Focus less

Found this powerful advice at Medium. I feel the need to re-post it here is a must. This post is credit to Dan Pedersen.

You cannot concentrate more, you can only concentrate less. You cannot try harder, you can only try less.

What does this mean?

It means that if you stop thinking about concentrating more, if you stop thinking about trying harder, you’ll do it automatically.

When we set up two targets – the thing we want to do, and the thing we are trying to do to make it happen, we lose focus and become distracted.

In other words, trying to concentrate more, or “trying harder,” actually distracts us from our natural ability to simply be in the moment and do it. In this sense, concentrating more equates to concentrating less and trying harder is equivalent to trying to try.

The Need To Win

When an archer is shooting for nothing he has all his skill. If he shoots for a brass buckle he is already nervous. If he shoots for a prize of gold he goes blind or sees two targets— he is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed. But the prize divides him. He cares. He thinks more of winning than of shooting— and the need to win drains him of power.

~Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu