“Concentrate on finding your goal, then concentrate on reaching it” (Michael Friedman).
WHEN WE LEARN WHAT THE IMPORTANT THINGS ARE, THE CHALLENGE IS TO KEEP FOCUSED ON THEM. It is not easy to keep the most important things in the center of our concern, even when we see what those things are. So today, let’s think about the importance of focus. It’s one of the keys to effective living.
As life becomes more complex, the more tempted we are to dilute our attention. With so many fascinating concerns competing for our recognition, we tend to be distracted from the few that should be our focus. But as enticing as all these things are, we must resist the urge to dabble in them. With a limited amount of energy, we must make some hard choices and concentrate on our highest priorities.
Samuel Johnson wrote, “A man may be so much of everything that he is nothing of everything.” Poorly focused people end up making less of a contribution to the world than those who have narrowed their interest. To attempt too much is to accomplish too little.
When we summon the courage to concentrate, focusing like a laser on what is most important, many of our practical problems disappear. For instance, focus tends to drive away worry and anxiety. Lady Bird Johnson was on the right track when she said, “Become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.”
But how do we learn to concentrate? Where does focus come from? I believe it comes from two things: (a) deciding what our greatest goals are, and (b) giving ourselves passionately to the accomplishment of those goals. Walter J. Johnston said it well: “Many people who wonder why they don’t amount to more than they do have good stuff in them, and are energetic, persevering, and have ample opportunities. It is all a case of trimming the branches and throwing the whole force of power into the development of something that counts.”
So how long has it been since you “trimmed the branches” in your life? And are you “throwing the whole force of power” into what matters most? If not, you’re probably drifting through life without any certain destination. I can tell you from experience: you need to focus.
“This one thing I do . . . I press toward the goal” (Letter of Paul to the Philippians).