“We are all faced with a series of opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations” ~ Charles Swindoll.
As students or career people, there are times in our lives where all our efforts to succeed at a task we have invested so much in fails. There are also times when we only try something once or a few times, and it works out perfectly.
The question I ask myself is -what accounts for these successes or failures of our attempts?
Different people may point to different factors from their backgrounds. But I wonder what kept Thomas Edison going despite failure till he finally succeeded at inventing the light bulb after 1000 attempts. In my opinion, success like that of Edison is largely due to the power of focus, and I have discovered one smart technique we can all use to achieve our goals. I call it ‘feeding your focus’ and here are three steps to become a more focused person.
1. Identify your focus
Your focus is your destination and feeding it is a journey that will bring you ultimate success.
Your life can be broken down into areas like academics, careers, relationships, religion and others. For example, as a student, your main purpose for being in school is to excel at acquiring knowledge, skills and abilities, to solve issues in the world. If you are a professional, your task is to efficiently and effectively apply acquired skills, knowledge, and abilities, to solve enduring problems of society.
I was in a meeting with a business owner and one thing he told me was “Kobby, you always have to have the end in mind”. When I asked why he left his previous job to start his company, the answer I got was “Even before I started working, I always knew I wanted to do this, and I left because it was time to move on.”
To understand this point, let us consider a farmer. In every season, the farmer has many seeds to choose from, but she may decide to plant mango seeds this year, and something else next time. That is the same way individuals should identify a particular activity to be worked on at a given time. One book that explains this into details is Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life.
2. Build a positive mindset
Your focus should be treated as an individual who needs to be given food periodically. So once you identify your purpose, you can begin the feeding process. However, unlike the human body that receives nutrients like proteins and carbohydrates, our focus demands one major food which is a positive mindset.
Many of us feel our dreams are too big to be achieved in the environment we find ourselves, but one thing that I’ve come to realize is that your environment determines not if you will succeed, but rather what you need to do to succeed.
Unfortunately, some individuals think too little of themselves to the extent that their approach to life is full of negativity. If you are one of such people, I want to serve your focus with positivity today. Think positive, speak positive, surround yourself with positive people, and see negatives as lessons to overcome challenges. Every day, let your actions progressively take you closer to achieving your goals.
Remember what Thomas Edison said when he was asked how many times he failed before succeeding? He gave the answer I love so much; “I have not failed, I have just found 1000 ways that don’t work”. This is the level of positive mindset you should aim to develop.
3. Find the right resources
After identifying a focus, and developing a positive mindset, the next important step is to find and use resources like time, knowledge, money and other people.
Great ends are achieved in stages and each stage requires different kinds of food. Human beings take in a lot of milk at the childhood stage, but as we mature, we begin to take solid food. It is the same with focus because each individual must take certain actions based on their level of growth.
In the beginning, it is advised to feed your focus with the knowledge and skills you need to achieve your goals. My roommate Obed who dreams of becoming a Pilot in future spends some valuable amount of time seeking knowledge about the aviation industry. How does he do this? Whenever he gets access to the internet, he downloads the necessary books, videos and tutorials that will equip him before he even gets the opportunity to go to flight training school.
There are several examples of top achievers who started by providing their focus with the needed knowledge materials, before they started practicing, and finally became geniuses in their chosen fields. For example, Patrick Awuah of Ashesi University College indicated that before he started his school, he spent resources to acquire the necessary knowledge needed to run a tertiary institution that seeks to make a significant difference in Africa and the world. Today we can all testify to the outcome
As soon as the interest is discovered, an individual must spend time to read relevant materials on how to develop the interest area to its maximum potential. Continuous learning and development is the key.
So starting today, in whatever field you have fixed your eyes on, you should invest resources in acquiring the needed knowledge to excel in that area of focus.
I am also still in the process of feeding my focus, so let’s do this together.
How have you been feeding your focus recently? Pleas share in the comments below, and your experience could be featured in the next episode of this article. Thank you for reading this first episode.
Kobina Abaka-Kwansa is a highly motivated student of Central University College. He believes in challenges without limitations. Kobina is the founder of Reach Marketing Ghana, a company that undertakes Event marketing, Advertising and Branding and bulk SMS.