Sunday
Nov182012

Focused effort

Today I would like to talk about a skill that can have a tremendous impact on your life. It may even change you forever. That skill is the ability to develop a capacity for focused effort.

It is my belief that effort will become the currency for success in the next decade. Let me explain. Many of the traditional advantages of education, privilege, and environment are being transformed by technology. In the past, it was absolutely impossible for all but a select few to attend a university like MIT. Today however, you can get their entire curriculum online, and although you may not have the degree, you can amass the same knowledge that was previously only offered to a select few. If knowledge is now available to the average person, and no longer an advantage of the elite, then what will set people apart?

I believe the difference will be seen in individual effort. Let me refine that just a bit. I believe those who master the skill of focused effort will obtain a competitive advantage. What is focused effort? Well, if you want to be a musician, it is the number of hours that you put into your craft daily. If you want to be a professional salesperson, it is a number of hours that you put into developing your product knowledge and sales presentation. Whatever your area of interest, it is your effort that will determine your success.

There are two conditions that must be met to succeed using this principle. The first is you must know exactly what it is that you want. If you do not know that, then you’re lost. What people want will vary person by person. It may be a better body, more money, more friends, or spiritual development. Your mind is like an empty field, it will return whatever you plant. So first, decide what type of crop you would like to cultivate and then plant those seeds.

The next step is to devote time to the attainment of your objective. Rest comfortably, knowing your obstacles are being removed by technology. For example, I wanted to learn the guitar. Guitar lessons were free and abundant all over the Internet. The only impediment to my success was the amount of effort I was willing to put into the project. I decided to put in 15 minutes a day; as a result, I can currently play around 20 songs. That took less than a month. However, with focused effort, I could have practiced several hours per day, and my learning curve would have been exponential. This is why I say focused effort is the currency of the future. Who will become a more accomplished guitarist?  Me, practicing 15- minutes per day, or a competitor who practices four hours a day? How long will it be before he is teaching me?

Right now, you have the ability to excel in whatever you do. Decide what you want out of life, and then use the blog post from a couple of days ago entitled "Where does the time go?" and give your objective as much time as you possibly can.

Last thoughts. Many people will say, "of course, this makes sense. It's obvious. Why is he wasting my time?" and yet, if you ask them what they truly want to accomplish in life, they can't tell you. If they haven't taken that first step, they have no shot at real success. Have you decided what you want? If so, have you tracked how many hours of effort you are putting into your craft. And by effort, I mean a focused and uninterrupted time commitment to the successful completion of your objective.

When it comes to getting or holding a job, remember, that anyone can obtain the knowledge necessary to acquire a position. The success the person has in that position now comes down to his ability to manage his own effort.

Just a thought,

Cliff

 

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