Creating Habits

Concentration is the ability, through fixed habit and practice, to keep your mind on one subject until you have thoroughly familiarized yourself with that subject and mastered it. Said another way, it is the ability to control your attention and focus it on a given problem until you have solved it, or a given task until you have accomplished it. All great things begin with imagination and desire, and then come to fruition through relentless concentration. The key to the effectiveness of concentration is creating the right kinds of habits. Here are a few thoughts on how to unleash the power of concentration through habit:

1) Our mental environment is the sum total of sources through which we are influenced by including the books we read, the people whom we associate with, the nature of work we are engaged in, etc. While our environment influences our thoughts, habit is what crystallizes a permanent guide for our actions. In order to create the right kind of habit, we must first create an environment that will support it. 

2) In order to use concentration to form a habit, we must begin with enthusiasm for the new path we are trying to create. We must keep our attention firmly concentrated on the new path and away from the old ones. We must travel over and over this new path as many times as possible until it becomes familiar and no longer feels new. 

3) Habits are formed like a river. They are a mental path over which our actions have traveled for some time, each pass making the path a little deeper and a little wider. A habit is also like a cable: each day you weave a thread until it becomes so strong it is un-breakable. 

In Malcolm Gladwell's book called "Outliers," he analyzes several people who have achieved amazing feats to gain an understanding of the secret to their success. What he found was, they did not have supernatural intelligence or talent. But rather they had ambition and desire, and were able to concentrate their efforts to create the right kinds of habits. Many of them, such as Beethoven and Bill Gates, had logged over 10,000 hours in their given field before anyone even knew who they were. We all have the same amount of time in each day, using concentration to form the right kinds of habits will determine what we make of it.  

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