GREAT SUCCESS COMES WITH GREAT CONCENTRATION
If you could wish for any super skill that helps you with learning, what would it be? Well, concentration should be at the top of your wish-list here, there’s little we can achieve without it. Our success – not just with learning – is directly related to our ability to concentrate. Great achievements follow when we can focus on doing a single thing really well, giving it our 100% undivided attention.
Did we miss something?
In school, we receive a comprehensive education on a broad range of subjects, however, we don’t have classes in ‘concentration’ as a subject. It is generally assumed that we know how to concentrate, without ever being formally taught how to do it. That’s quite a miss, especially given its importance for learning. If you struggle with staying focused on a single topic or activity for an extended period of time, then rest assured, you’re not alone. Let’s fix this now.
All it takes for you is to understand what concentration is and how it works. Once you can see the underlying mechanisms, you can train them with everything you do throughout your day. Your learning ability will benefit big time and as soon as you can more easily control and direct your attention, you will find yourself enormously empowered and geared towards success.
Are you ready to learn the three secrets of concentration?
Then read on…
Concentration is an action
Let’s get a few misconceptions out of the way and dive into the three secrets that will help you to tame your mind and achieve a laser focus for learning.
- Concentration is not something you have or don’t have. It is something you DO. It is a skill that can be developed through regular practice. Just like a muscle gets stronger by lifting weights, your concentration gets stronger each time you use it.
- Contrary to common belief, concentration is NOT the absence of distractions. In that case, concentration would not be needed anymore. Concentration is the skill to win over distractions. Just like you use the weights in a fitness center to train your muscles, distractions are opportunities to build up your concentration power.
- The ruling advice to focus on your goal needs to be taken with a grain of salt: While it is great to have a shining goal, e.g. winning a competition, as a motivator to work hard, thinking too much about the outcome of your working can also become an obstacle. Your wish to succeed comes paired with fear of failure. Such thoughts and feelings take your attention away from the present moment. Concentration is not to focus on your goal, but to focus on the needful action in the present moment.
But I am getting all these distracting thoughts…
Managing the human mind is an art that can take a lifetime to master. Since we don’t have that much time, let me share a quick mind-hack to get you back in the zone whenever thoughts are pouring on you and take your precious attention away from learning.
The underlying phenomena is that we have two types of thoughts: connected and disconnected thoughts. Connected thoughts are your discursive, analytical thinking. These are the ones you want to keep, they help you to learn and understand a subject. Disconnected thoughts on the other hand don’t serve any target-oriented purpose. They seem to come out of nowhere, attack our focus and distract us from completing the task at hand. When learning for school or exams, you want to work with connected thoughts and silence the noise of disconnected thoughts around them.
The mind-hack: Disconnected thoughts and feelings lose their power over us, once we unmask them for what they are. The playful yet highly effective solution here is, to create “buckets” in your mind. Whenever a random thought or feeling tries to get all your attention, quickly identify it, label it, and place it in its’ bucket.
Example: You’re learning for an upcoming exam and the fear of failure comes up. Unmask this guy: “You are a fear” and place it in a bucket labeled as “fears”. As mentioned above, too much thinking about your goal is counterproductive too, hence label it “You are a desire”, place it in a bucket and recalibrate your focus on the present moment.
Start using your new super skill
So there you go. You just learned the three secrets of concentration and the bucket technique for managing distracting thoughts and feelings. Just like a samurai has his sword, concentration can indeed become your secret weapon, a super skill to ace learning and exams.
We have more learning tipps for you and hope to share them with you in person in one of our classes.
Enrol in your free trial class to get a feel of what it is like to be fully immersed in a new language.