How Focus can help you reach your potential
In 2014 I had the chance to travel to Chaing Mai, Thailand in conjunction with some volunteer work that I do. I’d seen Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknow” earlier in the summer and was eager to see, taste and smell parts of the world I’d never been to.
On my day off I went north of Chaing Ma to a village of various mountain tribal people and came upon the lovely grandmother who was carefully placing wax patterns on a cloth that was going to be dyed. Fortunately, I had hired a guide who had been going to this sight for years, in addition to being my guide he was my translator. Through him, the artist and I had a brief conversation about her hand work. Each one of these rolls of fabric can take up to fifteen hours to complete. All of the wax is applied by hand with a bamboo pen with a sharp metal tip. When she is finished the material is dyed and once dries, the material is put in hot water to melt off the wax. She told me that she has been doing this all of her life, and that she does it for a couple of reasons. The first, it is her source of income. Second, she finds joy in the creative process.
I thanked her for her time, made a couple of small purchases and marveled at her dedication to her craft.
This woman is focused.
The power of purpose is like the energy of the sun focused through a magnifying glass. Every third-grade boy knows that when you focus sunlight through a magnifying class on something that can burn, it will. A laser, another focused light, is capable melting layers of steel.
A clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters the most to you.
My friend, mentor, and endorser of my first book Get a Grip on Depression, Dr. Tom Barrett says, “Focus is the birth canal through which dreams become reality.
Talent without discipline takes us nowhere. Dreams without an action plan are just empty day dreams that produce nothing.
We are responsible for the dream God gives us.
So what is this focus thing?
The ability to know your purpose and to maintain and sustain focus is the single most important component a person can have to finish the race of life.
Focus, knowing our purpose, it is where we do what we need to do, not what we want to do.
Focus, living a purpose-driven life is saying yes to the dream that God has given you and saying no to your fears.
Focused, is saying yes to our responsibilities and no to our numerous schemes and rationalizations to avoid the things we need to do.
Focused, purpose-filled living is the place where we put out notions into motion.
On of the primary reasons many of us never fulfill our purpose is because we never learned how to sustain our dream and do the work that it takes to make it happen.
Over the years, experts have studied why so many people fail to maintain a sense of purpose and focus.
Here are the Top 10 Reason people lose their focus.
10. The task is too tedious – so they quit doing what they need to do.
9. If it does not grab their attention – they will bail out from boredom.
8. If I get tired – I will stop working.
7. If it is not fun – I will stop applying myself.
6. If it becomes too hard – I will quit.
5. If my mentor, coach, or trainer is not right – I will blame them.
4. If I do not feel confident – I will pull back and avoid taking responsibility.
3. If I get a better offer, or something more fun – I abandon the project
2. If I lack inspiration – I will not focus.
1. If I choose to trade trinkets for my dream – I will lose my dream.
Neitzsche said, “He who knows a why can endure anything.”
Knowing your why is the key to unleashing your potential, zeroing in on your purpose, then being able to focus on that dream that God has given you.
Only when you know why will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, to stay motivated when the chips are down, and move with God’s leadership and power into an entirely new and more challenging life.
I have enjoyed Margie Warrell’s book, Stop Playing it Safe. In this must read she guides you through the process of discovering and clarifying your purpose.
He is my adaptation of her four questions to help us drill in on the power of purpose.
#1 What makes you come alive? Where is you passion? What “inspires” you. The word inspires means “to bring to life.” This is all about connecting to a cause that is bigger than you.
#2 What are your core strengths?
Sir Kenneth Robinson, in his book Element, describes it this way. Our “Element” is that point where natural talent, your sense of calling, and your skill set meet up with personal passion.
Howard Thurman (no relation) a Civil Rights advocate, once wrote,“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
#3 Where do you add the greatest value? Hint: Doing what you loath will get you nowhere fast. Focus on what you do well and outsource the rest.
#4 How will you measure your life? The Apostle Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.
Knowing your why, your purpose and focusing on it will help you do what matters most.
Knowing your purpose will compel you to take on challenges that will stretch you as much as they inspire you.
Proverbs 13:4 “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”
Proverbs 14:23 “Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!”
You and I are living out our lives for an audience of one. It is one thing to share the dream that God has given you; it is another thing to experience it.
Will you live it?