District 41 Toastmasters

The Power of Focus: A Journey of Self-Discovery

During my childhood, I often heard the word “focus” but never truly grasped its significance. It wasn’t until I experienced it firsthand that I understood its power. The story of Arjuna from the Mahabharata, known for his remarkable concentration, was a familiar tale from my upbringing. His legendary archery skills, particularly his ability to target the eye of a hidden bird in a tree, symbolized the essence of focus.

However, it wasn’t until I embarked on a remarkable journey that I comprehended the true essence of focus in my own life. My elder sister introduced a goal to me that, initially, was not my own: to become a nursing professional. I spent 15 years pursuing this goal, and even after achieving that, only found myself still uncertain about the next steps in my life.

Recently, I embarked on a daring adventure – a trek to Kedarnath during the monsoon season, despite severe weather warnings and a red alert advising against travel. My companions and I were resolute, determined to seize this unique opportunity. Few of us went against all the odds to have the best adventure of our lives. We knew the risks, We already had it in our minds that if we were to die, we would die, yet we were willing to take our chances.

The trek was far from smooth or easy, but we managed to reach the Kedarnath temple after a grueling ascent of 3500 feet. Exhausted, we spent a restless night. The following morning, we planned to descend, but heavy rainfall overnight had triggered multiple landslides, resulting in tragedy for some. The authorities forbade our departure, but our determination and motivation drove us to defy their orders.

After hours of negotiations and a daring escape from the guards, avoiding their eyes and screams. On our way back almost 8 treks were completely washed away; there were no signs of road or bridge. As we retraced our steps, we discovered that the treks that we crossed just 16–18 hours ago, were all gone. Rivers had engulfed roads and bridges, while landslides had blocked our route in multiple places.

At one point, while crossing a turbulent river, I feared there was no way to make it across safely. The glacier above us ominously cracked, the water beneath us surged with relentless force, and a treacherous 100-foot drop awaited any misstep. Panic overcame me, and I let out a scream.

I noticed that the one who was leading us, Mr. Man Mohan Singh (the leader of the Gurgaon walker group), was doing his best to let us cross the river before him. He urged us to focus on a massive stone just ahead. “Don’t look down or up,” he advised, “just fix your gaze on that stone. Take two more steps, and you’ll be there.” I heeded his guidance, kept my eyes locked on the stone, and, before I knew it, I had reached the other side. I left the scary river, which was eagerly waiting for us to fulfil her hunger. My fear of death dissipated, and I moved forward with newfound confidence. After reaching there, I didn’t look back; I started walking even faster. I gained so much confidence that I forgot to count how many similar paths I crossed without shaking my legs any further.

In that moment, I realized the profound importance of focus. I understood how it can be a guiding light in life, helping us overcome even the most daunting challenges. It was then that I found my life’s purpose and embraced it with unwavering dedication. I learned that it’s alright to waste time and experience failures, but what’s not acceptable is losing focus on your goals. Identify your purpose, and stay focused on it.

In the end, I discovered that the power of focus can transform your life and help you overcome any obstacle that comes your way.

Monica Banik
Gurgaon Orator Toastmasters Club