Winning at Life: Focus

Hey Everyone! Today I want to help you speed up your life success. How do we do that? It’s easy, you focus your attention on “The Goal”. This is  a discussion about multitasking, but  also about why pointing your attention towards only a few goals is so important.


Let’s Talk About Multitasking
Sometimes multitasking is fine, when both activities take little focus like thinking while you’re trying to fall asleep, or listening to music while you walk. Even watching TV while you’re cooking dinner. Why can you be effective at both? Because you don’t need to use your cognitive focus to complete both activities. When you’re running and listening to music, neither activity requires your full attention. You can run without thinking about it. You can listen to music without thinking about it. Cooking and watching TV is slightly different. Generally, cooking requires some level of focus while watching TV only requires periodic attention, unless it’s an intense show with a lot of plot twists (insert Game of Thrones reference).


When Multitasking Does Not Work
For instance, responding to emails while talking to someone. Texting and driving is another good example. When two activities require your cognitive focus, you can not do both at high levels. Without giving 100% focus to each activity, the likelihood of errors increase. This idea is fully captured in the art of listening when you can be having a discussion with someone, while the other person is talking you’re already thinking about your next answer so you don’t hear parts of what the other person is saying.


The Point
This gets us to the real point of this topic which is limiting your focus to a small number of things at a time. The challenge for most people is that these tasks span long periods of time. They could include things like:


  • Paying off debt
  • Raising kids
  • Finishing school
  • Starting a business
  • Preparing for retirement
  • Advancing your career
  • And many many more.


Similar to multitasking, you can have success doing multiple things. You can work a job, go to school and probably raise a kid or two all at once, if you have the help of others and you’re intentional with how you use your time. Yet, you’re still better off focusing all of your energy in one or two area because you’ll make quicker progress towards your goals which will motivate you to continue forward.


For instance, in the above scenario, you could choose to work, go to school, and raise your kids. You’ll likely need at least 4 years to complete school (if you’re extremely dedicated and you only work part time and you have a good support structure for your kids). It’s far more likely that it will take you 5 or 6 years, or that you won’t complete school at all because you’re stressed, frustrated, tired and demotivated. Another alternative would be to apply for hundreds and hundreds of scholarships to pay for schooling, take 20-25 credit hours per semester and finish school in 2 years, not work and just focus on school and kids. This will allow you to complete huge chunks of schooling in small amounts of time, thus motivating you to finish your schooling. This will translate into a better paying job which will likely more than double your income from the other alternative and lead to higher levels of success in the future.


Focusing on One or Two Goals
you will make more progress over a shorter period of time which will help you stay motivated and continue moving forward. Momentum creates momentum. Think about sports. What happens when a team is losing and suddenly one score, penalty, or turnover occurs? It flips the course of the game; the opposing team is instantly filled with an unexplainable energy which propels them to victory. It happens all the time. It’s about MOMENTUM!


The same thing happens in life and both positively and negatively. You think of a million-dollar idea, you’re extremely excited and energized and then you hit a roadblock, maybe you don’t know how to proceed, or you don’t have the resources to implement your idea. You’re immediately demotivated and you often abandon your idea altogether. This is why it’s important to break big projects into small ones. It creates small wins which propel us forward. They motivate, they inspire, and the drive us to our next small win and on and on.


Small Wins
allows us to channel these small wins which creates motivation and drives us to achieve major life successes. Broad focus, slows this down by increasing the span of time necessary to achieve a small win. Great innovation, great achievement, major life successes occur because we focus, we are inspired and we are energized to win!

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