The Winter Olympics – watching the most skilled and fit athletes in winter sports. It’s amazing how centered and focused each athlete is, whether on a mountain, on the skating rink, in the bobsled or the luge. It is their training and focus that got them to the place of competing with the best in the world.
Strategy plays a big role in each event as does calming the nervous energy of being on such a gigantic stage, with the world watching. As these current games continue to unfold, we hear comments about the warm weather causing problems with the snow pack on the downhill; fog has caused a few events to be rescheduled. Yes, weather is a factor that may alter initial strategies for a race.
This biggest factor, however, is probably not the weather, but the mind, where the athlete’s focus is, before and during the event. Losing focus for a fraction of a second can alter the time and subsequent outcome of the race.
The importance of ‘focus’ is not limited to elite athletes. Although most of us are not in a big race, we might feel like we are on some days. It takes focus to choose and commit to a skill, craft, passion and stick with it. When our mind fills with clutter, ‘shoulds’, doing what we think others expect, it’s easy to become scattered and feel like we’re not doing much that’s worthwhile.
Meditative practices, such as tai chi, yoga, breathing – each helping to clear our mind and focus on the moment – bring clarity to what is important in our lives. We need to take some time to clear the clutter and all the extraneous thoughts we all have, to bring some balance and focus to each day.
Think for a moment what you’re focused on – is it helping you become the person you would like to be?