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Narrow Your Focus for a Broader Vision
Vinita Dawra Nangia
Vinita Dawra Nangia
A narrow focus is credited with many a success, but it is the broader vision behind it that gives our focus the right direction
Deep in a book as the car took me to office, I looked up and saw a vision to gladden the soul – a beautiful patch of green hedged in by a glorious floral palette. For a moment I was disoriented; where was I? Surely this wasn’t my usual office route. Bedazzled by the vision, it took a couple of moments before things around regained their everyday drabness for me; indeed it was my usual route. But for a moment my focus had narrowed to the patch of beauty amidst the chaos, all else had been pushed to the periphery.
I have looked for the patch every day since, but it never again had the same impact, because once again I was seeing it as part of a broader vista. It was the intense focus of the moment that created magic that day. It set me thinking on the importance of a narrow focus, which one is generally told to avoid in favour of a broader focus. How can that be? If a narrow focus can acquaint one with such soul-stirring beauty, it has to be a good thing.
A lot of good things in life require us to narrow our focus. To meditate effectively, we need to narrow our focus almost to a pinpoint. Medical treatments — from the microscope to the laser — are all about a narrower, more focused process. Even to look far into the distance, we narrow our gaze by squinting to get a clearer vision.
New business practices consider a narrow focus essential for success. Research shows that no company can succeed by trying to be all things to all people – it needs to narrow focus on one unique value it can deliver in a chosen market.
Quite often, the narrow aspect you choose to focus on defines you. Take for instance the movie The Lunchbox. Some viewers came away with a general feel of having watched a good film, some shared a quote or two from the movie. But one friend surprised me by saying what he liked best were the contents of the tiffin box, especially the brinjals. And then my bureaucrat sister who has worked long in the field of child labour, shook me further by saying, “It pains me to see Indian kids still out of school… wasted generations, wasted resources, wasted lives. Did you notice those kids singing in the local train in the film?” I saw them sis, but not quite the way you did.
A narrow focus is critical; however in order to narrow that focus in the right direction, you need a broader vision. Meditation may require a narrow focus, and yet you do it to understand a broad focus of life. Healing may require specialists, but who can deny the significance of the physician who takes an overall view? A business narrows its focus based on its broader vision. Too much of a narrow-focus vision and tense, constricted attention leads to stress and disquiet; you need your moments of open focus to relax.
So, the vision needs to be broad, within which we need to narrow focus in specified areas. Just as while walking or driving, you use broader vision to get a general idea of the road and then focus on the immediate step ahead.
Courtesy : Times of India, Mumbai.
The author Vinita Dawra Nangia is a Senior Editor with The Times of India. Readers who want to keep track of her postings can follow her blog O-zone which reflects her incisive insights into the world around, offering a newer way of looking at life, people and the situations they find themselves in.