I have found that there are four steps to effectively making something happen in life. These steps are Awareness, Attention, Intention and Action.
Step One : Practice Awareness – The first step is to simply take stock of what is by observing reality in its most raw state without judgement. This can be done by meditating. The meditation method I employ is to set a timer for 20 minutes (there are several free meditation timer apps available). I then close my eyes and pay attention to my breathing as an anchor. When I notice my mind wandering I bring my attention back to my breath. I do not judge myself when my mind will wander. This is my mind’s natural and unfocused state. It is neither good nor bad. Through the act of bringing my attention back to my breath I build up my ability to meditate. It is like lifting weights. When my mind is paying attention to my breathing I am paying attention to the present moment without layers of thought. This is meditating. This is being aware. This cultivates the proper environment for focusing my attention.
Step Two : Focus Attention – The second step is to actively focus awareness on specific things to the exclusion of those things that do not serve me in everyday life. For example, today while walking my dog I noticed myself becoming annoyed. There were lines of thought that took me to places of dissatisfaction. It was at this point that I decided to focus my attention on other more positive things (like the blueness of the sky, the coolness of the breeze, my daughters, my dogs etc.) rather than focusing my attention on my negative thought process. This is a choice that I can make and like meditation choosing to focus my attention can be improved with practice. Choosing where I focus my attention makes me think more positively and creates more energy. This energy is then stored up to be focused on my intention.
Step Three : Create an Intention and Focus Attention Thereon – The third step is to create an intention and then focus my attention on that intention. The more I am able to do this, the closer I will be to achieving the goal of that intention.
Step Four : Take Action – The fourth step is to take action. When sufficient positive energy has been banked, taking action to achieve that my intention requires less effort. With enough energy taking action is effortless. If I do not proceed through the previous steps then taking action becomes very difficult. I become distracted, I procrastinate, I give up. When I build up enough positive energy and focus on my intention my goals are achieved naturally.
Like all skills, this one must be practiced and cultivated. Once properly cultivated this skill can be the foundation for cultivating all other skills.