Reading one of James Clear’s newsletters filled with wisdom, I had to share this piece of insight and challenge your thinking and doing about bringing focus to what we do.

He began the last section of his newsletter by sharing this quote from inventor and businessman Thomas Edison on focus:

“You do something all day long, don’t you? Everyone does. If you get up at seven o’clock and go to bed at eleven, you have put in sixteen good hours, and it is certain with most people, that they have been doing something all the time. They have been either walking, or reading, or writing, or thinking. The only trouble is that they do it about a great many things and I do it about one. If they took the time in question and applied it in one direction, to one object, they would succeed. Success is sure to follow such applications. The trouble lies in the fact that people do not have an object, one thing, to which they stick, letting all else go. Success is the product of the severest kind of mental and physical application.”

Source: How They Succeeded

He proceeded to ask this question of his readers:
One question for you:
What can you work on today that will continue working for you years from now?

This inspired me to think about:

  1. What enables this kind of focus?
  2. How do I develop these attributes and apply them?
  3. Determination surely is at the very essence of focus

What enables this kind of focus?

This newsletter got me thinking about this concept and my curiosity got me doing further research and I found that it is claimed that successful people have high levels of resolve, willpower and determination so they stick at their long term goals and bring the necessary focus because they are good at:

  1. Delaying gratification
  2. Withstanding temptation
  3. Overcoming fear in order to do what they need to do
  4. Doing the things they decide are most important rather than setting priorities.

How do I develop these attributes and apply them?

Get started by learning from your mistakes and then letting them go and moving into the future. As you move into the future, act as if success or failure is totally within your control. There is no space for “luck” – you create the outcome through your application and focus. As you laser in on your focus, remember to pay attention to things you CAN control – don’t waste energy on things you cannot. Do what you can do – be your own change but don’t try to make everyone else change as this will diffuse your energy and focus.

While lasering in on this focus, realise and recognise that whining about your problems makes you feel worse and drains your energy. So if something is not working don’t waste time complaining, rather put that mental energy into making the situation better.

Determination surely is at the very essence of focus

Determination is what motivates us to keep going, to keep trying and to keep working to improve ourselves and make positive changes in our lives. It is determination that increases our chances of success and must be at the very essence of focus.
So if we want to build greater determination we:

  • Work from our point of strength
  • Create deliberate practice
  • Avoid distractions
  • Narrow our choices
  • Bring a mindset of deep commitment to make it happen and believe
  • Align with our personal values so we can be “in flow”
  • Don’t forget the “finish line” and be prepared to pick yourself up along the way.