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How basketball, dating and marriage taught this LDS Philanthropies director about focus

Tanise Chung-Hoon had a dream of going to BYU and playing basketball.

She wrote the goal down in her personal progress book as a 12-year-old and was thrilled when, years later, it appeared that her dream was coming to fruition.

But Chung-Hoon quickly realized that all was not as great as she'd hoped. In a weekly LDS Business College devotional held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square on June 19, she talked about the challenges of learning how to balance school and practice. And it became even harder when she realized she was on the "20/20" part of the team — only playing in games when the team was 20 points ahead or 20 points behind.

"It was certainly not the role I thought I should have," she said.

Determined to earn a starting role, Chung-Hoon decided to attend school and workout all summer, asking assistant coach Hiram Akina to help her improve. He agreed.

The regular conditioning and hard practices took place every day from May through August. Chung-Hoon made a "quantum leap" of improvement and was given a starting role from her sophmore year through her senior year.

This story illustrated the principle of focus that Chung-Hoon stressed to the students. Engaging in "deliberate practice," she said, resulted in "a magnified ability to see and percieve more, know more and remember more."

In a world filled with a "fear of missing out" or "FOMO", and "an epidemic of blindness," meaning that fewer and fewer are able to discern truth, Chung-Hoon said it's important for followers of Christ to come to know Him and do away with fear.

Turning to the scriptures, Chung-Hoon gave the example of Moses visiting with the Lord face-to-face in Moses 1. Satan attempted to draw Moses' focus back to the things of the world, and it was only with great effort and in the name of the Only Begotten that Moses made him leave, she said. Even then, Satan did not leave without "weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth," she continued.

"Moses' experience shows us that we can distinguish things as they really are," said Chung-Hoon. "We can distinguish the light from the dark as we enjoy the blessing of the Spirit through deliberate focus and practice with the Lord as our perfect teacher."

Satan's goals are the opposite of God's, but we know that it is Satan's plan that will fail, Chung-Hoon continued.

"Who in their right mind would purchase a product guaranteed to fail?" she asked, comparing Satan to a company with a faulty product.

Chung-Hoon told students that her "superpower" is the ability to concentrate and focus dilligently on one thing. The downside? She often isn't able to see what's going on around her.

It was this downside that made Chung-Hoon blind to fact that a tutor she had hired to help her with classwork for the sports medicine major at BYU had the potential to be more than just a friend. Once she realized the potential there, though, she was quick to open her eyes and the couple married following her sophomore year.

"I'm forever grateful that [my husband] has helped me to focus on what are most important — eternal relationships," Chung-Hoon said.

Chung-Hoon also suggested five strategies that will lead to deliberate discipleship, which she described with the acronym 'FOCUS': fath, obedience, covenants, understanding and sacrifice.

Borrowing a practice from Sharon Eubank, Chung-Hoon then invited students to particpate in a challenge: Pray and read the scriptures each day to know just one thing that the Lord wants and needs them to do.

"By using our FOCUS strategies and being deliberate in our discipleship, we will clarify our ability to see things as they really are and recognize what matters most in our lives," she said.