How does showing up tie into building discipline and concentration?
This is a response to 25 Things I've Learned in 25 Years.
The headline you see above is a quote from the book "Invisible Child," written by Andrea Elliott, an investigative reporter for The New York Times. She's also been awarded the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for "Invisible Child," where the protagonist is Dasani, a young girl enduring homelessness in NYC. During my reading, one particular segment of the book caught my eye, and a specific question sprung to mind - how does showing up tie into building discipline and concentration? How to practice concentrating on a task?
"Why did Dasani's family keep me around for eight years? One possible answer is that they wanted their story told. It also helped that my work process was no longer a mystery. Dasani had seen how my questions had informed my writing in the Times. Perhaps a simpler explanation is this: I kept showing up. Most people, in the family's experience, did the opposite."
Andrea Elliot, "Invisible Child"
Andrea offered occasional assistance, bringing the family groceries or cash for things like diapers. She celebrated their birthdays with cake and gifts, just like they celebrated hers. Even though she's a journalist and her main goal is to write her book, Andrea developed a strong connection with the people she'd been writing about.
"The Man Without Purpose"
"Fransisco, what's the most depraved type of human being?
- The man without purpose.”
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
For you to start building discipline, there has to be a definitive answer to a simple, yet complex question. That question starts with "why?"
Why are you building that habit? Why are you reading that book? Why is that goal important to you?
Aim these questions toward none other than yourself. No one else is as able as you to find a solution that fits the bill of what you're looking for.
Martha Boeglin's Advice for Boosting Your Concentration
"Academic Writing, Step by Step" is a book written by Martha Boeglin, and the following passages have been extracted from her publication.
- Set An Alarm
Sit comfortably in a quiet room. Set the alarm for 10 minutes and focus on its ticking. Every time your thoughts wander, don't suppress them; let them fly through the field of your consciousness and return to the ticking. If you practice regularly, you will see how your ability to concentrate extends.
- Books Work Wonders
Read a page or two and close the book. Ponder over what you've read. If unrelated thoughts come to your mind, let them pass, but don't follow them; return to the text you've read and stay focused on it. Collect, classify, combine, and compare associations related to the text.
- Descriptive Exercise with Images
Choose a picture or a photograph of your preference. Observe it for 30 seconds and then remove it. Describe the image verbally or in writing, stating as many details as possible: subject, shape, color, perspective, etc. This exercise can be done by two or more people.
- Concentration Practice for Emotional Balance
Lie on your back and fix your gaze upwards on an imaginary point on the ceiling. If your attention weakens and your thoughts wander, let the thoughts pass and return to the chosen object of your concentration. This exercise helps calm your emotions.