Something interesting happens when you shine a beam of light on a wall. The further away you are, the bigger and dimmer the light appears. The closer you are, the smaller and brighter that same light seems. Similarly, when further away, the light will shine on many things. But the closer you are, the more the light is forced to narrow its focus point. This demonstration could be interpreted as a strictly scientific observation, but look a little deeper and it becomes a metaphoric life lesson. Think of the light as a representation of your focus level and the wall as your daily tasks, life goals or passions. You can either stand at a distance and shine a dim light on multiple ambitions or lean in and devote laser-like attention to one thing at a time. Which is more effective? The broad flashlight focus or the intense laser focus? Let’s explore.
Flashlight focus can be described as tending to multiple projects without prioritizing or devoting full attention to one particular task. Most people have heard time and time again that multitasking is an asset to productivity. We’ve been conditioned to believe that mastering this skill is the key to accomplishing more in less time. However, that line of thinking is a common modern myth. Even though multitasking may seem to be a reliable time-saver, in the long run it’s not. Realistically, multitasking prevents our brains from truly focusing on either task, thus reducing our ability to produce the highest quality result. (Read more about this here.) While flashlight focus sheds light on more simultaneously, it also requires that you remain at a distance, prohibiting you from establishing true depth and connection with any of your goals.
Conversely, laser focus is defined as the act of dedicating concentrated attention to the completion or mastery of a singular responsibility. Laser focus is flashlight focus refined; it occurs when you close the gap between you and your task. When you think of a laser beam, you probably picture a small, intense light that is used to direct attention to only one object. Similarly, laser focus isolates what’s most important and prioritizes one task at a time. Because this type of attention is so concentrated, it blocks out distractions and forces you to tend to the important while dismissing the urgent matters that randomly pop up. On the surface this approach to productivity may seem to slow down the overall process because it prohibits multitasking. However, when you want to get a lot done, it’s not about adding things, but subtracting.
Like flashlights and laser beams, people also have the ability to shine. The positivity, energy and love that you emit is your light to share with the world. But remember, like time and energy, light is limited; you only have so much to give. If you allow your light to touch too many things and spread too thinly, its true power may go unseen. It’s up to you to decide whether you shine dimly at a distance like a flashlight or strong and near like a laser. If you want to go big in your results, sometimes you have to go small first. Refining your focus is the first step toward radiating a brighter light. Remember to believe in yourself and your ability go get laser focused. Simply identify your distractions, make a decision to get them out of the way, make the task in front of you a priority and give it your laser focus. You can do it!