Your Focus Will Determine Your Future

Note: This article is authored by Hanane Anoua, originally published on the Flevy Blog. You can read all of Hanane’s articles here.

If you want tomorrow to be different, you have to set up goals to make tomorrow better than today.

Being part of a yoga class one day, the coach requested from each one of us to hold a balloon on our right hand and walk, with an attempt to maintain it in the same position. The aim was to keep a complete FOCUS on the balloon while walking until we reach a specific goal in line with the defined timing. The exercise may seem very simple to you, but the simplest things in life are what matter most.

We tend to rely on sophisticated events to take initiatives and seek learning, but it’s our vision that counts independently of the event.

How many people attend regularly seminars, trainings, and read motivational books for self-improvement, but unable to make a step forward? This exercise may be insignificant for some of you, but the results were rewarding both from a physical and personal development perspective. It is a typical example of how reality is shaped by our own vision; and how the way we view things will determine our results, and then our destiny.

First, walking with a balloon on your hand for more than 15 minutes was an excellent way to relieve all pressure of the day. Importantly, it enabled most of us to FOCUS on our goal more than anything else around, with a very high sense of humor. The first question that came to my mind, while walking, is why such simple exercises cannot be applicable in specific trainings or at work to help reset the mind and engage people’s concentration and engagement. Whether you are a coach, a manager, or a parent, try it out. If it works for you, think how you can make it better or simply include other similar concepts.

Another aspect came to my mind later is why our public institutions, as for lack of resources, don’t base their strategies on simple methodologies that can help young students combine between “learning and enjoying.” Adopting such practices can help them move from agitation to full involvement in classes. I understand that not everyone can participate at the same time, but the exercise can be catchy even for the non participants.

The “balloon approach” is just an example among others that can be used to enhance our learnings and help us make a brilliant move.

From a personal development perspective, this exercise mirrors exactly the way we need to handle our goals, challenges or opportunities in life and evolve personally and professionally. You may be wondering how is it possible? First, why do you think we had to hold a balloon and not an apple or simply another object? Let’s assume that the balloon represents our GOALS, or opportunities we need to handle before reaching them.

When we keep looking at the right side, we can easily achieve our goals. Otherwise, they will be carried out by the wind or burst like a balloon.

Four aspects to consider about the “balloon approach:”

  1. The balloon is light and fragile: similarly can be our goals we set up to achieve. But first, we need to know about the goals that matter most to us both in short and long terms. We need to identify what will make us really happy or thrilled. Otherwise, we may get dispersed in a useless energy that can hinder us from reaching them easily. Defining our goals in advance is not enough unless we take an action. Holding the balloon was not the most important thing to maintain it in the same position, but walking made all the difference. Moving forward kept the balloon stable until we reached our goal. But that involved from us concentration, and also ignorance of all that did not matter at that moment.
  2. The balloon can get burst anytime and disappear: when our focus shifts, the balloon may fly away and get burst. Similarly, the goal may sometimes remain unattainable when we stop working on it. Nevertheless, there will be always new opportunities to be able to revive your goals and challenges. How many people were thankful rather than unhappy for a lost opportunity? Not having it sometimes can be a great piece of luck to you.
  3. The balloon is shapeable: balloons can come in many sizes and shapes for different events, all depend on our needs and inspirations. They can twist long, thin and even form a variety of items; they can also be in different colors. The goal or the opportunity may be simple but we can turn it into a dream or a success story. How many success stories came from simple concepts, but the emotions and the passion behind were the ones that made them successful and unique.
  4. The balloon can rebound or inflated again: as it can burst anytime, it can also come back anytime or inflated again. This is how we need to treat our opportunities. They may go during a specific time, but they can also come back to set up new goals and evolve. This implies from us to keep faith and positive thinking. When it comes to breathing, no one cares about the amount of oxygen we need for the following days as we trust that will be enough for everyone all the time. Why is it difficult to apply this for other aspects in our lives?

The “balloon approach” is nothing but my own approach of how we can turn our reality into a challenging, passionate journey rather than a boring, and passive one. Turn your eye to see the positive things in every experience you encounter even the most difficult ones.

Experiences and events in our lives are not the most important things, but our way of guiding our thoughts that matter most. To nurture positively these thoughts, surrender yourself with people that will always empower you and not create doubt on your potential. Importantly, it’s not our technical skills that matter most, but our ability to DARE change and nurture it to create a better future.

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I blog about various management frameworks, from Strategic Planning to Digital Transformation to Change Management.