You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks. – Winston Churchill.
When I was a child, a friend of mine and I were sitting on the front steps of his house, talking about what would be the most awesome basketball game ever: the NY Knicks versus the Harlem Globetrotters. His conversation was distant and drawn out, almost as if he wasn’t paying me any attention. I let it slip, because if he was looking at the nice looking girls walking by like I was, it was okay. It’s what little guys that haven’t developed their rap yet do. Suddenly, I felt a sharp burning sensation on my hand. I yelled “ouch,” and looked down. There was a circle about the size of the tip of a pen smoldering. I looked at him. He was sitting there laughing at me and my pain, and, he was hiding something behind his back. I jumped up, tackled him, wrestled him onto his stomach, and pulled the object he was hiding from me out of his hands.
It was a magnifying glass. I had never seen a real live magnifying glass before. I asked him where he got it. He said he stole it out of his grandmother’s giant pocketbook. “How do you use it?” I asked. He snatched it from my hand and led me to a stack of dry leaves piled up next to the side of his house. He held the magnifying glass over the leaves until there was a small dot of concentrated light on one leave. In moments, the light burnt a hole in the leave, and ashes fell to the lower leaves. “Cool,” I said, and then I snatched the magnifying glass out of his hand, ran over to big rock under a nearby wisteria tree, and kicked it over. There was a tiny ecosystem of earth worms, roly-poly’s and beetles, all waiting to be tortured. We looked at them and began experimenting. We learned a lot about focused energy that summer. It wasn’t until many years later that I experienced my next situation with concentrated energy. I was the point of focus on the business end of a policeman’s LIDAR radar gun. I told you like fast cars. Anyway, the power of focus is quite useful. What I have just talked about was more on the physical science aspect of the world. I want to talk about it in the psychological realm. It’s called mental focus. It’s an important tool to have in your toolbox when you’re chasing down a goal or a dream. Many people do not accomplish much when the set out to do something. Do you know why? Of course, there are a number of reasons why, but the one that’s on my radar right now is this: Too many people confuse activity with accomplishment. One of Rodney Dangerfield’s Jokes goes as such: “I’m taking Viagra and drinking prune juice, I don’t know it I’m coming or going.” His efforts aren’t focused on accomplishing anything. He’s just busy. You’ve seen then in the mall. They are the one who are doing a speed walk while they are eating fries. That’s activity without accomplishment. How many of us answer every phone call that comes in so we don’t have to deal with the unpleasant task that lies before us. Some of us wash the car instead of outlining our book or upcoming speech. Some of us volunteer to clean the toilet instead of planning the next day’s activity, and we NEVER volunteer to clean the toilet. Some of us sit in the office and organize our books and tapes instead of making cold calls. I fight against it too. We all have the tendency to be busy about nothing, and it can be a problem.
Before we deal with mental focus, let’s define it. I would say mental focus is aligning yourself up with a single purpose for a defined duration. Mental focus can also be defined as harnessing your physical and mental energy on a single point of attention, just like a magnifying glass does to the sunlight. An unfocused mind is a diluted mind and winners can’t afford to carry one of those around. Here are four ways to combat the diluted mind.
First, decide what it is that you are trying to achieve, your goal. This is called identifying your target. In other words, it is aiming the gun called your mind. How can you hit something that you can’t identify as the thing to hit? Identify it, mentally focus your attention on it, and then use your energy to accomplish it. You attract in your life what you pay attention to.
Second, omit the distractions. Winston Churchill’s quote about a journey to success sums this idea up. If you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks, you’ll never get there. The distracting phone calls and allowing things to pull you in every direction instead of the one you wish to go delays the completion of the task.
Third, harness your energy. Eliminating distractions and using your energy to do what you set out to do will work wonders and is necessary for you to harness your energy. You give your task your mental attention and your physical energy and noting else until you’ve met your goal.
Forth, realize the law of sacrifice is at work. I think people negotiate over this one without realizing they are negotiating with it. Negotiation is done like this. You have five hours free time. Will you spend it at happy hour? Winners will spend it working on their dream or some other necessary aspect of their life. The others will inherit the wind as they piss down the toilet the money they traded blood, sweat, and tears for. You see, you must give up something to get something else. This law is related to the law of sewing and reaping (Seed, Time, and Harvest). They are God’s laws and they’ll work for anybody that’ll work them. God proved it when he gave the life of his son so that we all may have life everlasting and total prosperity. There is a lot of people that believe in Christ today.
All of these strategies are to be used with wisdom and balance in your life. If you’re a big business man closing the big deal and your child or spouse walks into your office literally holding their detached left hand in their right hand, it’s time to put the project down and tend to the problem, if your priorities line up that way. As always, lose your mind and go after what you want. Don’t worry about those that don’t understand you. Somebody is always going to think you are crazy anyway. You might as well be crazy and get what you want.