Whatever you’re trying to do in your life, relationships, or career right now, you must nurture the number one “secret” element most incredibly successful and highly productive individuals know and understand, namely focus and clarity.
Focus and clarity are crucial for every sort of achievement.
It is difficult hitting a target while blindfolded. It is doable but tough.
Hitting a target without knowing what the target is though is impossible.
You would have heard many times before that the secret to success is not necessarily genius, but persistence.
Persistence, grit, perseverance, not giving up or whatever you want to call it; the ability to keep going when everyone else quits will get you the result.
But, being consistent and staying on track is largely a result of being unambiguous about your life and purpose, i.e. having focus and clarity about where you’re heading.
And fortunately for us all, getting focus and clarity in life is actually pretty easy with a little daily effort.
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times:
Having focus and clear goals are critical.
Your brain is much more capable of finding solutions if the objective is obvious.
We tend to stay on track more easily if the end result we are aiming for is clear to us.
Conversely, if you don’t have a specific endpoint in mind, you could end up anywhere.
And even if you do land in the right place by sheer luck, how would you know you were there?
Ironically, most people I’ve met know that goals are critical, but few people actually have them.
Or, if they do have them, they tend to be the wrong goals (for them).
That is largely because you can go from kindergarten through university and never be taught about the tremendous power of focus and clarity and how to use that in your life to achieve the outcomes your desire.
Those who know what they want and know some form of a goal-setting process typically enormously outperform those who don’t.
It is not sheer luck that some people are more successful than others while others are victims of some kind (exceptions do exist!).
I know that is what society nowadays loves to think and perpetuate in the media (especially the notion of victimhood), but it’s simply not always true.
Certain individuals outperform others not because they are smarter or more capable (although this is true in some instances, e.g. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs), but because they have mastered certain critical success concepts, such as setting clear goals and enduring (e.g. Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump).
Whatever your personal opinions of some of them are.
The truth of the matter is, however, that for a large part of the modern world today, the power of focus and clarity, and information on how to tap into that is available to anyone who is willing to learn.
Just open a book on goal-setting or success, and you’re bound to learn something that will benefit you.
Even simpler….use Google or YouTube.
Now, another issue with setting goals is the fear of making a mistake.
But the truth is that doing the wrong thing is almost always better than doing nothing.
Differently put, in regards to achieving your goals, some action is almost always better than inaction.
Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
At least if you choose the wrong path, you end up with some results you can evaluate.
You’ve learned something. That’s better than not having any result to evaluate at all. The truth is you can always do something else. But, if you do nothing, you end up with nothing.
As Teddy Roosevelt put it,
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.Teddy Roosevelt
Many people also confuse having a direction with having a goal.
- “I want to make more money” is not a goal. “I want to make an extra $50,000 in the next 365 days” is.
- East is a direction. The tip of the Sky Tower in Auckland is a specific destination.
So how can you be sure you’re setting effective goals and tapping into the power of focus and clarity?
Two principles of focus and clarity
Goals should have a yes/no quality to them.
If someone asked you if you’d reached your goal, you should always be able to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without any doubt.
That means that your goals have to be measurable and specific.
A good goal would be, “I want to earn $10,000 by 1 August 2017.”
The amount is specific, and there is a deadline. It is also measurable.
Your intentions are written down.
According to a study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write down their goals.
There’s a magical experience around writing something down.
We think thousands of different things every day (50-70,000 thoughts per day) that stuff tends to get lost.
Writing your goal provides some separation from all the other things you have going on.
It provides relevance.
Writing your goals also gives you other options that mere daydreaming does not.
You can actually read your goal aloud. Thinking is good, but thinking and reading are better.
Better still is thinking, reading, and writing.
Read and write your goal every day.
This practice helps to reinforce and solidify your intentions.
At the end of the day, having focus and clarity is a choice.
The default condition is to live your life without focus and clarity, to simply wake up and see what the day brings.
To have focus and clarity means that, to a large extent, you’ve already decided what you’re going to do that day.
When you know where you want to end up, you’ll easily figure out which direction to go.
Another potential roadblock is to avoid making a choice because you want to keep your options open.
But what’s the real result of this decision?
If you always keep your options open, you’ll never choose any direction in your life.
You’ll merely be part of everyone else’s goals.
As the old saying goes,
Unless you’re working on your own goals, you’ll be working on someone else’s.
Focus and clarity are critical to living your life on purpose, and it requires a daily decision.
Implement the ideas above and see how much clarity you can get.
With each day, you’ll get closer to the life you desire.
Please, leave your comments and questions below.