A HUGE thing I was taught as a swimmer was how to focus on my own job, what I had to do in my lane every step of the race. Stepping up onto the diving block I would grip the edge with my toes and fingers, and keep my eyes on the water, still and inviting, below me. It didn't matter what the person on the diving block next to me was doing, they could be picking their nose or scratching their bum for all I cared - what was important was what was right in front of me.
You could say that this took years to develop, and it wasn't just about cultivating focus, but also attitude towards yourself, your goals, and those around you. Here is where the problems lie, when your focus is taken from your "job" (and really, in this context, "job" means any goal you have set yourself, i.e., lose weight, run 10km's, read 5 books in a month, business stuff, sports stuff, or life stuff), you start to become more open and aware to what other's are doing, what society is wanting you to do, what is expected of you over what it is that you expect of yourself. This kind of awareness starts in childhood and develops attitudes that can be detrimental to your success later on in life; it's an unfortunate start for us all, but with the right support and encouragement, negative attitudes developed early on in life can be reset into a more positive outlook - and a big part of this is being able to focus and concentrate on your own stuff, on being true to yourself, and acknowledging that other people's expectations are not fact.
So what steps can you take as a teen or adult to remedy your mindset and develop a great positive attitude?
1. Acknowledge and remind yourself that you are in control of you and no-one else. When you realise this you can see that you have more power over your reactions and actions then you know. With this knowledge of your own power your attitude shifts to reflect a "can-do" attitude.
2. Reflect on what your good at, it could be something as trivial as being good making a great cup of tea, or as complex as being good at solving complex maths problems. When you focus on what you are good at it can help you realise that your talent, your gift, no matter how trivial, has the capacity to do good in the world. Acknowledging your strengths and embracing them can cause a huge shift in attitudes and behaviours whether your a teen or adult and hence help you see the good in yourself.
3. Be aware of the journey that you are on. In this world of instant gratification a lot of people, especially young people, can cultivate bad attitudes towards themselves and others if their expectations of what life should be aren't met immediately. Most things in life will not happen with a click of your fingers and to expect otherwise is inviting bad juju into your life. When you focus on each step you have to take on your journey and get done what needs to be done to help you progress, an optimism creeps in, because your actions affect your attitudes.
With a bad attitude your life journey, your goal journey, will be littered with broken dreams and tattered promises - because that is what you are expecting. Change your attitude, place your focus "in your own lane" (to use another swimming metaphor - I can't help it!), and reap the rewards of success.