Power of Focus
“Mastery is not a function of genius or talent. It is a function of time and intense focus applied to a particular field of knowledge. But there is another element, an X factor that Masters inevitably possess, that seems mystical but that is accessible to us all. Whatever field of activity we are involved in, there is generally an accepted path to the top. It is a path that others have followed, and because we are conformist creatures, most of us opt for this conventional route. But Masters have a strong inner guiding system and a high level of self-awareness. What has suited others in the past does not suit them, and they know that trying to fit into a conventional mold would only lead to a dampening of spirit, the reality they seek eluding them. And so inevitably, these Masters, as they progress on their career paths, make a choice at a key moment in their lives: they decide to forge their own route, one that others will see as unconventional, but that suits their own spirit and rhythms and leads them closer to discovering the hidden truths of their objects of study. This key choice takes self-confidence and self-awareness—the X factor that is necessary for attaining mastery.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“Commitment gives you freedom because you’re no longer distracted by the unimportant and frivolous. Commitment gives you freedom because it hones your attention and focus, directing them toward what is most efficient at making you healthy and happy. Commitment makes decision-making easier and removes any fear of missing out; knowing that what you already have is good enough, why would you ever stress about chasing more, more, more again? Commitment allows you to focus intently on a few highly important goals and achieve a greater degree of success than you otherwise would.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“While investing deeply in one person, one place, one job, one activity might deny us the breadth of experience we’d like, pursuing a breadth of experience denies us the opportunity to experience the rewards of depth of experience. There are some experiences that you can have only when you’ve lived in the same place for five years, when you’ve been with the same person for over a decade, when you’ve been working on the same skill or craft for half your lifetime. Now that I’m in my thirties, I can finally recognize that commitment, in its own way, offers a wealth of opportunity and experiences that would otherwise never be available to me, no matter where I went or what I did.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“To truly appreciate something, you must confine yourself to it. There’s a certain level of joy and meaning that you reach in life only when you’ve spent decades investing in a single relationship, a single craft, a single career. And you cannot achieve those decades of investment without rejecting the alternatives.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“You remember and dwell on all the things you’ve lost and ignore all the things you haven’t. Because your scars are like stars. Yet the night stays perfectly black.” ~ Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You
“What you don’t do determines what you can do.” ~ Tim Ferriss, via James Clear’s Blog
“[Success] is not about beating the other guy. It’s not about having more than the others. It’s about being what you are, and being as good as possible at it, without succumbing to all the things that draw you away from it. It’s about going where you set out to go. About accomplishing the most that you’re capable of in what you choose. That’s it. No more and no less.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“It seems that often when problems arise, our outlook becomes narrow. All of our attention may be focused on worrying about the problem, and we may have a sense that we’re the only one that is going through such difficulties. This can lead to a kind of self-absorption that can make the problem seem very intense. When this happens, I think that seeing things from a wider perspective can definitely help – realizing, for instance, that there are many other people who have gone through similar experiences, and even worse experiences. If you focus too closely, too intensely, on a problem when it occurs, it appears uncontrollable. But if you compare that event with some other greater event, look at the same problem from a distance, then it appears smaller and less overwhelming.” ~ Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
Questions direct focus; focus directs actions; actions direct life.
The process works like this: A question gets asked, a void is created, and the mind – like a vacuum – works to fill that void with an answer almost instantaneously. So the opportunity is this: Start asking yourself better questions and you can immediately start getting better answers.
Ask yourself bad questions; get bad answers; take bad actions (or no actions); have a, well, bad life.
Ask yourself powerful questions; get powerful answers; take powerful actions; have a powerful life!
Lame questions beget lame answers; Extraordinary questions beget extraordinary answers.
Before you dismiss this idea as being all too simple, let’s dig a little deeper.
How exactly do questions direct focus?
“Leaders need to keep a singular focus, each and every day, on their ultimate goals; they need to keep them at the front of their minds as they choose their actions and strategies. This seems so obvious but, at the same time, incredibly busy days when people are constantly asking for your attention make it easy to lose a central, goal-oriented focus. Thus, even something as simple as putting a Post-it note that describes your ultimate goals on the corner of your computer screen can help you keep focused and slow you down so that you can facilitate and orchestrate your team’s actions directly toward your ultimate goal.” ~ J. Keith Murnighan, Do Nothing!
“Sticking things out is overrated, particularly if you stick out the wrong things. In fact, I think you’d be much better off quitting most of what you do so you have the resources to get through the hard slog I call the Dip. The challenge, then, is to not quit in the Dip, but instead to quit everything else so you have the focus to get through the slog of what matters.” ~ Seth Godin, Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?