Focus. It’s at the heart of living a more intentional life. Focus is an easy word to say. But it can be very difficult to focus during the ups and downs of daily life.
Focus on Your Strengths
There’s a lot of pressure in our culture to be good at everything. No one is omni-competent. No one is actually good at everything. When you realize you don’t have to be great at everything, there is great freedom in the ability to opt out of the competition. Jump off the hamster wheel.
We all have different things that we are good at. Often our unique strengths come with unique weaknesses we need to watch out for. It’s helpful to be aware of our problem areas. But it’s even more important to know what it is that makes us tick and what we seem to have a natural affinity for.
The reason it’s important to focus on your strengths is that your strengths are what you bring to the table for the rest of us. Your gifts are what make the community a better place to live and work. What you are good at is your unique contribution. This is why in each one of our lives it’s worth assessing which tasks really matter and which tasks can be rushed through or delegated. The more of your time and energy you put into what you’re strong at, the more likely you are to make a difference for the people around you and enjoy doing it. Do your thing. Use your skills. Do the work and bring it to market for the rest of us to enjoy.
Focus on Your Priorities
You probably have somewhere between dozens and hundreds of tasks to do this week. Seven days with 24 hours in each day are available to you this week. Just like last week.
It can be tense trying to juggle all of the things you’re supposed to get done personally and professionally. One way to really start clarifying which tasks matter is to have defined priorities. I’m in a military course right now where some classes make up a large percentage of the overall grade and some classes make up a small percentage of the overall grade. Some pieces matter more than others. It would be unwise to worry about a small assignment while blowing off a big assignment. But sometimes it might be wise to focus on what counts the most and let something less important slide by.
There is a discipline and a spirituality to saying “no.” Our community needs more people who say “no” because they are clear about what their “yes” is. If we could learn to say “no” to small things that don’t align with our priorities, we might get better at saying “no” to big things that contradict our beliefs and values. Find your “yes” and then start using your “no.”
Focus on Your Big-Picture Goals
Albert Einstein changed physics. Marie Curie changed chemistry. Martin Luther changed the church. Martin Luther King, Jr. changed society. They all did what they did with the same amount of time available to you. Their work and their goals came as the result of focus over 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365ish days a year.
Why are you here? What brings you joy? What difference do you make for anyone beside yourself? What do you hope to see or do in your lifetime? What’s holding you back? What’s your amazing dream you can barely let yourself imagine might happen in your life?
If you know why you’re here from a big-picture perspective, it’ll make a difference. As a non-scientific observer of culture, I think our huge problem with suicide directly relates to the fact that as a society we have dismissed the importance of big-picture meaning. We’ve often taught our kids to pursue good grades, a good reputation, and a good resume without teaching them how to be good people who do good work for the good of others.
When you understand the gift that you bring, the goal that you have, your “yes” in life, it changes just about everything. This is how ordinary people do extraordinary things. And it shows how one person can squander the same exact amount of time that another person uses to make an impact. When you realize we all have the same time available to us, you can either assign blame or focus and get after it. My opinion is that the happiest people are the people who know why they’re here and live in light of it.
Thanks for taking the time to read. It’s great to interact with you. Feel free to email or connect with me over at Wymer.com anytime.