Book review: Focus, The Art of Clear Thinking, by Valerie Pierce

By Susan August 8, 2018 15:11

Book review: Focus, The Art of Clear Thinking, by Valerie Pierce

Focus, and how difficult we find it to focus, is very much a theme nowadays. We lament the barrage of distractions we have to fight to get anything done; we vow to be less addicted to our phones, but we also find it difficult to stop the constant torrent of random thoughts and worries.

Our ability to focus directly determines our level of success, so working on our focus muscle will make us calmer, more effective and more productive.

Focus: The Art of Clear Thinking by Valerie Pierce is all about the strategies that will help us be more focused – on the right things.

Find the book here.


Watch the book review below.

A book review of “Focus: The Art of Clear Thinking” by Valerie Pierce

Posted by Susan Hayes "The Positive Economist" on Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Focus: The Art of Clear Thinking, by Valerie Pierce, Mercier Press, 2014.

Valerie Pierce is the mastermind behind Clear Thinking In Action. Through her trainings and workshops, Valerie helps people strengthen their thinking techniques for problem solving and decision making.

I had read Valerie’s first book, Quick Thinking on Your Feet, and had found it extremely valuable. Focus: The Art of Clear Thinking covers similar lessons, but in more depth, and with a great structure that makes the ideas stick.

So what are the components of focus? In Valerie’s words, “Focus fights your fears – Focus is fun – Focus is forever“.

“It is not enough to know what to focus on to be successful, it is even more important to know how to focus”

There are three main ideas that I absorbed from the book: the hidden power of negative thinking, the difference between passion and emotion, and the secret to perseverance.

As The Positive Economist, positivity is my brand. It has become my brand because it is an important part of my personality – I tend to see the bright side of things, the glass half full, and I naturally concentrate (or focus!) on the opportunities in any situation. If that glass is half full, I will find a way to fill the remaining half!

In my experience, I also noticed that I could change my perspective by using positive words rather than negative ones. This is important when you formulate goals, for example. It’s more productive, and more effective, to think of a “towards” goal. This means that, instead of saying you don’t want something anymore, or saying that you want to stop X, say that instead you want Y. Make sure your goal is stated in positive terms: instead of focusing on what you won’t be able to do anymore, you focus on all the great things you will welcome into your life instead. This is a concept I explain in detail in my book The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom.

However, Valerie makes a great point in her book: negative thinking can be a very effective tool, as long as you don’t dwell on the negatives, but use them as a springboard to problem solve. In the video, I talk about the strategies Valerie shares in Focus to use negativity to your advantage, without getting mired in it.

Valerie also makes a very useful distinction between Passion and Emotion – one helps you focus on the right things, the other can derail you when you take every criticism personally, instead of focusing on which remarks are actually helpful.

Focus is also associated with perseverance – when you are focused on something, you stay the course. And vice-versa: if you lose your focus on your goal, you might get sidetracked and give up. Valerie has some very astute thoughts on using focus to help your perseverance.

You can choose what to focus on: if you feel your perseverance flagging, you can focus on identifying what exactly saps your perseverance. Then you can focus on noticing these perseverance killers early enough that you don’t fall for them – and you can focus on the things that do help you persevere. In the video, I talk about what to say to somebody who tells you “Don’t say I didn’t warn you when it all ends in tears.”

Watch the video on my Facebook page.

Interested in productivity, business growth, innovation? Watch more book reviews here.

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By Susan August 8, 2018 15:11