What is "one"?
-being a single unit or thing
-a unified entity
You know what? My brain (if I allow it) can take me on a cataclysmic journey. Why you may (or may not) ask? There’s just too much of everything and if allowed to do so, all of my responsibilities, ideas, dreams, worries, etc. can pile up and nearly paralyze me if I allow them to do so.
I touch on this concept in Chapter 3 of my book: Going Mental. Let’s take a simple example of how this can work on a typical race day morning. At 6:30 am, I prepare to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles. THIS should be my only focus.
However, what can happen is the following:
-6:30 am: worry that I have not trained hard enough for this particular race -6:35 am: stomach begins to feel nauseous from my worrying at 6:30
-6:40 am: repeated porta-potty visits due to tummy issues from worrying -7:00 am: the starting cannon goes BOOM and off I go for a 2.4 mile swim -7:10 am: by this time, I feel like I’m a bowling ball in the water due to losing so much focus and energy between 6:30am - 7am
Thankfully, this only happened one time, and luckily I survived the swim; although it wasn’t one of my better performances.
You see, at 6:30am it’s far too late for any nagging concerns about training, etc. My ONLY focus should be on the swim, then the bike and finally the run. ONE THING AT A TIME!
Over time, I have learned how to optimize my race mornings to be in the best physical and mental racing form I can be. The key is taking one step at a time and giving each step the focused attention it deserves. If I allow my mind to take a trip in La La Land, trouble will more than likely follow.
The good news is that if we have a tendency to allow our brains to become a plate of mashed potatoes, we can indeed change this behavior. How do I know this? (Thanks for asking!) Well, I’m a brain freak. I read and study a great deal about those three pounds of matter up in our skulls. It fascinates me. And here’s the thing . . . our brains have PLASTICITY. This is a fancy way of saying our brains can mold and adjust throughout our lives.
The key element is unlike computers, which have “hardwired” brains (if you will); the human brain is “livewired,” meaning it can rewire itself to adust to the inputs, outputs and tasks at hand within our lives. The human brain can rework its own circuitry. In fact, any time we learn a new task, element, etc., the brain physically and neurologically alters itself (plasticity). You see . . . it can change! It just takes some hard work if it’s something important to you.
Therefore, you have a workout for the month of February. We're going to try to mold a new talent into our brains. Yes . . . I expect you to do your homework!
WORKOUT 1: ZONE IN
Alright . . . we need to prepare for the challenge that awaits you in Workout 2. For this initial exercise, I would like you to listen to a portion of this song four times. At least 1 minute for each practice. The goal is to completely block out everything EXCEPT the focal point (shared below.) This is not an easy task, but it will help your mindset in forcing yourself to focus on a single entity (which is needed for Workout 2).
The goal is to focus on the following instruments each playthrough.
Play 1: Focus on the drums/cymbals ONLY.
Play 2: Focus on the bass ONLY.
Play 3: Focus on the guitar ONLY.
Play 4: Focus on the vocals ONLY.
WORKOUT 2: THE ONE
With this workout, when you have a responsibility, task, etc., I want you to truly focus on that one task. Try to not let the other “noises” within your mind deter you from your focus.
I know many people view the ability to multitask as some great superpower, but in reality it just means you’re trying to accomplish too many things at once. Something (or multiple things) are going to get the short end of the stick (so to speak). Furthermore, by trying to focus on too many things at once, you’re inviting the mental avalanche to make a visit. And we know what happens when that little snowball grows and grows; at some point it’s going to destroy something. Don’t let it be you, please.
For example . . .
-If you’re doing laundry, then do that laundry with all the focus it deserves before you move on.
-Making an omelette for breakfast? Then get out of your phone (or looking at the television) and give all your focus to those beautiful eggs.
-Reading a chapter of a book? Then dive in completely and immerse yourself in the book’s world.
The bottom line is this is going to take some work. Anything worth its merit is going to take a strong and continuous effort. If you’re in the habit of multitasking or letting your mind wander away from your intended focus, it’s going to take some time.
So, whether you’re out for a jog or flipping pancakes, give those tasks your undivided attention. Hone in like a laser and don’t release from the target until you have accomplished the intended task to the best of your ability.
You can do this! Remember . . . PLASTICITY.Mold those three pounds of matter into something that you’re proud of . . . ONE THING AT A TIME.