Distraction Killers: Developing Mental Focus to Achieve Greatness in Sports and Business

The art of being successful and accomplishing your goals can seem like a daunting task and a distant dream at the beginning. We imagine what it would be like to reach that goal. Most people start off with great intentions for a few weeks until they realize how much work is involved. At this point their mind begins to wander and usually a new shiny object takes its place. The habit of moving on to the next project becomes habitual leading to years of incomplete tasks.

Martial arts is widely known for training the mind to focus on their target. In the old school model of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, it can take 10 or more years to earn a black belt. This is the average time for the person who trains recreationally 3 times per week. To receive a blue belt, it is normally 2 to 4 years, purple belt 6 to 8 years, brown belt 8 years or more. Very few make it past blue belt at a legitimate school. It is not only the attendance that counts but most importantly spending time rolling (sparring) to hone your skills. There are some who will attempt to fake their way through the process by avoiding challenging training partners. However, in the end they would have done themselves a disservice, as a purple belt, brown and black belt is meaningless when no one respects you. It is the not the belt that defines you but the reputation you bring. It’s a true honor to attain a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu unfortunately there are some who believe they can just buy their way to the top.

Let’s compare this to a medical doctor or certified public accountant. Would you trust an individual who has never performed surgery on a real patient to operate on you? Would you let an accountant handle your financial records for your multi-million-dollar business when he has only worked with mom and pop stores? You mostly likely would say, “no I pass.” It’s the same with Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Why would you trust someone to teach you self-defense when they do not truly know the inner workings of the art? Teaching people incorrectly can lead to someone being hurt badly in a real life-threatening scenario.

I tell my students to focus on learning and not their belt. Don’t worry about what other students are doing or achieving. Everyone is different. Be disciplined, train hard, and walk around proudly with dignity and respect.
This analogy from the martial arts can be applied to your athletic pursuits or business. Learn to make a firm commitment to one thing and put your best effort forward to achieve it. However, this is easier said than done. In this article, I’m going to share with you how you can apply this principle of completing your goals by developing mental toughness.

3 Mental Toughness Principles to Stay Committed to Your Goals

1. Keep the Essentials and Drop the Inessentials

In the martial arts, a great master focuses on doing the fundamental movements thousands of times. A beginner will do it a few times and want to move on to more advanced techniques out of boredom. The master never stops honing or refining the fundamental movements for the rest of their life. While the impatient beginner will grow frustrated at the lack of progress, quit and move to something new.

In athletics and business, we often look for the latest trick to improve our performance, ignoring what got the greatest performers to achieve success in their fields; which are sound fundamentals done repeatedly over a course of many years. Developing the mental toughness to stay committed to doing the boring tasks everyday without a positive return requires strong commitment to one’s cause. It is the joy of learning the process and not the result that keeps these successful performers on this track.

You’ve probably have watched tons of videos or attended the latest seminar on the newest greatest tactics on the market. However, after buying a bunch of these courses you probably only partially completed the majority of them.

Start eliminating all your incomplete tasks. Begin focusing on one only; spending time knowing it inside out. It can be social media, a training method; just stick to your guns. In no time, you will have completed your intended goal giving you a sense of pride, and most all self-confidence knowing you have tackled one mountain. You will now have developed a system, ritual and habit making it easier to attain future goals.

2. Making A Commitment to One Thing Cuts Distractions Out

When a martial artist begins their journey they dedicate their time towards attaining the coveted black belt. They spend their days consistently practicing their techniques under the watchful eye of the master. The most dedicated ones like any star performer put aside distractions such as TV, social media, and time wasters. Their life revolves around setting up the perfect environment to attain this end goal. Make a conscious decision to apply this conviction to your athletic career or business by making time everyday to accomplish this. By making a firm commitment to something, you are less likely to be distracted by shiny objects.

3. There will never be a perfect time just start!

Most people don’t take action towards their goal because the journey seems so long and painful. A warrior accepts challenges with steely determination. The martial arts build this mental fortitude if one is disciplined enough to stick with the regiment. The beauty is you can always change course if things don’t work out after a year. To many people are pre-occupied with choosing the right path which leads them to be overwhelmed with too many choices resulting in procrastination. Pick one goal you are truly passionate about and run with it. See where it goes! It will cause you less stress and consume less willpower. Never let the initial climb up the mountain stop you from starting.

I’m going to end with this personal story. In 1987, one of my father’s employees asked him to teach him martial arts. This employee grew up in a broken home. At age 16, he would sleep in bus shelters and shower at the university gym before school. My father was a traditional martial arts master, he taught only select people who were serious about committing to excellence. My father made a deal with his employee; he told his employee to enter a tournament and if he won, my father would teach him and take him out to an expensive steak house. This employee had never eaten at an expensive restaurant in his life. The employee agreed to the deal. On the day of the tournament, he fought multiple opponents winning every match. He told me afterwards that he was so committed and wanted it so badly that he trained day and night. He added, “I was willing to die in the ring that day than face defeat.”

Take this inspirational story and go out there with the same conviction to achieve your dreams! Oss!

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