There are two kinds of focus, bread and butter or laser.
We all know that knowledge is power, but I don’t wholeheartedly agree, knowledge is potential power.
From knowledge to practice, from practice to experience, and from experience to wisdom.
But the foundation will always start with knowledge, so let’s take a closer examination on that.
Let’s say you are taking notes during a lesson.
Your frontal lobe in combination with the hippocampus is how the brain stores and files away this new information. This requires synaptic husssh, full focused attention.
Lets say that you are in a room at home, you can hear the dog barking (sound/thing, temporal lobe activation) you “feel” hungry (midbrain, survival mode) you have to be somewhere in 40 minutes (place, temporal lobe) your phone just sounded a text message (temporal, occipital and parietal lobe) and your neck is sore (survival/parietal lobe).
With all the neural activity going on like a lightning story, it triggers an associative memory about the damn barking dog last night that woke you up; which then takes you back to a dog that you had as a child; and that triggers memories of school and how there was a bully there that gave you a hard time… you get the idea.
Not much learning because your frontal lobe (working with the hippocampus) absorbs, categorizes and stores the new information in the rest of the cortices, is now taxed. Your attention is spread out like butter on bread, instead of being laser focused like a magnifying glass setting paper of fire. The frontal lobe, the region of the brain that encodes, and makes sense of new information is elsewhere; the Boss is off the job.
This is why we cannot learn quantum mechanics while simultaneously thinking about the text message we just sent out, and what we’re having for lunch. Too much activation of the cortices outside of the context of what we’re learning will keep us bound to mediocrity.
How to you increase focus then? One simple tool is focused meditation.
If you have performed focused meditation correctly, and over the at least 6 to 8 weeks, your frontal lobe will grow new grey matter becoming better at focused attention and use less energy for a giving cognitive task.
In short, your brain becomes more efficient, faster and better at skills like insight, creativity, focus and attention, and solving problems.
The frontal lobe allows us to decide where to place or displace our attention. Its the only region of the brain that consciousness can enter and decide which neural nets to fire, and which ones to cool off so we can comprehend and learn the information.
The problem isn’t comprehension, or it’s too hard to learn, its that we just can’t mix new ideas or information with old neural nets that have nothing to do with the context of what were learning.
Why? Because the brain learns fastest through association in the context of the information we’re learning. Don’t confuse your brain, switch the iPhone to flight mode.
To learn, the frontal lobe must be solely focused on the task at hand and have the cognitive skill developed by focused meditation, to cool off the other neural nets that distract an average minded person.
If we want results, focused attention and concentration will get them. There is no other way.
Don’t bread and butter your learning, be dangerously focused.