We live in a world that espouses the virtues of multi-tasking. Being able to do multiple tasks at once is considered a great thing. But is it really? Is never centering yourself really a good thing? The answer, in short, is no.
The ability to focus on a task to completion is the true hallmark of a great person. Multi-tasking is a vice of the modern world where ADHD reigns supreme and the largest amount of reading most people do is on their Facebook page. But what is focus and centering yourself? What makes it so powerful?
IN MARTIAL ARTS
Understanding how to properly utilize your center in martial arts is an often overlooked aspect. I never put too much thought into it myself until recently once I began training at a different school. You are most powerful when your energy is directed towards your center. What do I mean by that? Let’s try an experiment…
Get in front of a punching bag, line yourself up and punch it as hard as you can. Feels powerful doesn’t it? Now stand in the same spot and turn 90 degrees. From that angle punch the bag as hard as you can (your ending position should look like you are holding your arm straight out to your side). Not nearly as strong is it?
This can be either used to make yourself more powerful or to put your opponent in a weaker position by manipulating where you are compared to their center. Even a slight change in angles creates a drastic power change. Simply put, focus your efforts while disrupting your opponents. If they must constantly readjust themselves in order to be lined up with you, they’ll never win.
AT THE GYM
Ever see those guys constantly fiddling with their phones, flirting with the girls on the treadmills, and hopping from one exercise to another? They are not focused or centered. They are trying to achieve the look of a bodybuilder while acting like the water-cooler socialite. Unlike in martial arts however, their opponent is themselves. They are constantly keeping themselves off-center with distractions and will consequently never achieve the power they would have if they focused on the task at hand.
I work with a group of chronic multi-taskers. They are constantly jumping from emails, to orders, to phone calls, to paperwork. They’re stressed and inefficient. In contrast I stroll into work, turn on a good audiobook, and burn through my emails all at once. I don’t look at them again until the afternoon unless it’s something urgent. I then place any orders that are in my queue. Finally, I return any calls that I missed. Simple, efficient, stress-free. I stay focused and centered. Because I am not jumping from one thing to the other, I am not wasting unnecessary time and am finishing everything before others are even halfway through.
I have a demanding job, and there are those that constantly demand my attention on mundane tasks. I don’t allow it. I do not constantly readjust myself to THEIR center. I make them readjust to mine. If I were to go running after every “urgent” email or phone call, I’d leave at the end of the day with a larger to-do list than when I came in.
Much like at work, there are constant distractions that threaten to pull you off-center and keep you from your goals. If you are not diligent and prepared for them, they will succeed and you will be playing constant catch-up.
Make a list of your goals. I suggest making a single goal for each realm of your life; health, wealth, relationships, spirituality, and education (even if you are past your school years). If anything doesn’t line up with your goals, drop it like a bad habit (chances are it is anyways). Center in on what you want to achieve and you will surprised at the strides you make.
Focus and being centered are almost synonymous terms with a few subtle differences. Being centered means you have your goals/tasks and all the extraneous stuff is removed from the equation. Focus is hounding those tasks/goals until they are done. When irrelevant stuff pops up, focus keeps you on task. Being centered allows you to recognize that it’s irrelevant and shouldn’t be entertained.
Once you are centered, everything becomes a yes or no question.
“Does performing Task X help me obtain Goal X?”
It doesn’t get any easier than that. It’s extremely liberating and instantly reduces the amount of stress you have to deal with.
Center your focus to yield the strongest results. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about a punch or a project at work. You’ll find that executing your techniques will become much more effortless and your life much more peaceful.