“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym
To succeed in any endeavor is not a matter of strength of purpose, but rather one of presence. Your ability to stay with a problem and focus on it directly determines whether or not you will find a solution. And while hyperfocus may cause fatigue, a lack of focus prevents any solution whatsoever.
Focus isn’t inherent. From a very young age, you attach yourself to every available stimulus, rapidly changing our attention from one thing to another. This is amplified as you grow by the media you consume, be it television shows or movies with rapidly shifting scenes and camera angles or the constant swipe and redirection of attention on a new post on just about every social platform. While you may have the experience of having to sit with a particular program to learn a thing, the general experience outside of any program is one of fractured attention. So, given this constant bombardment of stimuli, how can you remain focused on one thing long enough to learn it or solve it?
The answer: practice!
How do you practice focus, though? If it isn’t inherent or, with few exception, taught, how do you develop it? You start small. You don’t learn to do a strong, 5-minute plank by struggling with plank for 5 minutes at a time; that will break you. You learn to hold plank well in smaller increments and gradually increase those increments until you can knock out a 5-minute plank without losing form. The same concept is applied when developing your focus. How long can you sit with something before you get distracted? Time it. Find out. If it’s no more than a few seconds, start with staying put for a minute. Eventually, you’ll find yourself able to sit with a thing for longer periods of time.
But it takes effort. It takes work.
So do the work.