Develop Inward Focus

mental health Feb 25, 2023
Develop Inward Focus

Take a look at those around you. What do you notice about their attention? The first time I did this, I noticed that so many people are too focused on what's outward from themselves. People like these tend to "play to not lose" rather than "play to win". They haven't developed an inward focus.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't care about what others say or think. This is a completely normal and natural part of being a human.

However, there is a balance to be had. The modern-day has conditioned people to worry more about others and their opinions rather than worry about themselves.

Developing an inward focus has powerful benefits. Here are those benefits in more detail.

1. Greater peace of mind

Way, way, way too many people these days are more stressed out than they should be. On top of the grind of daily life, they also burden themselves with the opinions and judgments of others; opinions and judgments that 99% don't matter. When you develop inward focus, you free yourself from that burden.

First off, what is inward focus? Inward focus is how I came to understand the stoic principle of the internal locus of control.

An internal locus of control is a very black-or-white concept when it comes to decisions making; an outcome is either fully in your control, or it isn't. Those outcomes that aren't fully in your control you don't stress over.

The more I meditated on it, the more I thought that saying internal locus of control was misleading and missing the greater picture. Hence, inward focus.

Having inward focus allows you to be fully present in your own decisions. The point is to have decisions that are win-win at best, and lose-lose if you can't get what you want.

By having inward focus, you are putting yourself first. That is to say, you make choices firstly based on what you're looking for. 

This isn't to say that you never take others' input into consideration. This just means that their inputs don't take priority over your desires.

When you successfully cultivate inward focus, you are only worried about the things that are 100% in your control. And the only things that are 100% in your control are your decisions and input.

Whether their inputs are something that directly impedes you or something that is already in the way, you are in the driver's seat. You can make the decision to disregard what they said or take it into consideration.

By prioritizing your own input when it comes to decision-making, you obtain greater peace of mind.

2. Greater decisiveness

Believe it or not, making decisions takes up energy. This is why Steve Jobs wore the same clothes every day. Being able to make decisions quickly is a hallmark of a masculine man. Developing inward focus grants you great decisiveness by removing unnecessary clutter.

The number one thing that has people delay their decisions is the opinions and judgments of others. This is why so many guys struggle to approach girls they find attractive.

"What if she doesn't like me? What if I'm bothering her?" There is no point in worrying about these things because they're not in your control.

By not focusing on the opinions of others, you are giving yourself an easier time making decisions.

The difference is night and day, and the freedom is exhilarating. The problem is that most guys fear how others will react to them not prioritizing other people.

This is "the test" so to speak. If you can push past the bindings other people's opinions have put on you, you will find that those bindings were largely self-inflicted.

Once you break free, you obtain a greater peace of mind rooted in the fact that your decisions are your own to make.

3. Greater Emotional Control


Let's face it: many men these days have the emotional control of a little child. This happens because they are too focused on others. As a result, they become dependent on others giving them what they want. By developing inward focus, you obtain greater emotional control.

Recall in the first section, I said that the aim of inward focus is to either get a win-win or a lose-lose. Many people are emotionally volatile because they aren't capable of this.

So many people are incapable of comprehending that someone else won't do what you want just because they went about things the right way. Whether that be asking politely or paying for the first date, they expect things to be 1-for-1 transactions.

The worst part is these people see pushing for either win-win or lose-lose as a bad thing. they think it's selfish, so they'll try to guilt trip you into agreeing with them.

Not only does this never work out well, but they'll also use this rationale for future disputes. However, as I mentioned in the last section, the bindings that others' opinions have over you are largely self-inflicted.

So you don't do what they want. What'll they do about it? If they don't care for what you want, why should you care about what they want?

This is what is meant by pushing for a win-win or taking the lose-lose. No deal is better than a bad deal.

Too many people are conditioned to push for either win-win, win-lose, or some sort of compromise where both people half-win and half-lose. The problem with those last two is they always leave a bad taste behind.

By taking lose-lose if you can't get a win-win, ironically, nobody loses and either they obtain greater respect for you, or you cut them out of your life.

Inward focus leads to inner peace

The greatest benefit of developing inward focus is that you find inner peace. Eventually.

As nihilistic as this may sound, the only peace that exists is inner peace. If you think about it, there's no way for you to bring peace to others; they must find it themselves.

By lowering the priority of the inputs you can't control, you bring inner peace into your life no matter where you may be.

- Karl