Did you see “The Last Samurai” with Tom Cruise?
There’s a fabulous scene that knocks all the mystery out of the seemingly complex philosophy of the ancient masters and shines a bright light on The Art of Focus.
Cruise plays Nathan Algren, a Civil War hero turned mercenary who is in Japan to quell the last of the Samurai resistance to modern culture and rule. Algren is captured by a Samurai leader and is being held prisoner of sorts in their village.
His captors are extremely hospitable, giving Algren free range of the village. They even allow him to train with the other warriors, which is where he runs into trouble!
As they train with their wooden swords, “bokken,” Algren quickly finds himself completely outmatched.
The son of the warlord Katsumoto takes a shine to Algren. After seeing him whacked over the head for several matches in a row, he steps in…
“Too many minds,” he tutors Algren.
“You mind the sword. You mind your opponent. You mind the people watching…
I don’t care if you’re talking about swords or selling, breaking boards or leading your boardroom. Focus is an essential component, and focus is about “no mind.”
Unfortunately, “no mind” can be poorly translated! To a contemporary person, no mind might imply an empty head!
When the Japanese talk about “no mind,” or what they call “mushin,” they’re describing a condition of singularity – focus.
It’s about letting go of distractions to allow your mind to operate in its natural state of clarity. “No mind” really means that you’re operating at peak mental efficiency.
Through neuroscience, we now have a much better understanding of the mechanics of the mind. The cool thing for us is that it doesn’t change the process one bit!
The human mind is simply incapable of devoting full attention to more than one meaningful task at a time. Don’t believe me; read Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina. He isn’t a Samurai or even a Black Belt as far as I know; he’s the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University.
Miyamoto Musashi was a Samurai, a very famous one. He said:
“Do nothing that is of no use.”
You want to accomplish your goals in life and business?
Let go of distractions, let go of “too many minds” and…
Read more posts by Jim Bouchard, a motivational speaker, best-selling author, and influential blogger.