Could you calculate this number?

How many times do you check your phone between 6am to 9am?
Find out this number just one time and see what number you got and what this number is all about.
This number tells us something about our life and our mindsets.
This is also simple research to reflect our habit of how our life is rolling everyday.
The study of our own life is one of the best ways to learn human experience.
Simply this number tells us what exactly the focus is.
Is it derailed or dissipated or conserved?
Unlearning old ideas or undoing harmful habits is more painful than installing new habits on us.
We need deliberate focus to unlearn the old and to install the new.
Focus shouldn’t be used as a noun, it’s always a verb for us.

One day my daughter was doing elementary math: fractions and decimals.
I was trying to help her.
Her laptop was next to her, turned off and inside the case.
I was observing her when she was doing math problems. She was partially focussed in math but not fully engaged in the problems at hand.
She was doing math but occasionally wandering and watching her laptop.
Our mind is very clever because it knows what’s around us.
It tricks us a lot if we become fools.
I told her, “ Bunu, I think it’s better if you make a habit of keeping your laptop somewhere on the shelf or in a drawer secure.”
She replied, “why?”
I said, “it would be safer, you know your younger brother’s habit, he is 15 month curious toddler, he can ruin things faster”
She added, “sure, and she put her laptop inside the drawer.”
I again added, “I prefer another room than here.”
She told me, “it doesn’t matter.”
But I requested her, “it matters, you will understand it later.”
I said, “if you don’t see anything from your eyes, your mind also doesn’t see it, if you don’t see your laptop, your mind works pretty smoothly on your math problems.”
“Trust me you will realize the benefit of it later,” I added.
I didn’t want to go deeper than this with my 11 years old daughter.
The essence is if we don’t see anything or if it is far from our reach, we become more focussed in our task at hand, the influence of the unseen thing decreases dramatically.”
Research has shown us again and again, it works fantastic to increase our focus on the task at hand.
My daughter spent in solving math problems almost forty minutes uninterrupted.

Many times, it is easy to ignore temptations when they’re far and not immediately available.
But when they are right in front of us we lose perspective and forget our distant goals.
Our human judgement is so distorted by the immediate temptations that we forget long term benefits.
It ruins our future aspirations.
This is normal and natural.

Reward is one way to start the habit of focus for kids, but by no means it’s the end solution.
I sometimes offer my daughter a reward: If you finish the task I will give you a reward, if you want now $5 but after one month $10, it’s your choice.
My daughter always says $5 right now.
Alas, instant gratification.
See the power of it even though the reward becomes double after one month.
One additional point, though it’s debatable but cash reward is good for kids because it teaches them about autonomy, and not only that it also teaches them how to handle cash with responsibility.
Instant gratification is not unusual, it is made by mind so that they can be changed only by practice.
Instant gratification derails focus and patience.

We can build focus no matter who we are or where we come from because we are born with it.

Building the habit of focus is also the same as other habits.
Kicking any habit seemed to be contagious.
If one person in our family quit smoking, the chance of another person quitting would increase dramatically.
The chance also becomes better if a neighbor, best friend, or coworker quit.
Show them that reading a physical book and checking notifications on your smartphone at same time aren’t healthy.

Increase your focus rather than your working time.
Focused work produces real evolutionary results on time but routine work produces only default results.
Focus habit quadruples the results overtime.
Teach your kids what focused work is and what just work is.
Show them the difference.
Focused person says, “ I’m smart enough to figure out what my situation is telling me, I’m writing a poem.”
But a working person says, “I’m smarter than my situation so that I’m writing a poem and checking emails.”

Few weeks ago, I told my family I will take them hiking the following weekend.
For some reason I couldn’t take them hiking on that weekend and I went to work.
But during work, my mind was wandering for hiking.
My kids’ minds were more devastated than mine.
To be honest, I was at work but my mind was hiking.
If we are hiking, then our mind should be hiking and if we are at work then our mind should be at work.
This is only possible if we’ve a focused mind.
Life requires a lot of work but a lot of work requires a small monomaniacal focus.

Focus can be made by repeated rigorous mental practices.
There is a reason why Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett read a physical book a few hours everyday in a distraction-free environment.
They practice focus by gaining knowledge.

Have you ever thought about your web-surfing habit?
Is it inquisitive or entertaining?
Most of the time we don’t follow much discipline if we are just moving from one website to another.
We have to understand our entertaining habit if we never pause to read anything longer than a tweet or short message.
Much of the self-focus comes from integrating habits over time, therefore, we have to guard our everyday habits.
Passing up entertainment for self-focus is hard but achievable.

Success requires much more discipline than grabbing a phone and checking tweets.
“One of the pillars of success is focus,” says the author of “5am Club” Robin Sharma.
Success is conditional but it is within our reach as long as we maintain the focus to try, and try again.
Focused habit incicites mastery but slowly.
Mastery is inherently a long term game and in the 21st century, the complete mastery of anything is unattainable but focused habit keeps mastery uptrend.
Serena Williams will never fully master the game of tennis.
Tiger Woods will never fully master the game of Golf.
Aamir Khan will never fully master the game of acting.
But their focus always keeps them on track.
Meaningful achievement depends on one’s habits and focusing toward the uptrend.

As I mentioned earlier, a focus habit begins with a reward system in kids but it is not a long term solution.
I tell my daughters if you read 20 pages today, I will let you watch your favourite movie next saturday.
They become so happy, they read 20 pages with excitement.
I am also quite aware that if I encourage my daughter to read by giving her movie reward, she will become more diligent in the short term and lose interest in reading in the long run when I stop rewarding her.
Reward should only be given to create new habits, otherwise reward motivates them to get rewards only.

Reward could be a groundwork to foster mastery in anything of interest.
Habit follows the intrinsic motivation toward deep work.
The key is reward should always be the initiator.
But the habit unknowingly elevates new neural connections in the brain and breaks the path for the reward system to discover new excitements on work of interest.
Extrinsic motivation of reward flows towards intrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is made, not born, and it always outperforms extrinsic motivation in the long run.
Reward is always external but is one of the tools to take us into the internal.
External is finite but internal is renewable.
External doesn’t promote greater physical and mental well-being but internal promotes both.
Joy of reading biology becomes similar to watching Tiktok.
If you can not believe it, ask Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, an american psychologist and author of “Finding Flow’, who says, “we reach in the state of flow when we work for our interest, not in leisure.”

From my own experience, humans’ intrinsic nature is to be curious.
This experience I have, because me and my wife have been around our three children for quite a time.
Me and my wife both are in the scientific research field.
Have you ever seen a one year old or a two year old who’s not curious?
Both me and my wife haven’t.
This is one reason we humans are creatures of curiosity.
If at age 10 or 53, we suddenly become passive, that’s not because it’s our character or due to age.
It’s because something changed our default brain setting during our growth.
That’s something is the deterioration of our focus overtime.

Let’s go back to our math problem.
If your final number is 0-3, congratulations.
Your focus power is in uptrend.
At present, the final number for mass population is 18.
We have a lot of work to be done.

I wish all of my readers a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year 2021.

Thank you for your time.
– Yam Timsina