How did the word get tied to productivity?

fo·cus /ˈfōkəs/ noun
1. the center of interest or activity.

As an armchair etymologist who loves to discover the origin of written language, I think it’s really interesting that the word focus comes directly from the Latin…focus… which meant “fireplace” or “hearth”.

Focus is a word that has been relevant to my life in many ways. Having been diagnosed with ADHD as a 34 year old person, I have historically felt either UN-focused or TOO focused. The word has haunted me as a student, an employee, a mom, an entrepreneur, and a creative. It’s almost a scary word.

There is much pressure to BE focused.
To STAY focused.
To MAINTAIN focus.

…and it’s almost always in the context of being a prerequisite to producing something.

Grades. Work. Chores.

How did the word get tied to productivity?

Perhaps we turned it into a verb when it should have stayed a noun: a state of being.

Perhaps we complicated the shit out of a word that never wanted to be a part of hustle culture.

Maybe focus is simply zoning into your fireplace… your light. Your hearth.

Maybe it’s admiring your own grass, staying in your own lane, and appreciating what’s in front of you right now.

Maybe it’s about deepening your gaze into what warms your spirit with no further expectations or qualifiers.

Maybe it’s time to look at “focus” as an existence, not a performance.

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