The Focus FunnelDec 15, 2023
The Focus Funnel
With all the myriad of environmental inputs, the choices we have, and the treatment options available, we frequently find ourselves consumed by the energies of paralysis by analysis. So, we ask, “Where do we begin this journey?” and “What exactly should we focus our attention upon?” It’s as if we desperately need a systematic, fluid, and nondogmatic map directing us when, how, where, why, and what to prioritize. The Focus Funnel is our answer. It consists of four distinct parts: awareness, sorting out, first things first, and second things second.
Starting with awareness, we are asked to become aware of our life–our thoughts, emotions, feelings, beliefs, behaviors, and circumstances (factually, without attached stories). Next, we begin to sort out the things we can control from the things we can’t. In other words, it is just as important to know what to focus on as it is to “unfocus” on. Unfortunately, so many of us spend far too much of our precious time and energies on life’s uncontrollable factors. In doing so, we create a psychological cancer that ultimately metastasizes, distracts, and contracts our precious awareness away from those things that matter most. The goal is to invest our valuable energies on the controllable and surrender (not forget, suppress, alienate, or repress) to the things we have deemed as uncontrollable.
The third and fourth steps in The Focus Funnel are applying the concept of first things first and second things second to the identified controllable factors. First things first represent our roots and fundamentals. A short list would include diet, exercise, and self-care practices. It is prioritization towards the lowest hanging fruit. It includes the activities, actions, behaviors, and choices that help provide the largest impact on our physical, emotional, relational, mental, and spiritual health.
First things first challenges us to identify the most important and nurturing activities (that we are either doing or not doing) that contribute to the majority of our happiness, well-being, inner peace, and health. These are the areas, habits, and activities we want to highlight as our nonnegotiables. Once identified, our goal is to laser-focus our awareness, attention, intention, and actions on them.
Most individuals live a life in complete opposition to this principle as they laser-focus their time, energy, and money on the minutia of activities that matter least. It’s as if the majority of our activities are useless, valueless, draining, and nonnurturing and include such things as watching TV, surfing our phones, and running errands.