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What is Focus and Self-Discipline?

Two things that we get asked a lot about by Asian Efficiency readers that we haven’t really talked that much about here on the blog are Focus and Self-Discipline.

Sure, there have been related topics and small bits and pieces here and there across various articles about other things. But as a singular topic we’ve never covered it in detail – and that’s about to change.

This article is the start of what we hope to be one of many pieces talking about how to improve your Focus and harness your Self-Discipline to increase your productivity, and to help you achieve whatever you want in life.

Some Definitions


So what exactly is Focus?

We define Focus as the ability to concentrate effort and direct action towards a particular goal, outcome or task, for an extended period of time.

Basically, it’s your ability to stick to the task at hand and see it through to completion.

And what about Self-Discipline?

Self-Discipline is the ability to harness all our resources (including Focus and Willpower) when we need them, and to direct them to where we need them.

Why Are Focus and Self-Discipline Important?

Focus and Self-Discipline Foundation

Focus and Self-Discipline are important because they are the foundation of producing amazing results and performance.

If you can’t focus, then you are by definition, scattered (or scatter-brained as people often say). And the result of this is that nothing gets done – you start on one thing, jump to the next, then back, then to something else… all to no avail. You may try to do something you really need to do… and no matter what you try, it just doesn’t get done. And over time, things on your list start to come back to haunt you day after day after day, like a bad B Movie monster.

If you lack Self-Discipline, you are going to struggle – quite literally – for the rest of your life, being unable to take action and steps when you need to, for the betterment of your future. This is because Self-Discipline is the magic key to making everything you have learned and will learn fit together. It is how we connect disparate systems and ideas together and make them coherent. It is the core skill that powers everything else.

Why We Naturally Suck At Focus and Self-Discipline

Why We Naturally Suck at Focus and Self-Discipline

As someone who helps other people become more productive, it pains me to say this… but human beings, generally and very naturally, suck at focus and self-discipline.

This is because we are generally lazy creatures – evolutionarily speaking, we will do what we have to do to survive and reproduce, but beyond that, it’s just wasted effort with no individual gain.

So we are great at surviving – at finding food. At finding shelter. At maintaining what we consider our “bare minimum” level of comfort.

What we suck at is creating a better future for ourselves. We have to push ourselves. We have to do things outside of our comfort zone. We need focus and self-discipline to make this happen.

I mentioned evolution earlier – and this is important. In hunter-gatherer days, it was insignificant to hunt more than your share or gather more than you needed, as the food would go to waste. But in the modern day, any excess can be put to use in the form of leverage – for example, a farmer who grows more than his family needs can trade the rest for currency or other goods that will improve his life in other ways.

The sad truth is though, that most people would rather get by on a bare level of comfort and then entertain themselves on social media and consume pop culture. They don’t want to put in the extra effort to become more focused or more self-disciplined.

If you’ve read any of our other articles you probably realize that we think a little differently at Asian Efficiency, and we believe that biology is not destiny – and neither is conditioning. You and you alone are the master of your own fate, and you can master it by harnessing your Focus and your Self-Discipline.

Next Steps

If you want to learn more about how to improve your Focus and Self-Discipline, here’s what you need to do.

Keep reading this blog and explore the content already on here – it will help.

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Last Updated: March 30, 2021

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Thanh Pham

Founder of Asian Efficiency where we help people become more productive at work and in life. I've been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, and The Globe & Mail as a productivity thought leader. At AE I'm responsible for leading teams and executing our vision to assist people all over the world live their best life possible.

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