Focus — The Balance Scale of Our Lives

Graphic by Eric Estibeiro

Focus is the cognitive ability to channel your attention to a single task and be fully absorbed in it without disruption, says Sabrina Romanoff, Psyd.

Our mind is not at one place to think about what has to be done. It skips the rope, jumps the hurdles only to fall at a pit of mud when we lose attention to the work. Whether it’s something we hate or something we love, this ability is constantly tested. Moreover, if we fail, everything seems to be a useless attempt towards doom. What should be our center of focus in life anyway?

At different stages of our lives, we are told multiple things by different people that should be our sole point of attention. Career, family, money, happiness, stability, health and what not. The worst part is when you’re in your twenties. With parents telling you your focus should be on a government job and social media telling you your focus should be on happiness and peace (ironic, I know). There is merciless competition, complicated relationships with everyone and everything in our lives. It’s all very, “So no one told you life was gonna be this way, your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA,” just like the FRIENDS theme song goes.

Our whole future seems to depend on each and every decision we take. Whether we succeed or fail, there will always be regrets and other options no matter what we choose to focus on. By focusing on academics we might lose several opportunities and exposure to extracurriculars. On the flip side focusing on extracurriculars might cost us the academic excellence that our society demands so rigidly.

How do we know what it should be? Where do we invest ourselves and what exactly should be our center of focus? How do we fight the guilt of making the wrong choice? And is there a right or wrong choice?From what I have learned from my own experiences, the discomfort we feel with our choices doesn’t make it wrong. What we might have chosen as our point of focus is often the best we could do with our resources and knowledge. More often than we realize, we are allowed to reevaluate, recalibrate and make a decision that gives us ease and peace.

Life is one precious gem and there are many questions about its existence. A purpose might have served well had it been a destination. It, however, is a journey with seven billion others who we often tend to compare ourselves to. We need to shift our attention to evolving and outdoing our past, not others. Within the chaos and plethora of choices, the mind continues its search for peace. Although it always seems that we have to have a very specific point of focus in our lives to be dedicated and successful, our focus should start from breathing as it reminds us about the beating heart which has dreams. Our dreams can take multiple paths, we are allowed to change them and experience everything needed to grow. Humans are full of emotions which can be light or overwhelming. I believe our focus should be about finding a safe place so we can learn and evolve. Our focus should be us and our place in the world.

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