THE BLOG
10/13/2014 11:49 am ET Updated Dec 13, 2014

The Power of Focus: What Basketball and Yoga Can Teach Us About Business

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For some reason I've always been a basketball fan. I've loved playing it for as long as I can remember.

Yet for some reason, years of my life passed by without playing (have you ever forgotten or put aside one of your hobbies?)

One day, I finally decided it was time to get a basketball and go down to the nearby courts and started to play.

My game was rusty as hell. So I went on the good old YouTube and started watching videos on how to make a shot.

Focal Point is Everything.

Where your eyes go the ball goes.

I was fascinated by this.

The next day I went on the court and I did a little experiment. I'd aim and shoot without focusing on the net, and I missed.

I'd give the same amount of aim and shoot and add pure dedicated focus to the net and I scored.

It was amazing -- I almost couldn't believe my own eyes.

Was it that simple? How did my eyes have that power!?

It was as if there was a magnetic pull from my eyes straight to the net that got the ball through. It felt like pure magic.

What else is fascinating is at that time I was also immersed in yoga, and in the yogic philosophy they talk a lot about the power of focal point.

When you are practicing a pose, there is often a focal point to stare at: the reason for this is: The Power of Focus.

The quality of focus is like a muscle. It needs to be trained.

In yoga, the poses are like a warm up for getting focused to quiet our mind and move into a meditative state so that we can clear out the murky thoughts -- inviting clarity to emerge.

After all -- enlightenment simply means turning on the light, and in the darkness of overwhelm, it's hard to see the light (a.k.a clarity).

When we actively quiet our mind through the conscious power of focus, it invites the light of clarity to shine in.

Basketball, yoga and meditation all train us to harness the power of focus:

In yoga, we train our "focus muscles" while in the poses.

In meditation we train our "focus muscles" by focusing on the breath.

In basketball, like all sports, in order to be a pro you need to have dedicated focus to make the shot. In the game of business the power of focus can make or break you.

And you have a choice: you can use your business as a playground to practice the power of focus.

Now, more than ever, we live in a scattered time. There has never been so many gadgets and demands that are dividing our focus. Our attention span has decreased, and current technology isn't helping.

Commercials cut shots every few seconds to keep us engaged, TV shows only last a few minutes before a commercial interrupts it. We're in a society that conditions us to have a short-attention span.

Often, when we work, we have multiple applications open.

You may be writing an important report, but your Facebook and e-mail are open, ready to "ding" and distract you anytime. Your mobile phone is nearby also ready to chime and remove your focus from the most important task at hand.

With all these distractions it's no wonder that productivity goes down.

And I know, there's nothing worse than feeling like you've worked all day and got nothing done. It's exhausting.

Distractions exhaust us.

When we get really great work done, we receive energy even though we created and expended enormous energy with what we just produced. It generates energy because we produced something that is going to give us a big return.

Anytime in business you create something of value, such as writing a report, a blog post, working on a book or program or product -- although it takes energy to create it, it gives us energy in return. What we create contains a lot of powerful energy that can generate more power and energy for us.

It's just like going on a good morning run. Sure, it takes energy but you feel great that you did it. You feel more peaceful and calm afterwards, and most of the time you feel energized too. Whereas if you sit around all day eating potato chips you feel exhausted, even though you didn't spend all that much energy (you actually consumed energy that dragged you down, just like consuming too many distractions).

If you want to walk away from your day feeling good and energized, the power of focus will get you there.

If you want more energy and get more work done -- start to practice the power of focus.

Here are a few ways to do it:

1. Play a sport. Sports require focus. At the same time, it's easy to drag an unfocused mind into the game, so make sure you go into the game with the intention to focus and remember: Where your eyes go, the ball goes

2. Play some Yoga. You can access yoga via YouTube and a multitude of videos you can get from the library. Even if you take just 10 minutes, use the time to practice focus. Whether the instructor mentions it or not - practice the poses with the intention to focus. In every pose focus your gaze on one spot. Remember the point of this is simply to strengthen your focus muscles.

3. Spend one hour closing your phone, and all applications that can ding, beep or distract you any way. If you're in an office or have an assistant tell them not to disturb you for an hour. Take this time to full focus on one project only. It's likely your mind will wander off to some other important call or e-mail you need to send. Whenever these types of thoughts arise, watch them and let them go, and get back to work. If you feel anxious that you might forget to do it later, have a piece of paper where you write down the "to-dos" that might arise as you attempt to focus on the task at hand.

4. Spend 5-10 minutes focusing your mind on your breath. Again this is a practice to strengthen your focus muscles. By actively and consciously focusing on your breath you strengthen the power of focusing your mind on one thing. This also helps to quiet your mind helping you create clarity in your life and business projects.

The more you practice strengthening your focus muscles -- the easier it will get.

Where you look is where you'll move and grow.

Take The Challenge:

The challenge is to implement one of the 4 focus-exercises above. In the comments below, tell me if you're IN for the challenge and which one you plan to take on!