Focus is the single most important factor that will determine whether your dreams come true or not. Depending on what your dreams are, there are so many challenges and hurdles to cross. Some look quite formidable, and a lot of folks give up at the first sign of a setback.
Focus helps you put your act together. It helps you mobilize your resources and channel them in one direction. That way, you make progress consistently in the direction of your goal or milestones.
Imagine the lights in the front of your car. Most models use a similar size, bulb, and wattage. What makes a full beam is focus. Driving on a dark road at midnight, you can see up to a mile ahead. If that beam of light is focused further, it can generate heat. Focused further still, it cut through some materials. That is the power of focus.
To fulfill your dreams, you have to break it down into actionable segments: goals.
Fulfilling the dream involves achieving the goals that make up the dream. Focus enables you meet your goals.
Without focus, you become distracted. You lose direction. Your priorities get messed up. You start to look in different directions. This may involve beginning other projects, when the one at hand has not been pursued to a logical conclusion. The cycle continues, and the net effect is that you litter the landscape with abandoned projects.
If you consider the time, energy and resources committed into these abandoned projects, put together and focused on one project, results would have been achieved.
This brings to mind a simple experiment many of us did in junior high. The challenge was to draw a simple straight line from point A to point B, without using a straight edge. To do that successfully, we were instructed to mark out the two points at two opposite ends of a plain sheet of paper. Then placing our pencil on point A, we were to keep our eyes on point B, as we draw the line. The net effect was a simple (maybe not perfect) straight line from point A to B.
We were then told to repeat the experiment, this time, place our pencil at point a, and keep our eyes on the pencil as it makes its way to point B. You can guess the result; a wavy line from point A to nowhere. By the time the pencil got to the opposite edge of the paper, we had to look for point B is. We had all gone way off mark.
It was a simple and powerful lesson in focus, though sadly, few of us took it to heart; keep your eyes where you are going, and you will get there. Keep your eyes where you are, and you will get lost.
Have you ever wondered what is the difference between a magnet and a nail? They are both made of carbon steel. It is in its molecular structure. Each has a north and south polarity. In the magnet, all the molecules are in perfect alignment, all north poles pointing in one direction (to make the north pole) and all south poles pointing in the opposite direction (to make the south pole). This is what accumulates to constitute the magnetic force. In the nail, the alignment is haphazard. They point in all directions. The net effect is that the electromagnetic forces cancel themselves out and the resultant magnetic force is zero.
If you bring a nail within the magnetic field of a magnet, it sucks it in. While still attached to the magnet, the nail becomes a magnet too, and can magnify other metals. What happens is the magnetic force of the magnet forces the molecules in the nail to put its act together and line up in one direction. If you remove the nail, its molecular return to their former state, and it becomes a non-magnet one more time.
The magnet is a focused person. They pull their resources together and achieve great things. The nail is a confused person, they deploy their resources in all directions, jumps from project to project and cancel out whatever progress they would have made.
As a shrewd manager of or time, energy and resources we need to plan and focus. You may have a thousand ideas. Create an idea document in your computer and store them for safekeeping. Each idea has its time. Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. If you run before time, you wear yourself out, and add your idea to your database of abandoned projects. Instead of the idea motivating you, it now becomes a source of discouragement.
Each well-run army knows its strategic strengths, and how many theaters of war it can prosecute simultaneously. If it stretches itself too thin, it sets itself up for defeat.
It may be time step back review your current ongoing projects. Take a second look at your short term and long term goals. Do you still believe in your dream? If so, look at projects that are on the critical path to the fulfillment of your dream.
Suspend projects that distract you from getting to where you are headed. If all your ongoing projects are relevant, assign priorities to them, continue with the most critical, and keep the others in view.
Pursue one project to its logical conclusion. It may not necessarily mean staying permanently on one project. You can push it to a stage that it becomes self-sustaining or delegate-able to others, then delegate and move on. It will continue to thrive, as you break new grounds. Also you can take on other projects, if and only if they do not distract you, or slow down your primary thrust.
It does not make sense to complain that you don’t have enough time to do the things you need to do, simply because you got your life cluttered with so many things that are nice, but not absolutely necessary.
It is great to start. Most folks don’t. But starting alone is not enough. Finish what you start. The medal belongs to those who finish, not to starters. If you remain focused long enough, you will eventually get to the finish line.