To develop a razor sharp focus and concentration for your VCE it is important to disciple you mind. If you find your mind jumping around from thought to thought like a little kid on a jumping castle, it may significantly affect your ability to focus. How can you focus on one thing properly, if your mind is scattered? To discipline your mind it may take conscious effort and will power at the beginning, however throughout time it will become a habit.
Why is focus important to develop?
In this day and age we live in a society that has multiple distractions everywhere. More than ever we are bombarded from all angles from television, radio, subliminal advertising, normal advertising, newspapers and Internet just to name a few.
Every day we are focusing on so many different things in our external world. However our inner world is not much better. We are polluted with negative thoughts, ongoing voices, believing in the projection of a future, obsessing about our past and trying to figure out who we are as a person. This constant chaos can make it difficult for us to develop a clear-cut focus.
How many times have you sat down to study and found yourself being immersed by the external world? Or are being distracted by inner feelings or idle thoughts? To succeed in the VCE it is important that you are able to focus your mind on your study. By focusing with full attention on the task at hand, this can give you a clear advantage over the other VCE students.
Remaining focused on a task can also improve memory and studying efficiency. It is clear that the more focus you place in a particular area, the more progress is made. If you recall playing with a magnifying glass – would actually burn a hole on paper by focusing the sun rays for enough time. This is a law of nature, and it will definitely play a role in your VCE if you are able to have the discipline to develop a razor sharp focus.
Steps to take to improve your focus and concentration
Now that you know the importance of developing razor sharp focus and concentration to aid you throughout your VCE, it is now vital to investigate how your focus and concentration levels can be altered.
(1) Single Point Concentration
Late last year I travelled to northern India for a meditation retreat. One of the things that they taught us was how to clear your mind and develop subhuman concentration. This type of concentration requires constant discipline and the ability to watch your thoughts, rather than being immersed in them.
Most people choose to interact with their thoughts – however very few people can separate themselves from the thoughts and realise that they are not thoughts. Most people believe in the stories that thoughts communicate, however it is important to realise that you are not these thoughts. Rather you can be a neutral observer of these thoughts. Isn’t it great to be in such state? To know that what you believe about yourself is not necessarily true, it is simply a bunch of thoughts that you have accepted! Why have you accepted it? Well that’s for you to think about …
How to develop single point of concentration?
Practice by focusing on one point, and make sure that you are able to concentrate on that point only. For example focus only on your breathing, when there is a temptation to generate or energize thoughts, ignore them. Put 100% of your focus upon breathing in and out. Just close your eyes and watch your breathing without being distracted by your thoughts or surroundings. You may find that it is difficult to consistently focus on one point. That is perfectly natural, you have been conditioned almost all your life, that it is natural to have constant thinking is so breaking the habit maybe challenging. However it is do-able so don’t give up! Practising this form of concentration, overtime you will find that rather than concentrating on breathing you can redirect this concentration on your studies.
Being mindful of the now
If you find that your mind consistently races and your thoughts are getting out of control, for some people it helps to realise that there is will only one moment that we really have in our control. That moment is right now.
Our constant thinking always seems to drag us out of this moment of now and pushes us into thoughts about the future or causes us to reflect on the past. Usually thoughts are not about the moment of now. If you find that your thoughts are really annoying you, a way to eliminate them is to pretend like you have amnesia. In other words you cannot remember your life events of the past and you cannot remember your future.
For some students this helps to slow down the thoughts and can encourage them to naturally focus their attention into the moment of now. Rather than scattering their attention on endless thoughts. To see whether you are effectively in the moment of now, train yourself to be very perceptive of your environment. Try to retain as much detail in your memory about your surroundings as possible.
Most people these days are so busy using their phones, iPhones and various other gizmos that even Metro have to put a sign with a hippo on a skateboard in Melbourne to ask people to pay attention to their surroundings. To develop stronger focus, train it when you go to shopping centres, go out with your friends or are simply bored. You will find that you can transfer this level of mindfulness and perception during your study sessions.
You can also develop your focus and concentration by using NLP techniques. NLP is also known as neurolinguistic programming and it is an important way of reprogramming bad habits or negative loops that your mind develops throughout time. In the case of poor focus and/or concentration you can use NLP to help you improve and discipline your mind.
Example of an NLP technique
The fantastic thing about NLP is that it uses all three of your senses as well as your physiology and emotions to reprogram your mind, so that it can act in a way that helps you achieve your goals. In this case we are focusing on developing razor sharp focus. So that you are as a VCE student don’t begin to procrastinate and lose time on idle thoughts.
To enhance your focus and develop a stronger concentration it is good to imagine that you are wearing special glasses that can only focus on one thing at a time. Despite there being noise around in the surroundings, it doesn’t matter because your focus can only be on your work. If the noise or your thoughts continues to distract you, take a break for a while and practice simply focusing on one specific point within the room.
It is easiest to focus on a small dot – you can even draw the dot on a piece of paper yourself. Focus on this dot for 10 min with full concentration, then take a break for a while paying attention to detail and being mindful of the surroundings and then try to hit the books again.
More exercises will be added soon.