"The focused mind can pierce through stone." Japanese maxim
Centuries ago there lived a man who had devoted himself completely to kyudo, the Way of the bow. Early one evening he was walking in the mountains when suddenly he saw a flicker of movement in the shadows. It was a tiger, its back arched, ready to pounce. Without hesitation the archer nocked the arrow. Concentrating all his power in the shot, since it might be his last, he let the arrow fly. A direct hit, right in the head. Without stopping to examine the dead animal, the archer continued on his way.
The next day, though, he became curious and returned to the spot. But hard as he looked he could not find the dead animal. He was about to abandon his search when he saw the arrow, stuck in a huge boulder. It hadn't been a tiger after all, but his concentration had been so intense and his shot so powerful that the arrow had been driven into solid rock.
From this incident came the famous maxim about concentration and power in any Way of life: "Ichinen iwa wo mo tosu," "The focused mind can pierce through stone."
Your Stones Are There for the Piercing
"Concentration. You've got to concentrate."
"The focused mind can pierce through stone" is not a dramatic exaggeration. It's literally true. Hou Shuying of Peking, China, is a fifty-year-old exponent of qigong, a "breaking art" that teaches the development of almost unbelievable power through mental concentration. Hou not only can break stones and wood but can snap iron bars in two by chopping them with his bare hands. In a recent demonstration he broke a four-inch-thick slab of granite in half with a sharp blow with his head!
Mas Oyama, considered by many the greatest contemporary martial artist, brought down a full-grown charging bull with two blows. The first sliced one of the bull's horns in half and the second caught the animal on the head and dropped him.
With one fingertip, martial artists can punch a hole in a coconut. One night karate master I tosu was awakened by noises at the wooden front gate of his home. From the sounds, he could tell that someone was trying to pick the lock. With one blow he punched a hole in the thick wood and seized the wrist of the would-be burglar. The hole was perfectly round; there had been no shattering.
foriki. "The power of concentration." It has nothing to do with muscle and brawn. It's not visible to the eye. Read the maxim again and notice that it was the archer's mind that pierced the boulder. Focus your mind on whatever you're doing, from letting arrows fly to doing business or living at the gut level, and your arrows will penetrate.
Studies of materially successful people reveal that they operate the way that archer and the "breaking" artists did. They have complete faith in the Tightness of their decisions and they follow through on them with a focused, stone-piercing concentration.
Right now think of a task that's ahead of you, any task at all ...
Whatever you thought of, you will handle it best when—like that archer—you focus your mind on it 100percent, excluding everything else. Writing a report, conducting a meeting, pursuing your bottom-line life goals, solving a personal or business problem, making more money, selling a product, out-competing the competition, crossing swords with a dreaded enemy, sinking a putt . . . these are just a few sample tasks, a few stones that are ready for piercing.
7. So why aren't you piercing more of your stones? It's those . . .
. . . Damned Drunken Monkeys
In the Orient, everyday awareness has been compared to a drunken monkey. Our thoughts stagger around like a monkey that's been hitting the sauce.
Give your mind a sobriety test. Just sit back and listen to your thoughts. Unless you're already a high joriki concentrator you'll probably notice that your mind bounces drunkenly from one thing to another. One moment you're thinking about the job at hand, then about how hungry you are or another task you've got to do or the score of a ball game, or of sex, or how boring the job is or how difficult, or that tennis elbow pain that's acting up.
Those are moment-to-moment drunken monkeys. There is another kind, one that can come to dominate the course of a person's life.
Some people will tell you that the thing they really want to accomplish in their lives is ... to be rich . . . write a novel . . . run a successful business . . . find a satisfying job ... etc. But even as they're telling you, you know they will never do it. Why? One reason—one of the biggest—is because inside their heads they're staggering around from one goal to another, one possibility to another, without rhyme or reason or conscious direction. They're letting the drunken monkeys guide them. Is it any wonder that they are ending up miles from where they say they want to be?
Many companies, too, have drunken monkeys in their corporate heads. In Managing for Results, consultant and author Peter Drucker states that "No other principle of effectiveness is violated as constantly today as the basic principle of concentration." The motto of business (and government and big universities, for that matter) seems to be "Let's do a little bit of everything." The result, says Drucker, is that "we build enormous staffs, and yet do not concentrate enough effort in any one area."
To remedy this, he believes that managers must learn to concentrate their efforts, focusing on the smallest possible number of products, markets and customers that will produce the largest profits.
Life comes at you point blank—problems, tasks, responsibilities and decisions. You could cry out, "Hold it, life, I'm not ready yet," but that's not going to gain you anything. When ten men are attacking you, says sword master Takuan, as soon as one is disposed of, you must move on to another and focus on disposing of him. You shouldn't have problems if you concentrate, but if you can't, if your head monkeys are drunk, you're in trouble.
Concepts of Concentration
Shuchu-ryoku. is the ability to concentrate all of your mental and muscular power at a given instant at one particular focal point. It's concentrating all the power you've got on one task, one goal, one problem or one object at a time.
Karate experts have won arm wrestling contests using only their little finger. They claim that they were really at an advantage since using only one finger enabled them to concentrate their full strength in only one small area.. Applying shuchu-ryoku, if the martial artist is launching a blow with his right hand he puts no strength in his left, for this would reduce the power in his right.
Put it this way: if you (or a corporation) possess one hundred units of energy and expend ten units each on handling ten problems, you might not be able to handle one problem that requires ninety units to solve. B.ut if you're able to concentrate all one hundred units on one problem after another, shuchu-ryoku. style, you can solve them.
2. Seiryoku Zenryo »
Just watch a master in any field — the master talk-show hosts Johnny Carson and Phil Donahue; or the best businessman you ever met; or your (riend Sally, who is able to accomplish so much you're jealous.
You'll notice one quality immediately. It's a finesse, a grace, an ease, a relaxed effortlessness. They make the performance look easy.
What they're displaying is one of the principal concepts of budo, the Way of the samurai. It's seiryoku zenryo, or maximum efficiency with minimum effort. It's the economical use of energy of any kind, mental or physical. If you're a business manager and you think for a while about seiryoku zenryo, maximum efficiency with minimum effort, eventually you will have a eureka insight, and you will be exactly right. Yes, it's the precise definition of high productivity. If your entire work force were to operate seiryoku zenryo, you would be making full output use of your labor.
And it pertains not only to physical energy, but to emotional energy too. Most of us dissipate much of our energy in unnecessarily fretting, hating, being afraid, becoming impatient and annoyed and in enduring all the other strength-sapping feelings. We're only robbing ourselves of the strength we need to face and solve our problems. Once you are able to divert energy from those emotions and to pour it into achieving goals, your power is boundless.
I was interviewing people for a job that required the ability to write reports. While he wanted the job, Jack confided that he had a problem —writer's block. Anyone who will apply for a writer's job and be so honest as to tell the person doing the hiring that he has problems writing is my kind of guy.
He told me more. "When I sit down to work, all that I want to say seems clear to me. But when I actually start I have a tough time. The ideas and words don't come. I try, but after about an hour I give up. I've even stopped writing completely. What do you think I should do?"
"Don't quit after an hour," I said.
The point I was making was a simple samurai one. I was telling Jack to kufu his way out.
Kufu. It's a wonderful concept that applies equally to the small everyday tasks and problems in your life and to the big ones too. It means giving yourself completely to discovering the solution or to finding the way out of your difficulties and to your objective. It means to struggle, to grapple, to wrestle until you find the way out. It is holding nothing back, but giving your all. It is closing ground on the problem and never retreating or hanging back. With kufu the problem is your opponent. To defeat it you advance on it with all you've got, again and again, until you come out victorious.
When you take the kufu, grapple-your-way-out approach, you know that somewhere ahead of you lies a breakthrough point, a moment when you will get the better of the problem or the task. It is there awaiting you. All you have to do is remain concentrated on the battle long enough to reach it.
"Who knows," I told Jack, "but your breakthrough point could come at sixty-one minutes or seventy-five or four thousand. If you give up after an hour you'll never reach it. Kufu your way out of this writer's block."
Months later Jack returned to tell me that he had gone back to his writing to try the kufu approach of staying with it, trying it again and again, no matter how long it took. Suddenly, he said, writing had become not totally effortless, but noticeably less effortful.
No one is spared resistances to the breakthrough experience. Jack continued to encounter concentration blocks from time to time, but he had learned what many people never learn: the kufu spirit of staying with it until you win.
Four Drunken Monkeys and How to Overcome Them
"When attacking, don't be careless." The Way of the spear
All drunken monkeys in your head—your individual head or your corporate head—are blocks to joriki, concentration power. They are inner dragons that interfere with shuchu-ryoku (one-point concentration), seiryoku zenryo (maximum efficiency), and kufu (problem-solving). To say that a person or an organization is not highly concentrated is another way of saying that they are expending too much energy on blocks and not enough on goals and tasks.
Below are four commonly encountered "drunken monkey" blocks to foriki concentration power. While they can affect one's personal life, they're particularly prevalent in business.
• The ball-juggling block. Trying to juggle too many balls (goals, tasks, activities) at the same time.
• The boredom block. If you find yourself thinking, "Life is supposed to be exciting, so why is my job so dull?" you might be suffering from the : Boredom Block. :'
• Theperceived-difficulty block. It's looking at what you have to do ] and thinking, "Lord above, this job is just too hard for me," and letting the apparent difficulty drive you into the surrender of inaction.
• The domination-of-deadlines block. Deadlines are supposed to facilitate the timely completion of work. When the deadline becomes an intimidator instead of a facilitator, you're up against the Domination of Deadlines Block.
Following is a description of each of these four blocks and tips for overcoming them. "Hell," Bob replied, "twenty is nothing. I've got thirty, thirty-five up there."
"Chicken feed," chimed in Vern. He went on to estimate the extraordinary number of projects he was trying to oversee.
If a man is a juggler one thing he probably is not is a shuchu-ryoku, a one-focal-point concentrator. And he's more than likely got his seiryoku zenryo backwards—putting out maximum effort and yielding minimum efficiency. Given all the juggling going on, and the pride attached to it, is it surprising to find stress and burnout on the rise, and efficiency plummeting?
During that breakfast meeting I was reminded of one of the stories about concentration from the Way of the archer. The greatest bowmen in the land were invited to a contest. A fish was put up a pole a great distance away. Asked by the judge if they could see the fish, one by one the archers said they could. One last contestant stepped to the line.
"Can you see the fish?" asked the judge. The archer replied, "I'm looking at its eye." This was the champion.
Learn to concentrate on the fish's eye in whatever you're shooting at and you'll win more often than not.
The lack of organizational concentration creates ball-juggling bigness —departmentalization, division of labor, complexity; these in turn create conflicts between departments and confusions about end-purposes, thus reducing seiryoku zenryo, maximum efficiency.
The Ball-Juggling Block
"Among your affairs there should be no more than two or three matters of great concern."
I remember flying to a large midwestern city for an early morning breakfast meeting with three executives of one of the world's largest corporations. As I forked into the plump yolks of my eggs, the conversation turned to how busy they all were.
"Right now," said an exhausted Sam, who was late for the meeting and came in huffing, "I'm juggling twenty balls at the same time."
The following tips can be used by individuals or whole companies: • If you're in business, think small. Pare down, whittle away, reduce the number of balls you're trying to juggle and narrow your focus. Master the art of keeping things small and you also master the art of concentration. Economy of movement, mo chih ch 'u—leaping into action—was vital to the samurai. It is the ability to move quickly time and again—to spend less time between idea and implementation—that separates the smaller, sleeker business from the larger ones.
Futurist Alvin Toffler has correctly observed that many organizations are realizing they have exceeded the limits of the economics of scale. They're just too big. The alternative is for companies to increase efficiency by finding ways to make their work units smaller—forgetting about the fish and shooting only at its eye.
Matsushita, manufacturers of National, Panasonic, Technics and Quasar brands, is a huge Japanese corporation employing two hundred thousand people. To assure smallness, even amidst bigness, Matsushita decentralizes responsibility and authority outward from its headquarters to its smaller divisions, each of which is expected to operate like a small, fast-on-its-feet company.
• If you're already small, concentrate even more. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that three quarters of the new jobs in this country over the last decade were created among the relatively small employers. There is business growth in the United States, and it is occurring among the smaller, highly concentrated companies.
• Whether you're a big business or a small one, emphasize shuchu-ryoku, full power directed at a narrow focal point. Why disperse your firm's resources trying to sell fourteen services fairly well for one million dollars when chances are you would make more than a million—and perhaps far more—if you concentrated your resources on selling seven services superbly well?
• Whether you work in a big company or a small one, put seiryoku zenryo, "maximum efficiency with minimum effort," into your work. If you're a salesman, instead of spending three months of hard work and aggravation on making a fifty-thousand-dollar sale, devote the same time and toil to another prospect that will bring in twice that amount. Just recognize what your own experience tells you: to close a ten-thousand-dollar sale does not require ten times the effort of making a one-thousand-dollar sale. Generally, they take about the same.
• Whatever your business is, take an inventory of the balls you're currently juggling. Take out a sheet of paper and list all the goals, activities, projects and tasks that are vying for your attention.
• Prepare a list of the few balls you should be juggling. Hagakure, the guide for samurai, says, "Among your affairs there should be no more than two or three matters of great concern." Those "matters of great concern" are the balls you must keep going. Sift through the list and even if each one seems to be saying to you, "Do me," force yourself to select only the two or three that are of great concern.
• Find opportunities to intentionally drop one less important ball after another. The less important balls are the ones that have been diverting you from the really important pursuits and pleasures in your life —from the two or three balls that are of great concern, that really count. Matters of great concern are the goals and tasks that you feel you must pursue and can no longer sacrifice.
• Whatever you find yourself (or your business) doing, ask if at that moment it is contributing to your two or three matters of great concern. If it isn't, don't do it, or at least seriously consider not doing it. But if it is, concentrate on it shuchu-ryoku—with all your attention and energy.
The Boredom Block laido is the art of drawing a long sword (katana), making a few cuts or thrusts, and returning the sword to the scabbard—all with lightning speed. Want to know how skilled an iaidoka is? All you have to do is check his koiguchi, the open slot of his scabbard. If it's not scratched, he's a master. That's concentration.
You might find it hard to imagine anything more boring than whipping a sword from a scabbard only to return it again, and doing this devotedly tens of thousands of times. But that's the point. Boredom is only a drunken-monkey belief that there is something else you would rather be doing. Get rid of that belief and you'll get rid of boredom.
• Find something of interest in the "boring" task. Give more of your attention to something and it will become more interesting. And the more interesting it becomes the more attention you'll want to give to it.
The famous naturalist Agassiz was known for turning out students with highly developed powers of observation. Many of them went on to become eminent in the field.
A new student appeared and asked Agassiz to teach him. Agassiz took a fish from the jar of preservative and said, "Observe this fish carefully and when I return be ready to report to me what you noticed."
Left alone, the student sat down to look at the fish. It was a fish just like any other. The student finished looking and sat waiting, but no teacher. Hours passed and the student grew restless. He asked himself why he had hooked up with an old man who was obviously behind the times.
With nothing else to do, the student counted the scales, then the spines of the fins, then drew a picture of the fish. In doing so, he noticed the fish had no eyelids. He continued drawing and noticing other things that had escaped him. And he learned that even a fish is interesting if you really see it._
• Listen. If certain people bore you, it could be because you're not hearing them. Drop your assessment that the speaker is boring and listen. You might be surprised to discover how much there is to that person.
• Make up interest-inducing statements for yourself. If you persist in telling yourself something is boring, that's just how you'll find it. But silence such thoughts as "This is boring" and replace them with "There is something stimulating here. All I've got to do is find it," and you'll be surprised how interesting things can be.
• Tackle the most interesting part of the job first. Most tasks have features that you find boring and others that you find more interesting. Bodybuilders often start their workouts with lifts they enjoy most. Once started, they go on to the lifts they enjoy less. Try to do the same whatever you're lifting.
• Change your routine. Sometimes it's not the tasks that are boring, but the routine of carrying them out. Change your schedule. Take a different route to work. Do on Wednesday what you always do on Monday. Stand up when you talk on the phone instead of sitting down, etc.
• Set up periodic pick-me-up projects for yourself. Working on new projects is a wonderful way to ward off boredom.
• Stay physically active. Hit golf balls or get down on the floor and do some push-ups. One of the least bored men I ever met had a set of dumbbells in his office closet. Whenever he found himself thinking "This is bo-o-o-o-ring" he did twenty curls.
Shinichi Suzuki, developer of the Suzuki method of music instruction, was invited to a factory to give a talk to its workers. Afterwards, the director of the company told Suzuki that the factory employed about thirty people who worked very slowly.
Suzuki recommended that the workers be allowed to play ping-pong for one hour each day during working hours, and that the company hire a coach to teach them. A year later Suzuki received a glowing letter, stating that the director had implemented the suggestion and that the workers' efficiency had improved unbelievably.
• Take breaks. Working hard in short, intense, concentrated spurts, with rest periods between spurts, is turning out to be the best way to work in many fields.
• Alter the content of your life or work. Let's say you have tried like the devil to find something interesting in the "boring" task, tried to see things freshly, etc. You have even taken off a few weeks and gone to Hawaii, and you have returned to find the same boredom in your life or work—big-5 Boredom. If so, identify the specific aspects of your life/ work situation that bore you, and consider slicing them off like shavings off a stick.
Do you ever look at the task ahead of you and find yourself thinking, "I don't get it," or "It's too damned complicated," or "I'll never be able to do this?" If so, you've come nose to nose with the perceived-difficulty block. It's an imposing block to maximum efficiency with minimum effort—seiryoku zenryo. And it accounts for many failures to complete work—from repairing a leaky drainpipe to realizing important life goals.
Tips for Dealing with the Perceived-Difficulty Block
• Recognize that work of every kind is a performance you can learn-if you're patient.
Let's admit it, kufu—grappling with something until we master it— doesn't come easy for most Americans. We have a TV-rating kind of mentality. It's either quick results or cancellation. It's the same with many of our efforts in business and personal life—a couple of tries without reaching success and it's ratings time again: "Who needs this noise? I'm canceling out."
A few years ago playing tennis was all the rage. Slews of people rushed out, bought expensive clothes and equipment and joined tennis clubs. The tennis business boomed. It was the right racket to be in. But then just as suddenly it began to decline. Why? Because many a consumer of tennis products suddenly realized that having the equipment, the clothes and the membership did not in any way assure one of the ability to play a decent game of tennis. Playing a decent game meant trying and failing and trying again. It meant hard work and sweat.
Ratings time again. The equipment and clothes were packed away and the membership was allowed to lapse.
Right now you have a virtually limitless capacity to learn to do just about anything—but only if you're willing to put out the effort. Learn to look past the surface seiryoku zenryo ease of the master; see the effort and devotion that went into creating it, and then . . .
• Kufu your way to victory. Look around and see the victors. Is it a special gift or talent that brought them success? Usually not. How many times have you heard of someone you know achieving great success and thought something like—"Bill a multimillionaire real-estate genius? Back in high school he couldn't hold a candle to me. Are you sure it's Bill you're talking about?"
It's Bill all right—or Mary, as the case may be. There's nothing special about their innate ability, but look them up and you'll find that they're the kind of person who, no matter what block appears, refuses to be stopped by it. They concentrate, they pierce stones, they kufu their way to victory.
• Counterattack all self-blaming put-downs. When your mind starts playing games, with its "This should be easy," or "Charley does this kind of thing so easily" or "Maybe I wasn't meant to be a ... (public speaker, manager, salesman)" kinds of thoughts, don't let it get away with it. Who says anything should be easy? Does Charley really do it so easily or are you just not aware of the sweat and toil he puts in?
And even if he does it with ease while you have to struggle, so what?
Concentrate on your own game, not your opponent's. Even if you're a tortoise and things don't come easily to you and the Charleys of the world are hares, stay with it. Play your own game. The world's full of loser hares and winner tortoises.
• Recognize that your imagination often makes the task seem more difficult than it really is. Often difficulty is only something you imagine. In reality the task usually turns out to be easier than you thought.
• Consciously change your thinking. Change it from "This is too hard for me" to "The best way out is through."
• Get started! At times people and businesses are intimidated by the enormity of the task that lies before them. They look at where they are and where they want to be, and the sometimes tremendous gulf between the two can be very discouraging. "I'm here now and I want to get way over there. Wow!" The longer you sit back and worry, the more awesome and intimidating the work becomes. Instead, seize the offensive and leap forward now. Leaping forward now is fighting like a samurai.
• Reduce the big task into smaller segments. Select one small part of the whole task and begin working on it. Say to yourself, "Little by little, I'll just shuchu—ryoku my way through this," and do it.
• Rather than fretting or spending far too much time on a task or project that's beyond your abilities at the time, get help. The more successful business operator is the one who makes use of experts and specialized personnel. It's ridiculous to try to do everything yourself. Make use of skilled resources. That's maximum efficiency with minimum effort.
The Domination-of-Deadlines Block
"I'll never finish on time. My butt's in a sling." Anonymous businessman
Theoretically, due-date deadlines are there to aid our concentration. While they're supposed to help concentration, and often do, deadlines can easily become drunken-monkey blocks. Just think how ominous the word "deadline" is. It is not a lifeline but a deadline.
Let's say that once into the work you encounter a snag. The internal voice begins: "You're falling behind. You might not finish on time." Your mind begins to conjure up a grim chain of consequences: "If I don't finish on time the estimate won't go out. If it doesn't go out we'll lose the sale. If we lose the sale I'll lose my job. If I lose my job . . ." The more you worry about the deadline, the more time passes and the more you find yourself in a time bind. "Oh, God, no matter what, I can't possibly finish on time now."
• Learn to set realistic time estimates by using "the kick." Early in my career I was extremely optimistic in my time estimates. My staff and I would meet the deadline, but always at some cost. I recall having an entire office working in pain and discomfort with serious cases of the flu simply because of my unrealistic estimate.
I developed a simple technique which I called "the kick." It consisted of one of my associates kicking me under the table when a client asked me to name the completion date. The kick was a signal for me to double my estimate.
I have an engineer friend who lost six jobs because of his unrealistic time estimates. I told him about "the kick" and suggested that he use it. He did, and it saved his job.
• Realize that a realistic deadline is a positive motivator to action. Research has shown that some pressure actually enhances the performance. The great majority of athletes perform better in the game than in practice simply because of the added pressure.
• Pay no attention to the deadline. The key to ridding yourself of any block to concentration is to refuse to let your attention waver from the work itself.
Archery contests are held at a temple in Kyoto. Its west veranda is 128 yards long. Since its ceiling is low, the archer has to shoot without much arch, a feat requiring considerable strength. The idea is to see how many arrows can be shot from one end of the veranda to the other in a day. The record is 8,133, or about five arrows each minute for twenty-four consecutive hours. How many arrows would have been shot had the archer stopped to worry and fret about the twenty-four-hour deadline? Certainly not 8,133.
Resist any inclination to worry about the deadline. Don't worry, just shoot your arrows. You will meet your deadlines and produce better-quality work to the degree that you forget about the deadline and shift your concentration entirely to the work.
• Use thought-replacement. You can think whatever you want to whenever you want to. For every "Oh, hell, I'm falling behind again" thought, replace it with "I'm whittling this job down," or with "Every time I stop to tell myself I'm not making it I'm losing time."
Being Mindful: An All-Purpose Method for Overcoming Blocks to foriki
When you're "mindful" you act deliberately, you mean to act the way you do, you put your intention into the act. Whenever you do something because you have consciously intended to do it, immediately there is more power in your actions.
• At the start of the day promise that whatever you do during the next twenty-four hours you're going to try to concentrate on it, you're going to mean to do it.
• Make moment-by-moment decisions to concentrate. Whatever is facing you, say to yourself, "At this moment I'm going to do this thing and only it."
• When you notice a concentration block creeping in to divert your attention, intend that much more. For example . . .
. . . you sit down to work and suddenly you think of another ball you could be juggling, or ...
. . . you're preparing to speak to a group of people and the perceived-difficulty block makes you scared. Pea-sized beads of sweat pop out on your forehead . . .
Tell yourself, "There's a block here. I could let it suck me in and divert me but I won't. I want to do the task at hand; I will do it."
Don't try to force yourself not to be blocked. Force won't work here. Have you ever tried to force yourself not to hear the dripping faucet?
Sure, and the only thing you could hear after that was the damn dripping!
Just forget about the block and think only of what you have to do. Whenever your mind drifts back to the block don't fight it, just withdraw your attention by nudging it back again to the job at hand.
• Constantly remind yourself of the importance of the task. In themselves, most everyday and business tasks seem like little, mundane, meaningless chores. An "80-20" principle in management is that 80 percent of your job satisfaction derives from 20 percent of the tasks you perform. But the moment you see that the remaining 80 percent—the "dull" tasks—are necessary steps to achieve something larger and more important, your concentration increases, at times phenomenally.
You can do this by consciously giving each task a larger significance. Again and again return to your bushido, your bottom-line purpose. Put whatever you do in the context of serving that bushido. Do that and no act is ever a dull chore.
Going to the drugstore may seem like a boring thing to do, but going there to buy medicine for your sick child is an act of love. Same act, but a different meaning—a bushido meaning.
If you're an auditor, putting on your green eyeshade and adding a column of figures may seem dull, but remind yourself that you are doing it to serve your purpose of making money for your family and what was drudgery a moment ago takes on a bushido meaning. Mokuteki hon'i, "focus on your purpose." Get in the habit of saying it to yourself ten, fifteen or thirty times a day.
Points to Remember: Developing foriki, Your Power of Concentration in Action
• "The focused mind can pierce through stone." It's worth remembering.
• Joriki, "the power of concentration," is internal. Concentrate and your arrows will penetrate. Don't take my word for it. Concentrate and you'll show yourself.
• Shuchu—ryoku—the ability to concentrate all your energy, muscular and mental, at one focal point.
• Seiryokuzenryo, or "maximum efficiency with minimum effort." It's high productivity in any area of your life.
• Kufu. It means to grapple and struggle with a problem, task or difficulty until you find the way out, the breakthrough point. Whenever a grim opponent is facing you—out there or inside you—tell yourself, "I've got to kufu my way out of this thing."
• Ball-juggling, boredom, perceived difficulty and the domination of deadlines are four serious blocks to joriki, concentration power. Learn to recognize these blocks when you encounter them, then apply the tips for overcoming them which this chapter provides.
• Being mindful is acting deliberately, intentionally. Learn the method of mindfulness and whatever your work or personal life calls on you to do, you'll do it with concentration.
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Reality is the beginning precept of personal growth. We mainly grow as humans by discovering new realities about ourselves and our world. You'll surely learn some crucial lessons regardless how you live, but you are able to speed up your growth hugely by consciously looking for truth and intentionally rejecting untruth and denial. This book will provide insight to the reality mindset.