or watch a movie, do you need to force yourself to “focus”? Generally not, we always want to stop, want to read it in one breath, unless it is really not good-looking.

Why is this happening? It is precisely because good-looking novels and movies will constantly set a series of suspense for you: a suspense is solved, and immediately throws a bigger, more interesting suspense, hanging your appetite, letting you keep thinking Know what will happen later.

This is the model that uses the “problem” to attract the brain.

Through this decomposition + setting challenges, attracting the interest of the brain and turning the long task into a single level – this is the secret behind “concentration.”

These are all micro levels. So what about the macro level?

We say that a person “focuses on something” is not to say that for a long time, he must always do this, and not pay attention to other places?

In fact, it is not.

In fact, seeking and creating “diversity” in life is the source of happiness.

I have never supported a way of life, that is, letting something fill my life, leading to “only” things in life – for example, family, work, partner, career, ideal… /p>

These things, all alone, are good, but if you only have it in your life, you have been “focusing” on it, which is actually very dangerous.

Why? In the words of system thinking, it is the impact resistance is very poor.

All your emotions, feelings, and reactions are made up of the feedback it gives you. Then, when it goes well, you will have a positive feeling; when it is not smooth, you will feel depressed, lost, troubled, sleepyDisturb…

The key is that this feedback and impact is single factor, and you have no other factors to work with. That would cause this effect to be put aside – the gap between your pleasure and loss can be very large.

and I Life’s happiness algorithm also mentioned: This model, which is a “non-health reward”, is unfavorable for our long-term happiness.

It’s like you put all your money into a stock: it’s good when you go up, but it’s even worse when you fall. In the long run, you may lose money, you may earn, but you will definitely worry about it.

When investing, we all understand that we must hedge risks and diversify our investments. In fact, life is the same: never pin your sense of happiness on something, you must create “diversity” to hedge its risks and influences.

Even if you are an entrepreneur, you need to spend 12 hours a day on your own projects. I also recommend you: in addition to starting a business, to develop some hobbies, some ways to let yourself release and enjoy, let The brain can occasionally take a nap and relax.

This way, when you are not going well, you can also seek support and comfort from other things; when you are successful, you will not have too much reaction, resulting in an excessive gap.

This is a more sustainable and stable life. That’s what I mentioned: long-lasting happiness.

So, in this macro context, where is “focus” embodied?

In fact, what it reflects is your trade-offs and trade-offs about “diversification.”

When there is a conflict between these diverse things, what do you give priority to? What will you put in the first place? – This is the true “focus”.

For example: There is a meeting in my company, just scheduled for Thursday, I need to listen. Then I will reschedule the time, or let them open and show me the report, because it will bother me to write.

This is the onlyIt is “focus on writing.” Rather than saying: I only have writing in my life, nothing else.

So, I often say: What is the nature of decision making?

Not what you chose, but what you gave up.

Only when you are very clear about your goals, direction, long-term planning, when you have a lot of things on hand, you can use them instead of using them, occupying them, when you can calmly dominate When they are clear, “what do I want,” this is a true sense of concentration.

Be the master of life, don’t be constrained by life.

Finally, briefly mention a few tips, I hope to be instructive to you.

1. Avoid distractions

Distraction is not good at all times. So, when you need to “focus”, try to isolate yourself, mask out possible calls, information, interference… leave room for quiet thinking.

It’s hard. Therefore, I also hope that the entrepreneurs and managers of this article can drive this culture in the company, create independent space for the team’s small partners, and minimize the interruption to them.

2. Take control of your mind

Many people don’t understand the role of “God”, but passively let it happen. So, try:

Avoid negative, bad thoughts and lead yourself to something pleasant, such as making fantasy, imagining the future, and so on;

If you have the chance, try to do meditation and experience the feeling of “letting your mind wander and observe quietly from the side”;

If you can’t think of a question, you can leave it behind and check back in a few days;

Cultivate a habit, take a little time every day, put down your phone, let go of things at hand, take a walk, and let yourself go.

3. Stopping

Don’t feel that “daze” is a waste of time, and don’t over-seek efficiency.

A lot of times, stop, wait, look back at the previous path, think about the past and the future, maybe a more effective approach.

The key is to shield the outside of the information input, so that thinking can wander freely without interference. Re-examine what seems familiar.

Maybe, you will have new discoveries.

4.Change your opinion

Don’t over-seek “focus.” Understand that this is a natural thing, don’t force it.

Try to observe your attention, perceive its shift, focus, switch, let it be naturalWalking away, naturally pulling back, used to this mode of work.

It is unrealistic not to pursue excessively long-term, fully invested immersion. A more feasible approach is to naturally attract the attention of the brain and create it from the inside by creating a series of problems and challenges.

The road ahead is often not a straight line, but a long chain of tiny loops.

5. Take me as the main

Create diversity from life and gain happiness, accomplishment and strength from diversity.

At the same time, figure out your long-term goals, know what you want, what you need, and what kind of people you want to be. Use it to dominate the gains and losses and trade-offs in life.

“Who am I?” This is the eternal question you need to focus on.

Trading moments

As you can see, this article focuses on focus, but not just on concentration.

In fact, concentration itself is not very important. More importantly, how do we understand it, understand life, and treat life.

I also give you a small proposal: When reading a book or reading an article, try to ask yourself a question, then seek answers from the article and compare it with your own guess.

It’s more interesting to read, and it’s easier to “focus”.

I hope to answer some of my friends’ doubts.

It’s also a summary of your recent status.

The cover image is from pexels