During my 25,000 hours on the shooting range, I developed a simple model to help one come into, and maintain, focus. My Focus Model outlines the obstacles to focus, as well as how to overcome them to tap into your full potential. Let’s break it down:
Step One: Take note of your thoughts and their origins. Oftentimes, distracting or worrying thoughts are connected to past and future experiences. How many times have you thought, “I should have done X” or “What happens if Y?” Neither of these involves the present. They both hinge on a period of time that has either already or not yet passed.
Step Two: Imagine two horizontal timelines with a gap separating them down the middle (see diagram below). The line on the left represents thoughts of the past, and the line to the right represents thoughts of the future. The gap in the middle represents the present. Determine if your distracting thoughts are connected to the past or the future and place them on the appropriate line in the diagram.
Step Three: Remove these past-and future-centric thoughts from the present moment (see the diagram below). Replace them with neutral thoughts based in the “now,” such as a leaf in the wind, a chair, or a spot on the ground. Anything works, so long as it doesn’t cause you to think forward or backward in time.
Once you complete these steps to sharpen and declutter your mind, your true ability shines, uninhibited by stress and anxiety. In this state, we perform exactly as well as we are capable. We cannot possibly be any better than we are in this moment. We are present and fully able.
Next time you face a peak performance situation, remember the Focus Model and unleash your total capabilities!