Herolab: A Practical Approach to Improving Mental Focus

In a nutshell…performance is all about focus.

No serious performer would debate the importance of their ability to Focus. In fact, the ability to Focus on the right things, in the right way, and at the right time is the single and largest determining factor of performance in many demanding tasks. If you are driven to perform in a challenging or creative environment, you have probably already looked into honing your ability to control your focus under pressure. You have probably realized that many of the programs and practices that claim to help you focus, quiet your mind, reduce stress, or improve your awareness are not designed specifically to help you focus and perform in a high pressure environment. Most of them are not particularly systematic, scientific, or practical in their approach either.  Mental skills training will help you develop the insights, skills, habits, and reflexes that you will need to focus on the right things, in the right ways, and perform at your peak when the pressure it on and the chips are down. We focus on the three core Mental Skills that are most critical to your ability to focus under pressure in any demanding role. We call them Focus Control (see link), Stress Cycling (see link), and Synchronization. All three are critical in that they either directly or indirectly support your ability to mentally track the relevant focal targets and ignore distractions when it counts. The primary elements of the program are derived from scientific insight into how living brains actually work.  Some of these insights are the result of an interesting collaboration between mathematicians curious to discover ways to design more intelligent machines, and neuroscientists who were able to understand, in a basic sense, how signals were processed in living brains. It is not surprising, therefore, that machine learning, the science at the heart of today’s intelligent machines, uses computers and software that mimic the functional structure and behavior of the neural networks found in living brains. The result of all of this is that we now know that all neural networks, living or man made, must learn to perform specific tasks and functions via experience and feedback. Unlike your laptop, they cannot be programmed in advance. They must be trained to perform tasks by repetitive exposure to signals and use feedback to gradually shape their response or output. Once trained, they perform certain types of tasks like pattern recognition (see link) much better than their linear counterparts (think laptop).

Key aspects of the logic of network training can be “hacked” for the methodical development of mental habits and reflexes like focus control. The method involves the use of a straightforward journaling technique called Cognitive Logging (see link) that makes it easy to track your state of focus, your level of stress, and your performance over time. Maintaining and the occasional “harvesting” of this log will allow you to derive strategic feedback that is used to “update” your focus skills, habits, and reflexes efficiently. Our Focus Control strategies (see link) provide insights, tools, and tactics that will help you focus on the relevant aspects of a demanding task you face, especially when you are under pressure to perform. Our Stress Cycling strategy (see link) outlines a step by step plan that will help you recover, adapt, and grow whenever you experience stress, pressure, resistance, or even failure. Once you have a good handle on Focus Control and Stress Cycling, our Synchronization concepts and logic will help you use your focus, stress recovery skills, and habits to strategically ensure “complete” communication, build trusting relationships, and generally improve your ability to share information and resources with clients, teammates, leaders, employees, or other people of just about any description.

As soon as you have a few entries in your Cognitive Log, (or journal or data log, or whatever format you use), you will already begin to notice patterns (see link) that correlate your feelings, behavior, state of focus, and performance. Studies have demonstrated that the simple act of maintaining a journal can have a positive impact on your level of stress and your ability to focus. Your Cognitive Log (we call it the CLog for reasons that will become clear later) will not only to help you recognize these patterns and correlations systematically, it will also help you identify and implement the correct Mental Skills tools, tactics, and strategies so that you can learn, adapt, and improve systematically with each Stress Cycle. As you work to master the use of these tools and tactics you will find that your susceptibility to distractions, stress, worries, and many other types of mental noise will begin to subside. With time they will lose their ability to hijack your attention, interrupt your focus, and hurt your performance. With dedication and practice your mental skills will evolve into habits and reflexes that you can rely on to work automatically, without any need for you to consciously intervene. You will notice that you are able to remain mentally on target, and you will notice the impact on your stress levels, your confidence, and your performance. Gradually you will learn to trust the control of your focus to well-honed subconscious reflexes. Your brain will subconsciously track targets and switch modes skillfully and effortlessly. At that point you have arrived on the doorstep of “The Zone” of peak mental performance. If you have experienced this already, you understand the value of the keys that open that door. Methodically developing your ability to focus under pressure is a major step in the right direction.  Ultimately “The Zone” is simply what it feels like when you let go and allow intuition, clear insights, and well honed reflexes answer the challenge of the moment. When you are in “Flow” or “The Zone” (it’s called many things), the demands of the situation are being responded to by instinct, without the neurologically cumbersome intervention of conscious control. “The Zone” is awareness causing a response. This can’t happen until you can trust ALL of your skills to meet the challenge. No matter what task specific skills you require (driving, running, selling, negotiating) you cannot escape the importance of your ability to focus.

Mental Skills mastery is a journey that never ends and never stops providing rewards. Once you become addicted to the benefits of methodically developing your powers of focus and as you start to see stress and pressure as phases of the process (Stress Cycle) through which all learning, growing, and improving emerge, you have have effectively blown the lid off of your performance potential.

Today, science tells us that the human brain is nothing less than the known universe’s most sophisticated and powerful Learning Machine!

Are you ready to unleash yours? Get Herolab today!


  Leave a Comment

Leave a comment