What is your end goal? What does winning look like?
If you were to create a plan of everything you want to achieve what would it involve and how would you get there?
By creating a road map to success you can effectively ascertain the route you will need to follow to get there.
Planning is the most effective tool for ensuring we remain on track.
By fixing a point X on a map you can look at how others have achieved similar feats and utilise that as a map to follow. Technology has made this easier than at any time in history.
We can follow the careers of people we admire or aspire to through platforms such as LinkedIn, which can be used a resource to highlight the pertinent learnings or experience which are necessary and would expedite a similar ascent.
By establishing goals your focus becomes distinctly fixed on your current reality and allows you to become cognisant of your inadequacies.
Instead of pursuing a multitude of different avenues we become focused on achieving the things we have set our minds to.
By creating goals we effectively limit our options, forgoing variety in order to be specifically and single-mindedly focused on the outcomes we have defined.
And ultimately that is why we stray. Our options are limitless, our ability to learn anything we want whenever we want has made procrastination and change too easy.
There is no cost to switching or to learn something new. Consumption on any medium is so easy that the only investment required is time.
Learning for learning sake isn’t a bad thing unless it is to the detriment of progress.
But what is progress if we do not know where we are going?
Progress can only be measured when we have outlined our goals. Goals allow progress to be tracked and understood with our journey optimised to enable our arrival.
Tracking progress, or a lack thereof, provides transparency to the process. It endows you with the capability to understand what skills you have but more crucially those which you don’t.
By unmercifully pursuing a specified and recorded goal our single-minded focus can be held to account.
When we stray our lack of progress is apparent. We immediately understand the implications of our actions which are highlighted by our inability to achieve our goals, can refocus and progress with renewed vigour.
Which leads to passion. It is foolish to fix goals relating to things we are not passionate about.
Achievement requires obsession. That is the reality.
Olympians are obsessed with being the absolute best, CEO and business high-fliers are no different.
Normal people cannot compete with obsession. Find your obsession.
Think of how you view people who are obsessed. They are able to sacrifice and commit at an almost unfathomable level.
You might actually view them negatively, rejecting overtures that have seduced you so readily. That night out you didn’t need, that party you attended.
Obsession causes you to miss things that are less important in order to allow you to focus on the things that are most important to you.
They forego short term pleasure in favour of the opportunity to achieve significant goals.
Obsession isn’t just a way to pass the time, it is everything. It creates a razor sharp focus on outcomes and relentless growth.
Obsession leads to purposeful practice. Deliberate practice is the process of understanding our weaknesses and focusing on improving the things we are poor at.
By improving those things we struggle with our improvements compound. We become better at everything by improving at the specific elements amounting to significant improvement.
And improvement is the game.
It is the essential necessity which drives your ability to focus.
And it all distils to one constituent part: learning and your ability to learn how to learn.
The truth is we are terrible at learning. Schools have taught us how to memorise material in order to pass exams. Learning is juxtaposed to that.
Learning how to learn means knowing which information to seek out and which to reject. It means being relentlessly inquisitive and always looking for new teaching to augment your current knowledge base.
It is dependent on your ability to vanquish procrastination and achieve something today with a view to tackling the unknown that comes tomorrow.
Self-directed learning enables you to learn the skills that you are most passionate about and employ them in an innovative way to achieve your goals and ambitions.
unmercifully pursued a dream which was at first written words on a page or an imagined belief.
The difference between those who have succeeded and those who haven’t is that one set out with a plan to achieve and the other has waited for it to happen to blame why it hasn’t on bad luck.
This self-generation of opportunity comes to those who put themselves out there. Who learn skills that are valuable and employ them to achieve the goals they have made for themselves.
And never stop learning.
Whether that is reading a book, listening to a podcast or completing a MOOC online. You need to take responsibility for your own learning and actively pursue means to improve.
If you begin now, you could become a world leading expert in your chosen field in less than 10% of your lifetime.
And that ties to the final requirement: Consistency.
You need to be committed to those things you pursue.
Focus is the combination of several quintessential elements. Planning, obsession, learning and consistency.
If you can employ these you can become focused on learning the things that really matter to you and you will be able to dispel those things that only distract.