What we see decides what we do in life. What captures our attention impacts our life choices.

Mahabharatha, Indian Epic has multitudes of stories which provides insight into various virtues and values that we can imbibe in our life.

There is a particular story about Arjuna. Story happens when both Pandavas and Kauravas were learning under the Master guru Dronacharya. One day Guru Dronacharya assembles all the students for a test.

He asks the students to aim for a bird sitting in a tree.

Yudhistra, the elder brother takes the first shot.

Drona asks “What do you see?”

Yudhistra replies “I can see a beautiful blue sky in the background of the tree standing majestically where the bird is sitting in a branch”. He fails to hit the bird. Next comes Ashwathama, son of Drona.

He says “I can see the tree with its branches, leaves and fruit where the tree is sitting”

He fails to hit the bird.

Arjuna takes the aim. Drona asks “What do you see”

“I can see the eye of the bird”. He kills the bird.

The story re-iterates the importance of Focus.

Focus leads to action. Focus determines the tenacity of the action. Focus leads us to the destiny.

I would like to provide 3 areas of Focus which can shape your life in a better way.

What is your focus in a problem situation – Befitting attitude or blaming attitude

Marshal Goldsmith in his book Trigger narrates a story of an empty boat.

A young farmer was covered with sweat as he paddled his boat up the river. He was going upstream to deliver his produce to the village. It was a hot day, and he wanted to make his delivery and get home before dark. As he looked ahead, he spied another vessel, heading rapidly downstream toward his boat. He rowed furiously to get out of the way, but it did not seem to help.

He shouted, “Change direction ! You are going to hit me!” to no avail. The vessel hit his boat with a violent thud. He cried out, “You idiot! How could you manage to hit my boat in the middle of this wide river?”. As he glared into the boat, he realises that it was an empty boat. Now he has no one to blame for the loss.

Instead of blaming the empty boat had he swung into action, he would have saved his boat from the damage.

We can either train our mind to focus either to salvage any situation, or make a savage out of every situation.

Choose to salvage any situation and not savage.

When we train our mind to act in a befitting way in any situation, it will salvage a problem situation to our benefit. If we train out mind to blame any situation, it will find reasons for our failures.

Focus on action verbs and not on negative adjectives

Whenever I miss out one completing any task given by my wife she says “You are always like this lazy and unorganised”

When I drive bit fast and rash, she will way “Can’t you see the car coming from that side. you are a rash driver”

I used to get upset with these words. These words tend to trigger a negative reaction.

However, off late I started practicing to focus on action verbs and not on negative adjectives. When she says that I am unorganised, instead of taking it as a negative attribute, I tend to focus on action verb which is “You need to be more organised”

When I hear the word “You are a rash driver”, I try to focus on action verb “You need to slow down and become a cool driver”

In most cases, any negative adjective that is used to describe us by our near and dear ones are meant to correct us and not to harm us or offend us. However, due to the stressful life conditions we tend to take it as an offensive stride rather than an emotional plea to correct us.

Your Focus is limited to your obsession :

I want to give three case studies of inventions in science that actually progressed science to the next level.

Werner Heisenberg and Quantum Mechanics :

One night in 1925,Twenty five year old Werner Heisenberg was walking pensively in park behind the Copenhagen Institute of Physics. There is only an occasional street lamp to provide dim lighting. Suddenly, Heisenberg sees a figure pass by. Actually, he does not see him pass; he sees him appear beneath a lamp, then disappear into the dark before reappearing beneath another lamp, and then vanishing back into the dark again. In his mind, Heisenberg could easily reconstruct the trajectory of the man between one light and another. This triggered his thoughts about how electrons could work between two interactions. It may not follow a pattern or trajectory which lead to his theory on quantum mechanics.

(excerpts from “Reality is not what it seems : The journey to Quantum Gravity” by Carlo Rovelli)

Isaac Newton and Gravity :

Though this story is a legend it is been used even today in universities to describe how Newton arrived at his gravity theory.

He saw an apple fell from the tree and that led him to conclude his theory of gravity.

Archimedes and the Eureka moment :

King Hiero had commissioned a new royal crown for which he provided solid gold to the goldsmith. When the crown arrived, King Hiero was suspicious that the goldsmith only used some of the gold, kept the rest for himself and added silver to make the crown the correct weight. Archimedes was asked to determine whether or not the crown was pure gold without harming it in the process. Archimedes was perplexed but found inspiration while taking a bath. He noticed that the full bath overflowed when he lowered himself into it, and suddenly realized that he could measure the crown’s volume by the amount of water it displaced. He knew that since he could measure the crown’s volume, all he had to do was discover its weight in order to calculate its density and hence its purity. Archimedes was so exuberant about his discovery that he ran down the streets of Syracuse naked shouting, “Eureka!” which meant “I’ve found it!” in Greek.

In all the above mentioned situations, the solutions for these problems were found in a normal routine incident.

Similarly, apple has been falling for ages. But because Newton’s mind was occupied by the question he found the answer in the falling apple.

Movement of people or an object happens regularly. While Heisenberg’s mind was drowned in the question of quantum mechanics, a simple act of some one moving between two light poles, triggered the solution.

Archimedes could have taken bath regularly but the displacement of water has to struck his chords only when his mind was tuned in for that moment.

Your mind focuses on what you want it to focus. It can either make life changing inventions from a simple incident or a disastrous mishap from a miracle. It all depends on what you want your mind to focus.