Focus

by Bryan Golden

Focus is the deliberate concentration of all of your energy in order to attain a specific goal. A laser beam is a perfect example of the power of focus. By directing light rays in one unified direction, laser beams can cut through steel.

A light bulb is the opposite of a laser. From the bulb, light disperses in all directions. You can leave a light bulb on until it burns out, but it won’t cut like a laser. Without the focus of a laser, the light bulb’s energy is too dispersed to be used as a cutting tool.

To accomplish any task, you need focus. You must devote yourself to directing all of your efforts toward one end. The maxim, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” perfectly expresses the result of a lack of focus.

Without focus, you go in different directions, winding up nowhere in particular. Additionally, without focus, you are prone to quitting at the first sign of difficulty. With numerous irons in the fire, it’s easy to abandon one or more when the going gets tough.

Irene was a college freshman who didn’t know what she wanted to major in. So Irene never selected a specific major. She spent years taking classes in many disciplines. Irene took courses in history, literature, art, science, philosophy, math, and humanities.

After four years, Irene discovered she hadn’t satisfied the requirements for any degree. Although she had taken as many classes as other students, Irene didn’t have enough course work in any specific discipline to enable her to graduate.

Although Irene earned good grades, she knew a little about a lot of different subjects but never gained enough knowledge about any one topic to receive a degree. Irene’s four years of college didn’t result in a diploma. Irene would have been better served had she focused on earning a degree in her favorite subject. Then she could have continued taking courses in whatever interested her.

Five years after Robert started renovating his dream house, he’s still working on it. Robert never completes one project before starting another. All of the rooms are in various states of remodeling. No part of Robert’s house is complete and ready to be lived in.

There is no end in sight for Robert’s project. As he’s working on one room of the house, he changes his mind about what he wants to do in another room and shifts gears. Robert is constantly jumping from one job to another. He has no focus.

Robert would be more productive by finishing one room before starting another. This strategy would have allowed Robert to finish years ago. Although Robert is constantly busy, his efforts are so scattered that no one thing is ever accomplished.

To achieve a goal, accomplish a task, or complete a project, you need to focus your efforts. This approach will make you much more effective and bring you results much faster than scattering your energy.

Fear of failure leads some people to put a lot of irons in the fire. They mistakenly believe this technique spreads their risk, increasing the chances that at least one endeavor will succeed. In reality, the chances of any one venture succeeding are significantly reduced.

Setbacks can cause people to lose focus before they have successfully reached their goal. Rather than picking themselves up and continuing down their chosen path, they start working on something else instead.

Develop a burning desire and then focus your energy at accomplishing your goal. Regardless of what happens, stay on track. Keep moving forward until you arrive at your chosen destination. The more focus you have, the more effective your efforts will be.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper. 2006 Bryan Golden