Unforced focus is the ability to focus on something for long periods of time without experiencing decision fatigue. Decision fatigue occurs when you are required to use willpower to selectively focus on one thing for a period of time. When we use willpower, we consciously force the brain to focus on the task at hand. This forced focus rapidly depletes the brain of precious brain fuel (glucose). Forced focus relies on the most recent edition to brain physiology that I like to refer to as new brain physiology.
New brain physiology is comprised of the neo-cortex and the pre-frontal lobe. These areas represent the outer and front parts of the brain. Only recently, in the past few hundred thousand years, have they become part of our overall brain physiology. From a functional standpoint, the new brain represents the analytical and executive control centers; both energy hogs that rapidly soak up all available brain fuel. The new brain is oftentimes referred to as the conscious part of the brain. Forced focus relies on inefficient new brain physiology that rapidly wears out the brain, limiting our ability to focus to a mere few hours at a time.
Old brain physiology, however, is an entirely separate part of the brain. Unlike the new brain, it has been evolving for millions of years. The old brain is comprised of the limbic system and the brain stem. Old brain physiology is far superior to new brain physiology. It is more efficient, represents the only part of the brain that can multi-task, can solve complex problems without conscious effort (while you sleep, for example), is the seat of all emotions, the fountain of intuition and gut feelings and manages all of our habits. It is oftentimes referred to as the subconscious. Because the old brain has been around much longer than the new brain, it has evolved certain built-in efficiencies that the new brain lacks. These efficiencies enable it to use significantly less brain fuel in performing all of its tasks.
When you experience unforced focus, you are tapping into old brain physiology. Unlike forced focus, unforced focus allows you to focus on one thing for extended periods of time without experiencing decision fatigue. Some refer to this state of focus as being in the flow. Unforced focus is powered by passion, one of the most powerful emotions. Passion is triggered by doing something you love. When you tap into the emotional passion center of old brain physiology, you are able to focus like a laser on one thing for years, decades or even a lifetime without fatiguing the brain.
The 177 self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits study all pursued something they were passionate about. This passion enabled them to exploit old brain physiology and tap into the incomprehensible power of unforced focus to enable them persist for long periods of time until they succeeded. Forced focus, conversely, will only get you so far because forced focus quickly tires out the brain. The true path to success is in tapping into the old brain and unleashing the incredible power of unforced focus. When you do, you plug into millions of years of brain evolution and the unlimited brain power that is inborn in every human being.