The most valuable skill is learning how to concentrate.
Mastering the ability to lock in at a moment’s notice, anytime, anywhere, and get to work.
That’s what you notice about high performers in almost every industry. They have control over their psychic environment. They take extreme responsibility for the energy they bring to the world. And they take little time to bring their brain up to operating temperature.
That way, once they’re locked into concentration mode, they don’t ignore interruptions, they simply don’t hear them. They don’t swat off unproductive thoughts like fruit flies, they simply don’t have them.
It’s the difference between having to avoid distraction, and being a constitutionally undistractable person.
If you’re on a tight deadline and the rest of the team is counting on you and the competition is foaming at the mouth to knock you in the dirt, being a master of concentration is priceless.
Philippe’s brilliant memoir on what he calls the perfect crime of creativity echoes this very sentiment:
Focus allows you to reach beyond your normal abilities. It cloaks your frequent intrusions into the domain of the impossible. But you must have a lifelong complicity with concentration. Otherwise the world cannot pour in freely.
Do you have that level of control over your psychic environment? If not, here’s a helpful exercise to deepen your ability to concentrate.
Consider one thing over which you’ve had a lifelong obsession. It might be a hobby, interest, passion, intellectual pursuit, or an extracurricular activity. And it doesn’t matter if it’s dopey or bizarre, as long as it always has the potential to galvanize you and never thwarts your pursuit of joy, it counts.
That thing is your ticket to concentration. It’s incontrovertible proof that you already know how to focus. It’s simply a matter of deconstructing something you’ve done intuitively and abstractly for years, genericizing it, and then replicating it into other areas of life.
The point is, perhaps your ability to concentrate is stronger than you realize. Perhaps you’re reaching for something that’s already inside of yourself.
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Why argue with the voice of distraction when you can train yourself not to hear it?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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