How to Stay Concentrated on Anything and Become Genuinely Interested in it
Inspired by Brian Scott and Christian D Larson — go check out Brian’s YouTube channel to get more of these ideas straight from the source!
Ever had a task to do which you keep putting off because it simply doesn’t interest you? While this can be a sign that you are not working on what you are supposed to work on, and need to change occupation if possible, it is also an unavoidable fact of life. Even if your highest passion IS your job, everyone still has some painfully boring chores to do which are unavoidable.
So here’s some tips for increasing and developing a genuine fascination for whatever task you are faced with so that you can live a more enjoyable and productive life! — And who knows, you might stumble across a life-changing new passion or obsession that you may never have found without using these techniques!
To start off, you have to actively approach the topic or situation that you are faced with from an angle or perspective which is aligned with something you already enjoy and find interesting.
You have to ACTIVELY LOOK for things in your current experience which are related to things you find innately fascinating.
Say you’re working a 9–5 job as a cashier at a supermarket. But your passion is psychotherapy. You can sit there for what feels like an eternity, bored out of your mind, scanning bar-codes on vegetables… Or you can find a way to look at your job from a psychologist’s perspective!
As people come in and out of the shop, you can try and analyse them, you can analyse your own thoughts as you sit waiting, you can start asking everyone how their day is and try and learn about them and even do your best to say something which will leave them in a better or more inspired mood on their way out!
Now you’ve turned your boring 9–5 job into a psychotherapy-themed speed-dating circuit! And the vegetables you were busy hating on have faded away and become background noise to all of the fascinating, insightful and perhaps even emotional interactions you are having with your new and unaware “clients”! Now you’re in a situation where you are surrounded by what you love to do, but all that’s changed is the perspective that you’re using to look at your current circumstances and the task at hand.
Another example could be that you have to study hard for an exam. Maybe it’s a physics exam or something — super boring stuff for most people! A lot of people out there would rather play a video game or something. But as many people know, physics and games actually have a lot in common!
A lot of games run on advanced physics engines, that’s how you get cool and realistic looking car crashes and ragdolls and a lot of the amazingly realistic graphics and simulations that you see in today’s cutting edge video games.
Even the way stuff like light works in video games is starting to be created through very advanced “ray tracing” technologies which simulate the bounce of light particles using very complicated physics equations and very fast computers!
While looking at your physics homework, you can try and apply the concepts you’re studying to video games that you love or want to create, it will help you explore and expand your passion for video games and understand them on a deeper level, and at the same time, you will get your physics homework done, It’s a win win!
If you have a personal project that you want to start, but don’t know what the best route of attack would be, look for aspects of the project or thing you want to do that coincide with things you are innately fascinated by.
For me, I am interested in computer science and want to become a better programmer. For most people, programming looks like the most dry and boring thing in the world! And i have to confess, it mostly is!
There are many resources and ways to go about learning computer science, but many of them are extremely tedious, boring and thus unnecessarily straining and unpleasant.
I could start learning how to build better applications through following a tutorial which shows me how to make a mock credit card application. This would no doubt make me a better programmer, but it would be extremely tedious and boring because I have no interest whatsoever — at least currently- in credit cards.
Now since I’m not forced to make my project about credit cards, I can choose anything, and additionally it doesn’t even have to be a traditional “project”. I could instead take a more study and research-based approach, at least initially, and with the aim that this approach will eventually and naturally evolve into a more physical project with tangible results.
When it comes to technology, i am interested in optimization, in Programming as a craft, and in taking care of and organizing the little details to ensure that the quality of the product as a whole is as high as it can be. — understanding that these are my innate interests led me to a book called “clean code”.
when I feel inspired and like I have the mental capacity, I dive into the book and learn about how to make high quality software, and I learn from some of the best people to have ever done it. It’s a great resource and it’s situated perfectly on the intersection between what i want to do more of in the future, and what i currently find interesting.
Now just reading a book is not going to have the same impact on my programming ability as sitting down with my computer and actually writing code — that would probably improve my skill set faster. but, I’m hoping to reap subtler rewards from the book than just raw programming knowledge…
I am hoping that through reading the book and following my natural interests, that those interests will begin to grow and expand and start to connect to other aspects of development - and eventually the process of writing code itself. In essence, I am using the book to help me find ways of looking at software development that will increase my fascination with it, and thus improve my ability to concentrate on it for long hours at a time.
It’s a roundabout way of getting there, but sometimes the path ahead isn’t so straightforward, and sometimes it pays to take a slightly more winding but less painful path to your destination. There is a balance to it which you need to intuitively feel out, and doing so will help you avoid losing your passion for something altogether through close proximity of your interest to things that you don’t like, which never needed to be there in the first place!
Another concept this relates to is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. No matter what situation you are in, even if it’s something as boring and stressful as sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, you can use that time to look around your environment and focus on the details, this is an easy and quick way of getting into the present moment — which has many benefits!
In order to do this, Try to find and focus in on as small or obscure details as you can.
Like: The way light bounces around the room from the various sources, the texture of the surface of the chair you are sitting on. Imagine being able to see the weight of the building you are sitting in. Try to guess the load-bearing walls and beams and imagine the stress and strain put on those points compared to other points visualized as changes in color. Look at the funky design of the carpet, check the ceiling out — with all of the weird gadgets and doodads that usually hang from ceilings — inspect each one, and look further into their designs to reveal the individual components, down to each visible screw. Feel the temperature around you and understand that you are immersed in millions of tiny vibrating molecules which are currently creating that sensation through interacting with your skin cells which are sending electrical signals to your brain…
I rambled on here a bit but you get the idea hopefully! The universe is so ridiculously complicated and interesting that we are always surrounded by something of mind-blowing beauty and complexity. All you have to do is start looking for and focusing on the tiny little details and you will automatically start appreciating them.
Before you know it you will be overflowing with love and joy for the simplest of things. Just being alive and aware will become blissful and intensely fascinating!
Have you ever hated or not understood a particular film / song / book until someone else comes along and explains their perspective on and love for it in such a way that you then “get” it, Which then opens you up to this cool new experience you never knew you’d be into? This has happened to me countless times and it has led to discovering some of my favorite music, films, books, and all kinds of other stuff!
You don’t have to wait for someone like that to come along. You can be that person to yourself. You just have to put some effort into trying to join the dots between what you are already interested in and what’s on your to-do list.
Before you know it, you will be seeing these connections everywhere and you will have the potential to be blissfully fascinated by everything and everyone that you come across, and then you can channel this innate fascination, love and curiosity for life into anything you want to put your mind towards!
This effect will snowball, because as you get interested in more things, you will then be able to use those new interests and apply aspects of what you like about them to even more things in life. If you’re not careful, soon you might look up at a clock and find that you have been staring in wonder at your shoelaces for 3 hours looking at the intricately crafted woven design!
If you made it to the bottom, congratulations! It’s starting to work already! :P
I hope you found this article interesting and useful! If you did, go check out Brain Scott’s YouTube channel! It’s crammed with spiritual pearls of wisdom like the one that inspired this article! Now go have fun cleaning those dishes 😊 — Mikey