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November 10, 2020 2 min read

Various studies have shown that a focused mind tends to be a happy mind. The art of monotasking is often how we find flow in life, blocking out distractions and fully focusing on the present.

In today’s world it’s arguably harder than ever to shut off outside noise, though, with smartphones, social media and a huge number of possibilities at our fingertips. 

Pursuing fitness is one way to get a time-out from those distractions because tough workouts require your full attention. But there are also techniques you can use to focus your mind better in wider life, and one of those is by asking the question, “Will it make the boat go faster?”

Ben Hunt-Davis’ Olympic Journey

The man who has made that question famous is former British rower Ben Hunt-Davis. Despite making it to two Olympic Games in the 1990s, Ben would admit he’d had a fairly mediocre record for the majority of his rowing career. 

Then, after another disappointing performance as part of the GB Eight at the 1998 World Championships, the crew made a choice to completely overhaul their training approach. 

The team had two years to prepare for the Sydney Olympics and decided to go for the crazy goal of Gold. They would do it by asking themselves the same question in everything they did on a day-to-day basis: “Will it make the boat go faster?”

Taking that focus into every decision they made in and out of the boat gave them a consistency that ultimately paid off. The team won the Olympic final in 2000.

How Can Anyone Apply This In Day-To-Day Life?

It’s an easy concept to grasp, but one that only works in practice if you ask the right question. Once you establish what it is that gives you passion and drives you, you can formulate a question and tap into that feeling on a regular basis. 

Your question could be, “Will it help me get a promotion?” Or “Will it make me a better parent?” Or even “Will this bring me happiness?” The focus doesn’t matter.

By finding your question, you can bring your brain back to it several times a day and find yourself enjoying a more focussed mind.


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