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How to Focus Like a Fox

Posted by & filed under Personal Growth.

The earth’s magnetic field appears to be a fleeting force that is otherwise invisible unless you have a compass. 

There is one amazing hunter that has this navigational beacon hardwired into his blood—the fox. 

This clever canine has a miraculous set of skills. During the winter, deep snow covers the black hills of the Dakotas. Hidden under that icy blanket, tiny field mice are stirring. The odds of catching anything might seem hopeless, but not to the fox. An enormous leap into three feet of snow allows him to catch one of those mice.  

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But how does he do it? He hones in on something invisible. Something that he cannot see, but that he knows is out there. 

For the fox to succeed, it takes immense concentration and complete quiet. His ears can pick up the faintest scamper beneath the snow. Just the slightest distraction will throw him off.

I believe you can “catch your target” by controlling what you can. By doing certain little things. Once you do these little things, the odds will be on your favor. Every time. 

I just searched the Internet for a book titled The Book of Normal. There isn’t one that I can find anywhere—possibly because there is no such thing as “normal.”

There are and will always be extremes at either end of whatever spectrum you want to look at. There are the extremely educated and those with little formal education. There will always be those with tons of money and those barely surviving day to day. 

However, there is one thing that is “normal” for everyone, since the beginning of time. We all have it. We all have access to it. We all have the same amount. We all, at one point in our lives, control what we do with it. It is always present.  

It is talked about. 

Complained about. 

Misunderstood. 

Studied. 

Abused. 

Wasted. 

And occasionally used wisely.  

It is everywhere. Ever present. There seems to never be enough. We say we don’t know what to do with it. 

So few of us master, control, or ever have the feeling as if we have used it intelligently. We lack the ability to focus on it. We try to maximize it by multitasking. 

TIME—a commodity of which we all have the same amount and yet never enough.

But the main problem? It is not the lack of time we have, nor the lack of knowledge on how to best use this time.

It is simply the lack of focus and quiet—intense focus in the moment with the lack of any artificial noise being created as outside stimuli. 

To most, this would be crazy and uncomfortable. Certainly this is not normal. But if you STOP—literally stop—you can be like the fox. 

I know you cannot stop right now. I am aware you are reading this as fast as you can—that you are looking ahead trying to figure out when this writing will end. You feel pressured to hurry and get started on the next thing. I get it. I experience it daily. 

But I am also very aware you are not where you want to be, doing what you want to do, that you are striving to feel like what you do matters. And I know that, for you to get where you want to be, you will begin a journey that requires unbelievably intense focus.

So, since you cannot STOP now, schedule it. Can you schedule to STOP in 36 hours? Two days? Next week? Pick 60 minutes in the future and schedule to STOP.

Stop to concentrate intensely amidst quietness. To listen for the padding of tiny feet beneath the snow. Do not be afraid. You will get to know you as you have not known you for a long time. 

I know this never makes sense ahead of time. But if you will do this and keep at it, you will not only master focusing on what is important now…but you will begin to have the feeling of mastering yourself. That IS what you really want. The feeling of mastering your life and certainty that what you do really matters.

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About that fox…there is a catch:

He almost always comes up empty handed unless he is facing north. 

How is this possible? Scientists think he is actually honing in on the magnetic field of the earth—using it to calculate his trajectory. The same kind of math missiles use to hit their target. Just the slightest distraction will throw him off. But if he has the North Pole in his sights, he is guaranteed a meal at least 75% of the time. 

Wouldn’t you love the odds of 75% in your favor in anything related to your life? I don’t know about 75%, but intense focus definitely keeps the odds as high as they will go.

We strive to be normal. We want to fit in. At the same moment we want to stick out, be one of a kind, unique. If only we would realize we are already totally unique. That is our one guarantee.

One finger print. Per person. Per planet. Unique enough? Proof you are already one of a kind. 

Now act like it. Focus. Intensely.

What is the one thing in your business or life that desperately needs intense focus?

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  • Steven Tessler

    To find my “WHY”!!!

    • Hey, Steven!!!!

      In looking at your picture, I have a question for you: WHY are you wearing that uniform? :-)

      • Steven Tessler

        Ha! Ha!! That’s an old picture. I was in the Navy for 20 years.

        • Holy Cow!! That is so awesome. That you have more skills in your little finger than I could ever claim is my own. Would love to hear more of what you were doing and what you would like to do. Feel free to email me at Robert@TheRobertD.com, if you would like. And thank-YOU for your service to our country!!!

          Robert@TheRobertD.com
          Robert@TheRobertD.com

          • Steven Tessler

            Sent you an e-mail..

          • David Mike

            This is Awesome!

  • Melissa AuClair

    I had no idea the fox normally catches his meal when he is facing north! What an interesting discussion piece. This week I need to focus on finishing a book. You’re right- it is going to take some concentrated effort and I need to schedule that time. Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned.

    • WooooHOOOO about your book Melissa!! Very excited for you. Find lots of 15 minute chunks of time and stop everything else.

      And please do not forget to do the proposal for the book. Even if you’re self-publishing, this is critical for your own thought process and for marketing the book. Remember – it is all about reaching people.

  • Love this! I certainly don’t want to be normal by most people’s standards. They want me to stay inside a box. I’ve tried to fit into that box for some time now and it’s just not my thing. My focus is on breaking out of it by going back to freelancing but I’m chasing too many rabbits. Great reminder (I know this but yet have a hard time doing it!) that I need to laser focus on one rabbit so I can catch them more often.

    • I know you will pull this off and get it done in an outstanding way!!! Let us know when you do, Camilla!!

      • Thank you! I will let the world know :) and then help them do the same…

  • Interesting point about noise, but I have actually started using noise to help me focus.

    For the cubicle worker, there is always plenty to distract. I used to listen to the radio in my earbuds to screen out the distractions of the office, but I found that I was being distracted by the radio–the voices, the music, etc. A few months ago I decided I needed much more focus and downloaded a white noise app for my phone and am now much more focused.

    • I love white noise, Kwin! A great principle to bring up. This past weekend I was on a trout river in a cabin located in the Smoky Mountains. The flow of the river was continuous with amazing white noise. I also love the sound of rain. Anytime you can create that type of noise in the background – I think that is great.

  • Shelley Hess

    “What is the one thing in your business or life that desperately needs intense focus?”

    Employing ALL that is uniquely me, for God’s glory!

    Yes, a very general answer, which immediately becomes very specific as David and I “jump wholeheartedly with both feet, laughing and cheering all the way” into a whole new, exciting, AWESOME chapter of our lives, reworking the whole TIME thing accordingly!!

    GREAT post, Robert, with much to chew on!!!

  • I love the analogy – focus is so important in what ever we do. Really great takeaways, too. “One finger print, per person, per planet?”

    Brilliant.

  • Robert – hey I want to know more about the fox always facing north. Is there something we can learn from that? With even minimal knowledge about feng shui and yin and yang I wonder if there might be a principle we can use in studying that fox. What if I worked facing north? Would I win 75% of the time?

    • Hey, Dan!!! I bet that your office chair at your desk is facing directly north. That is how you do get so much done. An amazing concept and great applications.

      • DS

        This explains a lot – my work space faces SW!

  • Tim Kirkland

    Obedient Fox, to his calling. Mr. D. I hope you enjoyed Family Fest in The Smokies. Voices of Lee College performance was impressive.
    River noises. Lightning Bugs …….I’d like to have a video camera to do that justice.

    • Tim, it seems to me that your memory is your video camera. You just described it perfectly. Great memories in way too much food…

      • Tim Kirkland

        Yes. Thank you. All the greatest things do predate those high tech gadgets. My parents married and settled near the TN River. It carries a different sound than those wild mountain rivers. The waves slap against those steeper than vert banks.
        Thank you for sharing. I’ve landed 45 miles north of Gatlinburg on US 321. God may keep me here a while.

  • Tony Wright

    How did you know that I wanted to quickly read ahead? Thanks for this post. I have sent myself an email to schedule some STOP time!!

    • Hey, Tony!!! I knew that you wanted to quickly read ahead because I was trying to quickly write ahead. LOL

  • Focusing on what you do like a fox will guarantee you to target your goal but sometimes we have to divert our attention on the things along our way because we might neglect the larger mission or the important things that we should be focusing to.