How to Change Your Focus

10 04 2010

Many motivational, performance, productivity, self-help and personal development gurus tell you what you focus on is what you get. If you focus on problems, you get more of them. If you focus on solutions, you get more of them. If you focus on the positive things, you get more of them. If you focus on the negative, you get more of it.

However, they fail in one specific step: They don’t tell you how to direct and change your focus. Actually they do, but in a generic way: “To reach results, just focus on what you want”. Right. For many people, that is enough. However, for some, that is not enough. For someone who uses specific strategies, for a runner that has specific timing schedules and nutrition guidelines, for a worker who has specific work strategies and timeboxes, inserting a vague mental construct is not that good for them.

I focus only on results, and it’s result-orientedly that I studied how to change my focus and how to direct it.

So in sum, this post will be about how to get more of whatever you want. Do you want more happy experiences? Do you want to be surrounded with better people? Do you want to perform excellently instead of in a mediocre way? I will tell you how to do this right here and right now. The only thing I need to ask in return is that you read this seriously and apply it instead of doubting.

First of all, your focus is an idea you have in your mind, and you identify more in the world related with that idea. You live in a city where most people are ugly (no judgment, just an objective fact). However, you watch a movie about fashion and beautiful people. Suddenly, the same people look different. Maybe you notice this person doesn’t dress so bad after all. Maybe that woman actually has prettier eyes than you thought. You start to see everything in your life through a new light.

Part one: How to change your focus

The first thing you need to understand is how to change your focus. Your focus, as I said, is that idea you have in your mind. How do you change it? If I have an idea in my mind people are ugly, how do I change it so I think people are beautiful?

You don’t need to change your identity

Many strategies exist. Some experts defend doing affirmations and positive thinking. Some, as Anthony Robbins, go a little deeper and tell you to change your rules and your values. Which do I use and recommend you to use? None of these. I actually realized you don’t need to change yourself to change your focus. What do I mean?

If you have an idea in your mind you can’t get pretty girls and you want to create the idea you can get pretty girls, using one of those strategies you would try to change your values so you value beauty over safety/honesty/adventure/others. Using affirmations you would say out loud thirty times a day you can get pretty girls until you believe it. Basically, they’re not strategies to change your focus. They change your identity so your focus is changed automatically. They’re not making you think you can get pretty girls; They’re changing your identity to someone that can get pretty girls, so that the thought comes automatically.

This is a good technique but it’s too complicated for me. First, because I might now want to change my personality. Imagine I’m a lazy guy and I want to get pretty girls. I can change my identity so I don’t value laziness anymore, I work as hard as I can until I almost die working, and other values so I can feel I’m not lazy anymore. I change my identity and therefore can get pretty girls. That can work, but imagine I don’t want to change my identity. Imagine I want to continue being lazy and still get pretty girls. How do I do it? How do I just all these identity-changing methods and just think about what I want?

Let’s look at the mechanics of a thing. Having focus on something is just thinking about it all the time, so if you want to focus on getting pretty girls, just think about that all the time. You go to sleep, and how do you rest? Do you lie with your body straight? Is that how a guy that gets girls would lay down? You change it. You see a girl passing by on the street you’d like to get to know, and your first instinct is to be a coward and not go talk to her, but that thought kicks in, what would a guy that gets girls do? And you correct it.

A basic technique is that. Just thinking about it all the time. However, there are certain details you can use to turbocharge it.

Detail #1: Add emotional intensity

Why do people that don’t care about world hunger suddenly change when they see a short clip on TV about it? It’s because they don’t see the little black children as objects. They look you in the eyes, you see them with those torn-up clothes, dry lips, and totally unhealthy aspect, and something inside of you wants to change.

You can use this for anything. Do you want to be the best in a sport? Imagine how would it be if you didn’t win. The misery. The disappointment. When you get emotional about something, you instantly take action, or at least change your focus.

Detail #2: Choose what you want

Many people don’t change their focus because they don’t fully believe that’s what they want. Imagine. You want to be better excellent at work. However, you’re not that good, and even though you want to become better, you don’t really believe you can become excellent. That’s something that’s still not clicking.

That normally is just caused by you not choosing what you fully want. You’re presupposing becoming excellent can’t be done while you’re not that good. Then change your focus: “How can I become excellent, while not being that good to start with?”. Be specific. Choose what you want.

Sometimes you want to help other people. But you don’t focus on that because you’re afraid you’ll look like Mr. Nice guy too much. So instead of focusing on “being nice”, focus on “being nice but maintaining your integrity”. Sometimes you just have to get specific. Because general ideas bring presuppositions. And sometimes you want that idea, but you want that idea your way. So change the specifics you want to change.

Now you know how to change your focus, let’s understand how it works.

Second part: How focus works

Forms

First of all, things don’t change when you change your focus. They’re the same. You’re the one that changes. When you focus on negative people and you’re among 50 random people, you can see 30 or 40 negative people. When you focus on positive people you can choose among the same 50 random people and find 30 positive people. How does this work?

Easy. Things have different forms, and we see the way we want. Think of a friend of yours. A best friend would be ideal. Did you have good experiences with him? Naturally. And bad ones? You might think not, but if you think harder you can realize that you did have some.

Everyone has bad and good experiences. We just cut out the ones that don’t interest us. You have both good and bad experiences with your friend. If you focus on him as a cool guy, you remember the positive experiences. If you focus on him as a bad guy, you remember the negative experiences.

This is very important because everything has various “forms”. You have the people you usually see in your day-to-day. Whether you focus on beauty or ugliness, they’re the same. But when you focus on beauty you see their beautiful “form”, and when you focus on ugliness you see their ugly “form”. They’re exactly the same people, it’s how you view them that changes.

This is fantastic because you can change them yourself. Imagine you want to focus on excellent people, and you start seeing excellent people everywhere around you. However, there’s this negative guy that you can’t view as excellent yet. Some forms don’t change automatically. So just change them yourself. How would this guy be if he was excellent? Well, it’s hard to imagine. He’s always complaining, he’s always making fun of others. But force yourself to see his excellent form. Can you imagine him as an achiever? Actually having fun with people sometimes? And you think, well, I actually can! Sometimes it’s hard, you just need training.

Third part: Creating more

Third part and most important: How does creating more of what you want happen? Changing your focus creates more of what you want. By now you might be thinking: Well, now I understand focus, I understand that’s a lie. When I focus on beautiful people, I don’t actually create more beautiful people in my life. I just see normal people as beautiful. You might think that, but no. You will actually create more beautiful people in your life. And with all different forms of changing your focus. And you might think: How? Let’s find out.

The easy definition is: You create more by your actions. How? You act on the world and create certain stimuli. And you get things back. If you’re lazy, you sit down at the couch, you create that stimulus, and you receive back from the world something called not getting in shape! When you decide to exercise and create that stimuls, you receive back from the world better health and shape.

This happens with people themselves. Imagine the example above of excellent people. You want to see everyone as excellent people. And there’s that negative person. Before, when you thought that person was negative, you created which stimulus? You talked to that person without interest maybe, you didn’t give him that much attention, because you already knew he was going to be negative. And he, himself, received that stimulus so he acted normally.

Now, when you think people are excellent, you’re going to make some serious changes. When you see that negative person as excellent, and you talk to him excitedly, talk about happy and good things, that person is thrown off-guard. He’s used to being negative, and you just gave him a reason to be happy. So he might suddenly become positive too. He talks to you excitedly.

When you focus on something, your actions automatically create more of what you want. If you like sitting down and watching TV, you become lazier because you just like sitting down on the couch. When you like sports, you just sport automatically, and become healthier.

This works with specific focuses too. Imagine you want to become excellent at work. Now, depending on your inside, you might focus on “becoming excellent at work even though I think I can’t”, or “becoming excellent at work knowing I can do it”. And you will get more of that. If you think you can’t, you will get things in your world that would make you excellent, but that you just can’t use, and if you believe you can do it, you get more things in your world that you can actually use and create results for you. That’s why believing is so importantly.

I hope this helped you. Change your focus so you become better in everything!





Students’ 5 Steps to Perfect Grades: Step 1 (Patricio Peak Performance Exclusive)

7 04 2010

Okay, here we go. This is the start of these new series, focused on a study strategy I use for studying to maximize my grades.

First of all, you would expect me to demonstrate some authority. How do you know this works? How do you know I’m not flunking every subject in my student life and having fun making stuff up? Good point. Well, I have to be honest with you – I don’t have a way to demonstrate my grades. You can consider this system as an alternative to what you use, or you can take some pieces and complement yours. You don’t have to trust me on this. Just try it yourself, and judge by results. You will be astounded with what you will achieve, trust me.

Onwards to the subject itself. This is the first part of the strategy, and it’s about identifying and splitting the subjects and matters you have to study.

You start with a book, a list of documents, online resources, or others you have to study. How do you go from here?

Categorizing by importance

First of all, categorize by importance. Many people love categorizing things for study. You have 50 things to study, so you group 10 in a category, 10 more in another category, and so on. Right? Almost right, but lacking a small twist that makes it wrong. When you do this, just like stated, you’re considering every subject, every matter of equal importance. The optimal way to categorize is to prioritize first.

You have 2 books to study, one essential and a support one, and 4 documents. 2 of the documents support the main subject, so they’re important, and 2 of the documents are just support material.

Ignoring importance you would categorize the material as: 2 books, 2 book documents, 2 support documents, and you’d proceed to split them into timeframes. You will take x time to study the 2 books, then y time to study the book documents, and so on.

However, recognizing the importance of the material changes it totally. If one of the books is essential and the other one is not, you should change your priorities. So, you’d do something as: Group the essential book and the 2 book documents into a main group. A second group would be the support book, and a third group would be the support documents. You take what’s important first and tackle it, and leave the less important materials for later.

Why is this important? First of all, because many times you won’t have time for everything. Maybe you have a problem in your schedule and boom, suddenly four hours of study you planned are not happening. If you categorized without establishing priorities, you don’t really know what you’re cutting off. You might be leaving out something not important or very important at all. If you prioritize, you can choose the least important stuff and cut it off.

You might ask, isn’t it what students actually do automatically? Study the hardest problems first, the most important ones, and leave the least important ones for later? Sometimes it is. However, there are some differences between a normal approach and the method I’m explaining here.

Most people don’t identify the subjects right. So you might think “I’m tackling the most valuable problem first, then the least valuable one”, but did you really take time to analyze each of the subjects, and index them, or did you just on reflex think “Oh, this is more important, so this is first”, and didn’t actually compare it to the other ones?

You need to have various factors in consideration. Most students just value problems by what they’re worth. You have an exam worth 100 points, 50 points problem A, and 25 for problems B and C. Obviously problem A is the highest priority. Right? Wrong. You’re missing the other factors.

If you can solve A in 20 minutes, B and C that are worth half should take 10 minutes. What if B relies on a subject you know so well you can solve it faster than 10 minutes? It might have higher priority than A.

There are countless other factors. How much the subject or problem is worth, the time you take to solve it, your special knowledge in the area. So, simply, identify the factors and establish priorities. The only problem when students do this naturally is they tend to use intuition instead of exhausting all the factors.

In sum, you should choose the highest priority. But we naturally only look at the best choice, and we choose it. What you should do is look at ALL choices, and then choose the best one. If you only look at what looks best at first sight you don’t know if it’s really the best because you didn’t analyze other problems. If you analyze all options you can identify the best one, the second best one, and all others.

In a concrete example, you have 3 subjects. Subject #1 looks best at first sight. If you prioritize naturally, you look at it and comment “Oh, subject #1 looks the most important, so I’ll make it the highest priority”. If you analyze them, you might realize subject #1 is not the most important.

Even if it is of the same importance, you know the importance of others. So, imagine you have those three subjects. If you prioritize naturally, you just know that you have a high priority, and two unknowns. If you analyze them all, you know you have a high priority, say, a medium priority and a low priority subject.

Just one last tip: Use multiple levels. Most students just consider “Is this a high, medium or low priority subject?”. Considering priorities as subcategories. I like to use the tree analogy. Core subjects are the big branches. From each of those branches you have smaller branches, which are smaller priority subjects.

So, when you compare the priorities, don’t just think “Is this high, medium or low priority?”. Think: If this was a branch in the tree, would it be bigger than this other subject? Would it be a branch growing from a branch I already know? Is it a subcategory of a subject?

Scheduling

How are you going to tackle the subjects, now you know their priorities? Let’s analyze some principles first.

Depending on your style, you might want to tackle the big problems first and then move on to the small problems. Or you might want to solve small problems first and build up successively. How do you know which method is best for you? If you already know it, good. If you don’t, don’t worry. You will have to solve small problems and big problems so many times in work and study that the order doesn’t matter that much.

I would recommend that you choose the way that makes you do it. What do I mean? Look. At least in my perspective, what matters are results. It doesn’t matter if you have the potential to know all the subjects. Did you physically do it? That’s what counts. You can run for 20 miles straight. Will you do it? That’s a totally different thing. What we can do and what we will do, as Anthony Robbins would say, are very different things.

So, choose the method that leads you to doing it. For example, if you think “If I tackle the big problems I will lose motivation, if I start by the small problems I’ll do it”, then start by the small problems. If you like big challenges and feel more motivated by that, do that. Whatever you think is right is probably right. It only matters if you’re going to do it or not, so choose the path that leads you to results.

Stretch and compress

Many times, the books and documents don’t have quantity of material proportional to its importance. What do I mean? Important things should take 3 pages to explain, while smaller things should take 1 page or less, for example. In books, that doesn’t always happen. You could have an historical introduction, or support material, or non-important subjects that take as much as the important subject. You have to be the one to guess the importance of the subject, and stretch or compress it accordingly.

For example, imagine there’s an important subject A that takes 10 pages. Then subject B which is clearly less important, that takes 10 pages too. Instead of, for example, you scheduling 30 minutes for subject A and subject B, schedule 30 minutes for A and 15 for B, let’s say. And you read B’s pages faster, you skim a little.

The thing is, don’t take me wrong. I’m not telling you to study more or less of what YOU consider important. Study more or less of what you are completely sure and certified is more important or not. Something you have proof of, either because the teacher stated it, or other kind of proof. This is obvious but should be stated.

On the other hand, you might have to stretch it. Has it ever happened you having to study a very important subject about which there is only half page written about in a book? In that case, either you choose a new resource, like an additional book, online search for the subject, or such, or you just practice it more, so you know more about it.





New Series: Students’ 5 Steps to Perfect Grades

5 04 2010

Hey guys! How are you doing?

Today I want to tell you about a new series of posts I’m planning on releasing. I call them the Students’ 5 Steps to Perfect Grades. These are 5 big steps that you can use to immediately make your grades elite-class. This isn’t just a system to make your grades better, it’s a turnaround set of principles to make you perfect from the inside out.

The five essential steps are:

1. Identify and split the subject
2. Have your A-Inner game
3. Progressive iteration
4. Complementing and implementing
5. Unity

I will talk in detail about each of these five principles in a new post. For now, let me tell you in sum what they are about:

The first step is identifying and splitting the subject. You don’t need to understand the materials you’re studying. You just need to index them and split them so you can plan study sessions. Can I split this subject into two 20m intervals? Can I split this one into a 30m session? It’s how to split and plan your studying schedule.

The second step is having your best inner game possible. It’s about removing limiting beliefs. No subject is too hard, no person is being stopped from being the best. I’ll present to you a set of inner game techniques to motivate yourself, not in an empty motivation sense, but in a clear, decisive and strategic sense for victory.

The third step is progressive iteration. It’s basically practicing and the study itself, however with a couple of twists I personally developed to speed up and reinforce my knowledge.

The fourth step is complementing and implementing. It’s knowing what you should be doing more of and less of. Does your teacher love specific subjects and hate specific others? Does he tend to ask specific questions in his exams? Are there subjects you didn’t study enough or that you simply think you can bring to the next level? This step is about fixing some weak spots and reinforcing what you’re best at.

The fifth step is unity. All these pieces are easy to analyze in separate, but how do they interact together? How do the gears work next to each other? This step will be a way to wrap it all up and make you capable of applying all the knowledge and potential from the previous steps.

Expect to see the first post very soon!





Support for Students!

5 04 2010

Considering that I’m a student myself, and also how the needs of a student relate to those of some similar categories I already cover in this blog, such as office workers, CEOs, or athlets, I am adding support to students from now in my blog.

So, if you’re a student, expect to see new content specifically for you soon!





It’s not Speed, it’s Strength

4 04 2010

A new article I thought of.

With a name like this you’d expect this article to be about athlete performance. No. It’s about office work, or just work overall. I want to clarify the concept of strength.

Have you ever been motivated to do something, and suddenly had that fire inside? You just went mad and decided “I want to do this now? I wanna go crazy?”. Many people think that concept is speed. You are sped up. Your heart races. When someone suddenly gets that drive and they get more done in the same amount of time, you assume all that motivation, all that drive they had gave them more speed.

It’s not more speed. It’s more strength.

Many people think this concept is speed. This is, they get motivated, they start working twice as fast, but they end up in a spree of badly done work. They sprint through a task and didn’t do anything right. But they don’t understand why. The other person got motivated, he just got that fire and did everything faster and better. How come they tried it, and did it faster, but worse?

The secret is, that person didn’t do it faster. He did it stronger.

When you get motivation to do a task, and you have that extra energy, that extra drive, to the outside it might appear as if you have more speed. Not the case. You actually have more strength. More power. You are just as paused and relaxed as before. That driving force didn’t increase your speed. It just made you stronger at the same speed.

So next time you become motivated, have that fire inside, remember that. Don’t try to be faster. Try to be stronger at the same speed. That is the way you’ll do things right.

This is something that comes from experience in life. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t force trying to understand it. Either it happens naturally or it doesn’t.

So, apply this concept now. The next time you motivate yourself, that you have that driving force, remember. Don’t be faster. Be stronger at the same speed.





Get That Task Done Now! Patricio Performance Exclusive Article

4 04 2010

I wrote this article exclusively for my blog. So you won’t find it at my ArticlesBase, EzineArticles or other sites.

This article is called “Get that Task Done Now!”. It’s a set of simple keys to, well, getting that task done now!

I am going to share with you right now some secrets to get anything done right now. Be it a task. Be it a training session. How can you harness incredible power and do it right now, with power, in the right way? How can you eliminate procrastination, dragging, and do it right here, right now?

I will distill this power in simple and easy keys.

● Eliminate everything around you
Whatever it is you’re doing, in order to do it right, do only that task. Do not do multiple things at once, do not talk with people while doing the task. Do not check your email, answer phone calls, or otherwise interrupt yourself. Focus on the task and only on the task right now.

You might say: I can’t maintain total attention for an unlimited amount of time on the same task. True. Set a limit time. For example, 10 minutes or 15 minutes. For the next 10 minutes, you will completely focus on the task at hand and only on that task. Eliminate distractions, ignore people, flush out interruptions.

● Snap
Have you ever watched one of those movies where the character suddenly snaps? He’s young, immature, making it without any dedication. Suddenly he gets serious. He realizes he can lose it all. And in an instant, he snaps.

He changes his expression and just says “I’m gonna win this”. It’s like he changed dimensions. Suddenly, everything from before vanishes. Doesn’t matter. He’s going to do it this time, and he’s going to do it right here and right now. Nothing else matters. Do that.

● Be indifferent and disciplined
Do it. Does it take hard work? Face the challenge. Does it take facing your fears? Do it. For a moment, take all your rights away. Imagine you have only duties. Imagine you are a soldier going to war. Imagine you have to make a sacrifice, serve someone. Have that sense of urgency, that sense of purpose, that sense of sacrifice.

Do not care about your personal opinions, quarrels, tastes. For a moment, throw all that away. Adopt a mentality of “No matter what happens I’m going to do this”. You are in the middle of the crossfire. You might take a bullet and back out, or you might keep on going. You might face what you don’t like, receive answers you don’t appreciate, give your all and realize it was meaningless and you have to give another all. Whatever it is, do it. Be indifferent and disciplined.

● Switch, cut, flow
Clarity is power. Your task is not an amalgam of work. It is a structured division of subtasks. Find them. Split it into parts. Do part one. Do part two. Part three’s too complicated. Split it into parts.

Switch, cut, flow. Be like a factory machine. Automatic and efficient. Do not care about superficial things. Care about them when you’re in your normal life. Not right now when you’re working at your full capacity.

Eliminate value judgments. This task is hard. Okay. This task will take time. Okay. Ignore all judgments. Either you do it or not. Switch, cut, flow. Don’t take it wrongly. I’m not telling you to ignore emotions, motivation, or others. Do have them. But deconstruct them, use them, switch, cut, flow. Don’t focus on something too much, focus on everything properly.

These are four pillars, four quick fixes you might say, to get that task done right now. Don’t use them with too much hurry or too much motivation. Be paused and focused. But take that additional drive and put it to use.