Why do most people fail to achieve their vision? It's not because they lack the ability or resources. It's simply because they lose focus, according to Joey Klein, a personal development expert, martial arts champion, and author of The Inner Matrix: A Guide to Transforming Your Life and Awakening Your Spirit. "Those who are successful understand that without focus one cannot take the necessary steps to create a vision," he says. Or as Bruce Lee put it: "The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus."
But as we all know, hanging on to your focus is more and more difficult in the modern world. Indeed, the demands of our daily work, with constantly arriving emails and texts, meetings, conference calls and video chat with contacts near and far, the need to keep up with social media, as well as the avalanche of important news about whatever industry you're in all encourage us--or force us--to rapidly move our attention from one thing to another during the course of our workdays, and our off times as well.
There's just one problem, Klein says. The more we flit around in this way, the less we are able to focus. "Because the brain gets good at whatever it practices, you are actually training your brain for distraction," he explains. "Focus, and therefore the power to create vision, is lost in the process." This is why, he says, "Distraction is a death sentence for manifesting one's vision."
Since we're stuck in this distraction-heavy world, how do we get our focus--and vision--back again? Here's Klein's recipe:
1. Unplug from distractions for 20 minutes every day.
Use that time for meditation, Klein advises. Just focusing on your breath and following whichever meditation practice suits you best will help undo the mental damage of our distracting world and strengthen your ability to focus. One way to get started is by taking Klein's free nine-week online meditation course.
2. Check in with your own emotional state several times a day.
Whatever your vision, Klein explains, you won't be able to move toward it if what you're feeling is anxiety, anger, frustration, hopelessness, shame, guilt, or jealousy. "What outcome could you create from such lower emotional patterns?" he asks.
If, on the other hand, you're feeling peace, love, joy, gratitude, or compassion, you are likely on your way to achieving your vision, he says. The challenge is to use the skills you learn in meditation to move your emotional state from one to the other.
3. Consider your vision every time you must make a decision.
When faced with a choice, Klein says, "Simplify your life by always asking yourself this one question, 'What takes me towards my vision?' If you use this question as a North Star by which to chart your course, the situation you face will immediately lose its perceived complexity. If a choice takes you closer to your vision, then follow that path. If it takes you further away from realizing your intended creation, then go in the other direction."
Having a vision doesn't necessarily mean that you know exactly how to get there, he adds. The point is to have a clear idea of where you want to end up, not necessarily of every step along the way. "Focus on embodying the mental, emotional, and physical state the supports creation of the vision, and take action from that state," he advises. If you get distracted, he adds, "Gently direct your focus back to the vision you have chosen."
This is why working from an emotional place of peace, love, and gratitude is so valuable. If you can do that, he says, "You can rest assured that you are aligned with your vision and on the path to achieving it."