My dog, Remy, who I call Mo, knows a lot about focus.

He’s a smart and naughty dog with a sense of humor.  And when it comes to food, his focus is complete.  Nothing else exists in that moment.

He and I have a ritual. I scoop his food from the bin while he sits on the stairs.  I give him: one, two, three kibbles.  We walk into the kitchen.   He sits silent and still as I chop in deliciousness, his eyes on the bowl, nose slightly twitching back and forth tasting the air.

This day—I dropped a kibble.  I heard his breath change a little.  He saw it fall.  He wants it.  He does not move.  At all.  His eyes stay on me and the preparation of his breakfast.

This dog who ate a dozen chocolate chip cookies in less than 30 seconds, a raw chicken breast while I blinked, a pound of habanero cheese—I won’t talk about the small appliances and socks—and everything else. He does not move or abandon his focus on this meal I am preparing for him.

It’s time.  Our eyes meet.  I feed him the kibble from the floor and put down his bowl. Our ritual is complete.

Focus like his is my goal. Here’s what I think it takes:

  1. Know exactly what you are doing and what you are after;
  2. Breathe into it for a few seconds, smell its success and promise, imagine it;
  3. Put an appropriate amount of time around it (focus like that has its limits);
  4. Get everything else out of the way, see only that, and let it come (even if something amazing drops to the floor);
  5. Be grateful.

Mo has plenty of other characteristics that I am glad to leave just to him, but I am grateful for this lesson and a shared moment.