Focus and distraction has been a big part of my life.

Everything I have read about focus has typically been about active focus, though. How you can push harder. How you can maintain focus. How you can eliminate or ignore distractions. How you can fight through.

These steps all imply or assume active effort.

There are plenty of scenarios where applied effort gets the job done.

Essentially the ask is that you hold on tighter to your path or goal that you’re trying to achieve.

Pushing Back vs. Letting Go

But I have realized that it is just as much about “holding on” to your intended path as it is about letting the distractions pass by.

There’s a subtle difference.

Ignoring distractions is about pushing them away.

That’s not what I’m proposing.

I’ve found that the more I push, the harder they push back. I notice that I get frustrated, because I start to wonder why do I have to deal with these things? Why are they here?

Not to suggest that this is at all easy. In fact, “letting things pass” breaks our conditioning to act. It’s almost as if we have to decondition a reflex.

And in many ways, taking action, pushing back, is easier. You have a specific target. You take action. And that action occupies you.

Letting things pass is a different story. In order to succeed at letting things pass, you must keep letting things pass, because new obstacles and distractions will continue to come your way.

Attachment and Detachment

We get attached to things very easily, and the same is true for distractions.

To let distractions go, one approach is to mentally pause, step back and detach a bit.

Detaching is a good thing to do periodically anyway. It allows you to gain perspective especially when you’re starting to have tunnel vision on something.

But when it comes to focus, detaching can be a useful tool to see where everything is, and then direct your attention accordingly, instead of letting your attention direct you.

Putting It Together

Try out the idea of focus as letting distractions go, as opposed to holding onto your goal, or your object of focus.

You might find that you have a bit more energy to stay on course if it does not feel like you are actively pushing against other forces to remain on track!