Secret of Concentration by Swami Vivekananda and 10 Tips to improve your concentration

To me the very essence of education is concentration of mind, not the collecting of facts. If I had to do my education over again, and had any voice in the matter, I would not study facts at all. I would develop the power of concentration and detachment, and then with a perfect instrument I could collect facts at will.

How has all the knowledge in the world been gained but by the concentration of the powers of the mind? The world is ready to give up its secrets if we only know how to knock, how to give it the necessary blow. The strength and force of the blow come through concentration. There is no limit to the power of the human mind. The more concentrated it is, the more power is brought to bear on one point; that is the secret.

Do you see, simply by the observance of strict Brahmacharya (continence) all learning can be mastered in a very short time - one has an unfailing memory of what one hears or knows but once. It is owing to this want of continence that everything is on the brink of ruin in our country.

Herein is the difference between man and the animals - man has the greater power of concentration. The difference in their power of concentration also constitutes the difference between man and man. Compare the lowest with the highest man. The difference is in the degree of concentration. This is the only difference.



Take up one idea, make that one idea your 4p; think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced. Others are mere talking machines.

How are we to know that the mind has become concentrated? Because the idea of time will vanish. The more time passes unnoticed the more concentrated we are. In common lift we see that when we are interested in a book we do not note the time at all; and when we leave the book, we are often surprised to find how many hours have passed.

Concentration is the essence of all Knowledge; nothing can be done without it. Ninety per cent of thought Force is wasted by the ordinary human being, and therefore he is constantly committing blunders; the trained man or mind never makes a mistake.


Swami Vivekananda Quotes

  • "Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success that is way great spiritual giants are produced."
  • "Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin? To say that you are weak, or others are weak."
  • "You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul."
  • "We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far."
  • "Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being."
  • "You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself."
  • "The first sign of your becoming religious is that you are becoming cheerful"
  • "GOD of truth, be Thou alone my guide…"
  • "BY the study of different RELIGIONS we find that in essence they are one."
  • "That man has reached immortality who is disturbed by nothing material."
  • "External nature is only internal nature writ large."
  • "GOD is to be worshipped as the one beloved, dearer than everything in this and next life."
  • "The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them."

10 Tips to improve your concentration

Here’s some tips to get into a state of deep concentration where work flows easily:

1) Cut Off the Noise
It may be obvious that distractions aren’t helping your focus, but do you actually cut them out? I’ll admit, it can be tempting to put the e-mail alerts on, turn on the IM and answer every request sent your way. But in the end it is only preventing you from concentrating.

Getting into a state of concentration can take at least fifteen minutes. If you are getting distracted every five, you can’t possibly focus entirely on your work. Answer your e-mails at scheduled times. Request that people don’t interrupt you when working on a big project. If you are required to answer phones and drop-in’s immediately, schedule work when the office is less busy.

2) Structure Your Environment
The place you work can have an impact on your ability to focus. Try to locate yourself so you are facing potential distractions such as doors, phones or windows. This way you can take a glance to assess sounds that would otherwise break your focus.


3) Clarify Objectives
Know what your goal is clearly before you start. If you aren’t sure what the end result is, the confusion will make it impossible to focus. Before I write any articles, I define the main focus of the article and get a brief mental picture of the structure. Unclear objectives often result in having to redo sections of work.

4) Divide Blobs
Big blobs of tasks that have no clear start or end point destroy focus. If you have a large project that needs work, clearly identify a path that you will use to get started working on it. If the sequence of actions isn’t obvious, it will be difficult to concentrate. Taking a few minutes to plan not only your end result, but the order you will complete any steps, can save hours in wasted thinking.

5) Know the Rules
Get clear on what the guidelines are for the task ahead. What level of quality do you need? What standards do you need to follow? What constraints are there? If you are writing a program, get clear on how much commenting you need, what functions you want to use and the flexibility required. If you are writing an article, decide on the length and style.

If the rules aren’t clear from the outset, you will slip out of concentration as you ponder them later.

6) Set a Deadline
Deadlines have both advantages and disadvantages when trying to force concentration. A deadline can make it easier to forget the non-essential and speed up your working time. If you give yourself only an hour to design a logo, you will keep it simple and avoid fiddling with extravagant designs.

Time limits have disadvantages when they cause you to worry about the time you have left instead of the task itself. I recommend using a deadline when:

Time is limited. If you only have a day to complete work that could easily take weeks, chunking it into specific deadlines will strip away everything that isn’t crucial.

It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. If your task could easily expand to have new features or ideas, use a deadline to keep it under control.

To avoid procrastination. A tight deadline can save you if you are worried about procrastinating.


7) Break Down Roadblocks
Roadblocks occur whenever you hit a tricky problem in your work. This can happen when you run out of ideas or your focus wavers. Break down roadblocks by brainstorming or planning on a piece of paper. Writing out your thought processes can keep you focused even if you might become frustrated.


8 ) Isolate Yourself

Become a hermit and stay away from other people if you want to get work done. Unless your work is based on other people they will only break your focus. Create a private space and refuse to talk to anyone until your work is finished. Put a sign on your door to steer away drop-ins and don’t answer your phone.

9) Healthy Body, Sharper Mind
What you put into your body affects the way you concentrate. Nobody would expect peak performance if they showed up drunk to work. But if you allow yourself to get chronic sleep deprivation, overuse stimulants like caffeine or eat dense, fatty foods your concentration will suffer. Try to cut out one of your unhealthy habits for just thirty days to see if there is a difference in your energy levels. I’ve found even small steps can create dramatic changes in my ability to focus.

10) Be Patient
Before I write an article, I often sit at my desk for a fifteen or twenty minutes before I put finger on the keyboard. During this time I feel a strong urge to leave or do something else. But I know that if I am patient, I’ll stumble upon an idea to write about and enter a state of flow. Without a little patience, you can’t take advantage of flow when it rushed through you.

If you need strong concentration I recommend periods of 90-120 minutes. Any less than that and you will waste too much time getting started before the flow can continue. More than this is possible to sustain focus, but you will probably benefit from a quick break.
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