Word Of the Week #569: Refocus

July 1, 2015 by  

Refocusto readjust one’s concentration of attention or energy on something.

Have you ever been forced to make a decision? How did that feel? Would the outcome have been different if you had time to refocus and come up with more options?

This week Carl Richards’ article, “Don’t Force Decisions. Refocus” featured in The New York Times, felt like a good follow up to last week.

He writes, “I love rock climbing. Looking from the ground up, it seems almost impossible for climbers to balance themselves and find handholds where none seem to exist.

Even the most talented climbers can end up getting stuck on climbs well below their skill level. The fact that the next move feels so hard, like we need to force it, means we’re missing something. There must be a handhold we just haven’t seen yet.

When I get stuck, I try to relax and take a step back. This small pause helps me refocus and I usually end up seeing a handhold I overlooked. I compare these moments with the resistance we sense when we try to turn a bolt, and it just won’t go.

a refocus

Recently, I was talking to a friend who has built a really successful business. He told me that all of his biggest mistakes were the result to trying to force something. Instead of pulling back and refocusing, he’d try to push his way through the situation. In contrast, his biggest successes happened when he gave himself time to find a better way forward.

What if we start to practice a different reaction to resistance? After all, resistance doesn’t imply that we can’t reach our desired goals. It simply means we haven’t found the best option – yet. Why not give ourselves time to identify and evaluate our choices?

Writers stumbled on to this trick a long time ago. Throughout history, we’ve heard the stories of how writers used walking to help work through new ideas and deal with writer’s block.

I’m curious to see what would happen if more of us approached life thinking like a writer. We would still commit to finding a way forward, but like a bolt that just won’t turn, we may need an adjustment. We can’t make that adjustment, however, if we don’t stop the force.”

This week’s focus is on taking time to refocus. How many times have you felt something was just impossible? How would it feel to relax and pause the next time you feel under pressure to make a decision? How likely are you to readjust your attention by giving yourself time to identify and evaluate all of your options?

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