It’s called Focus

“Having conceived of his purpose, a person should mentally mark out a straight pathway to its achievement, looking neither to the right nor left.” – As A Man Thinketh

It’s called FOCUS, and it’s probably the one single reason that most of us don’t accomplish more. We lay out some great goals, maybe even writing them down like the experts encourage. We enthusiastically start taking action. We can feel the power and the energy. We know that this time we’re on the right track, this time is going to be different than all those other times.

Then it happens…

Life gets in the way!

Maybe it’s a personal or family illness; or things get turned upside down at work. Maybe an unexpected financial crisis occurs. Whatever the interruption, it consumes us and before we know it, our once bright and shining goal that was out there in front of us is now just a tarnished and painful memory of what we could do if such and such hadn’t happened.

Life gets in the way of everybody, but the more successful have a way of keeping their focus in spite of life. One of my all-time favorite quotes on the power of focus is from James Allen’s The Mastery of Destiny.

“All successful people are people of purpose. They hold fast to an idea, a project, a plan, and will not let it go; they cherish it, brood upon it, tend and develop it; and when assailed by difficulties, they refuse to be beguiled into surrender; indeed, the intensity of the purpose increases with the growing magnitude of the obstacles encountered.”

And that last sentence is the true secret:

    “indeed, the intensity of the purpose increases with the growing magnitude of the obstacles encountered.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

The Dreamer

“Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.” — As A Man Thinketh

In the original Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jack Canfield tells the story of Monty, who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer of little means. During his senior year he was assigned a writing project to describe what he wanted to be when he grew up. His seven-page essay minutely detailed the 200-acre ranch he wanted to own. It included a diagram of the ranch and a detailed floor plan of his 4,000 square foot home.

Despite the passion and effort Monty put into his paper, he received it back with a large “F” written on it and a note to see the teacher after class. The teacher told Monty that the reason he had given him that grade was because his paper was unrealistic. He went on to cite all of the reasons why, and told Monty that if he would rewrite the paper with a more realistic goal, he would reconsider the grade. After considering it for a week, the young man turned in the same paper with no changes, along with the remark, “You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.”

The conclusion of the true story has the teacher bringing 30 students for a summer campout at the 200-acre ranch of the now grown (and successful) Monty who lives in his 4,000 square foot dream home.

If it worked for the son of an itinerant horse trainer it will work for you. The principle is simple: (1) create a dream that is so big that it will keep you excited, (2) define the dream in minute detail, (3) live in the dream so that it becomes real to you on the inside, (4) and then hold on to it so tightly that no one can take it away from you.

James Allen goes on to offer this great wisdom, “Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals…For out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.”

But Monty, perhaps, offered the greatest wisdom, “You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

Mountain or molehill?

Grand TetonsGazing upon the beauty of majestic mountains lifts my spirits like no other experience. I am always awestruck by their immenseness. I just returned from some R&R in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and very few mountains can compare to the Grand Tetons, which rise to almost 14,000 feet. They are simply stunning!

On my flight home I was reading a story about Greg Olsen, the American who paid the Russians $20 million to ride along on a space flight. The thought occurred to me that Olsen may have seen the Grand Tetons on his trip, so I went to the NASA website and Grand Tetons from Spacefound a picture of my favorite mountains taken from space. While it was an impressive picture, this view doesn’t make them seem almost insurmountable like a ground view does.

And so it is with most of the mountains in our path. From one perspective they may seem overwhelming, but taking the time to see them from another perspective will show us that they really aren’t that big after all. It’s true what your grandmother told you — don’t make a mountain out of a molehill — which, coincidentally, is what my Grand Tetons sort of resemble when viewed from space. 🙂