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It’s hard for many of us to focus. And most people feel that they have to force themselves to focus. When you draw all your attention on one thing, it can feel like a burden.

When everything seems to be on the line for something, focus can feel like a pressure. How do people enjoy the process when they have to focus?

Focus should make your journey easier. When you use your focus as a strength, there is more enjoyment and fulfillment in reaching your goals. And when you dedicate yourself to the process, winning is not the only accomplishment.

In this episode, you’ll discover how to focus with more intention and enjoyment (instead of stress).

Show Highlights Include:

  • How to transform a ‘Forced Focus’ mindset into embracing your goals. (2:22)
  • The Vince Lombardi way to relentlessly pursue perfection and enjoy the process. (4:35)
  • A figure skater’s theory on establishing a winning mindset (with the most fulfillment). (5:23)
  • How to strengthen your focus and become more present through the Mamba Mentality.  (7:42)
  • How to stop burdening yourself with accomplishment and appreciate the journey.  (10:03)

Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Click here to get the first chapter of Dr. Rick’s best-selling book, Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout, for free.

Read Full Transcript

(00:03): Welcome to how you live in a transformative podcast, featuring bestselling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Riggsby and now Dr. Rick,

(00:23): Hello friends. Thanks so much for joining us today. I want to talk to you about focus. That's our topic. Focus first, let me begin with the confession. Most of my life, I've had the wrong idea and the wrong outlook. When it comes to focus, I have viewed focus as a task, a chore, a negative something I have to do to reach an expected outcome. As a result, I suffer from what I refer to as forced focus. Let me explain. I focus only when I have to. I focus when I'm must, I've spent my entire life doing this yet. I wonder why I struggle in this area. Looking back over my life starting as a television reporter in the 1970s and 1980s, I forced myself to focus on facts to memorize names and dates in graduate school. I've forced myself to focus every single day.

(01:26): I'd spend 45 minutes out of every hour during my study time focused, solid 45 minutes, and then I would reward myself the final 15 minutes of each hour. Even today I force focus. I'm honored to offer this podcast, asked on a regular basis. It's a real thrill for me. I'm privileged to offer an online service live every Sunday morning. What a joy I'm thrilled to be working on my latest book along with various other short writing projects. And I love delivering speeches on average, about two speeches a week, both virtually and in person events. And I've noticed something over the years with all of my activities. Focus is always a struggle and it's not just due to my attention deficit. There's something else going on. And I think I'm uncovering it. You see, since COVID, I've increased my online coaching and been a lot of fun among my clients is a former professional athlete regarded among the very best to ever play his sport.

(02:33): And I've discovered that one of the differences between me and this elite athlete is that he does not struggle with focus. He, it focus is a required part of the journey and he enjoys the process. Well, this got me looking at other elite athletes and I began to notice a similar pattern. Focus to the elite athlete is not a struggle. They don't participate in forced focus. They don't see focus as a problem, but it's a strength. They see intense focus as a necessary part of the process. I think I need to pause here just for a moment. We live in a society where we're very out, come driven. Ours is an outcome oriented world. It's about the bottom line. It's about winning at all costs. And I get that, but that's not what you hear. Elite athletes talk about. Winning is huge to them. It's big.

(03:36): Winning is a major goal, but is not the only goal. A major part of success is enjoying the climb, the grind, learning to enjoy the process. As many of you know, I spent years privileged to be part of the football coaching staff at Texas a and M university. I was the life skills, coach you a character coach, if you will, as well as chaplain. And I have heard coaches say a hundred times, we have to get our players to commit to the process, to believe in the process. That way they'll enjoy the process. And when they do the results will be easy to predict committing to the process. You know, friends, I'm realizing that this is the great payoff for elite athletes. Winning becomes icing on the cake. Vince Lombardi's opening speech to his new 1959 green bay packer team is legendary. He said, these words, gentleman, we shall relentlessly pursue perfection.

(04:43): Knowing full well will never catch it, but we shall relentlessly pursue perfection. And in the process, we'll catch excellence. Friends. This statement is not about achieving perfection. Perfection though. Highly unrealistic is an outcome. This statement is about the focus required to remain committed to the process. If you're dedicated to the process, Lombardi believed the excellence would come, the wins would come. And so would learning to enjoy the journey. A current example of this is found in us Olympic figure skater. Nathan Chen, the 2022 winter Olympics in Beijing are underway during the recording of this podcast episode. Let's go back a few years. It was back in South Korea during 2018 that we first heard of Nathan. He entered the Olympics highly favored and didn't do too well. He did not even receive a medal. So he goes back home to salt lake and he commits to working harder, but the Yale university student did something else.

(05:55): He challenged his existing mindset. Nathan has spent the last four years improving and winning. He comes into the 2022 Olympics as a national champion. And again, a favorite in figure skating against the doubts of critics, despite the high expectations, despite the chance he hears of well, can you win at the Olympics? The most dominant man in figure skating began the 2022 Beijing Olympics with an almost perfect score in the short program. His score ranks as the second highest short program score in history. During the interviews that led up to the 2022 Olympics, Nathan was always asked the obvious questions. Nathan, are you haunted by not getting a medal back in 2018? How are you dealing with the pressure of being the favorite in the Beijing Olympics? Listen carefully to Nathan's response. I've worked hard, very hard over the past four years, four years ago in South Korea, I was so stressed and that's all I remember.

(07:05): I've developed a new mindset that regardless of the outcome, I'm going to enjoy the journey. I'm going to enjoy my Olympic experience in Beijing. So that 10 years from now I'll look back and say, I enjoyed the Olympics in quote. Well, only time will tell how Nathan finishes in 2022, but he's certainly off to a good start in his post game. Or I should say his post skate interview. He reminded the world of his goal to enjoy the journey. Nathan Chi in has already won friends. This has forced me to examine my mindset when it comes to how I view focus. And the problem is obvious. Perhaps like many of you, I am outcome oriented and focus is a necessary evil, but like Nathan it's time for me to challenge such a mindset. My about truly elite athletes results in one formidable conclusion, excellence focuses on the process of achievement rather than the outcomes.

(08:10): Focus experts. Note that the process demands. You take a lofty goal, break it into smaller manageable goals. Focus on the details required to achieve those small goals. And the results is you'll experience fulfillment all along the process. You'll actually begin to enjoy the experience. The late Kobe Bryant talks about this in his book titled the Mamba mentality, how I play the game. Kobe mastered every aspect of his game from legendary midnight workout. After games to massive film study. Kobe said that he not only wanted to train his body, but his mind as well by focusing on everyday detail in his daily life, Kobe said the only way he could grow greatness on the court was to increase his focus off the court. Listen to his words, by reading, by paying attention, by practicing and practicing and practicing by working and working and working. I strengthened my focus.

(09:10): I strengthened my ability to be present and not have a way wondering mine. An example of this is found in Kobe's cardio training. Kobe once said he could run all day long and that was important in order to play basketball, you've gotta be in great shape as a result, his cardio focused on one thing, recovery, the time it takes to recover between sprints Kobe's reasoning, basketball dictates short bursts, you run as fast as you can. And after a moment to recover, you burst again. Kobe wanted to make sure that he was always ready for the next burst. Well, I've been thinking about Nathan Chan, I've been thinking about Kobe Bryant. I've been thinking about what these elite a athletes can teach us about the ability to focus. And I close with two takeaways first. Remember I mentioned that Nathan challenged his existing mindset and began the work of moving from stress to enjoyment.

(10:10): We can do the very same thing. I want you to think of a goal right now that you want to accomplish. Many of us, the thought of accomplishment stresses us out, but let's challenge that stressed mindset deepen our focus on the details and the process and learn to enjoy the journey. The second takeaway I learned from reading about Kobe Bryant, that he never separated playing basketball from the other areas of a, his life. Rather Kobe challenged himself to improve all areas of his life, both on and off the basketball court. This required developing an appreciation for focusing in his words, focusing quote on every single detail in my life. This top my mind not to wonder in friends, I've started practicing these two takeaways, focusing on details, the move from stress to enjoyment, total focus, challenging my mind, not to wonder I've discovered that executive coach Robin Sharma is right.

(11:15): We are easily distracted, but if we conscientiously and intentionally focus on the details of the process, not only will our probability of task completion increase, but our enjoyment of the journey will intensify. I've challenged that deeply rooted paradigm in my life, friends, I longer view focus as a negative. Rather intense focus is a powerful, positive, proactive energy in my life that allows me to commit to the process and enjoy the journey. Well, that's gonna do it for this episode until we meet again. This is Dr. Rick asking the most important question I can ask how you living.

(12:05): Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you wanna stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his best selling book lessons from a third grade dropout, absolutely free. Just go to www.rickriggsby.com/free gift to get the print or audio book right now.

(12:31): This is the podcast as factory.com.

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