What we focus on in life determines our outcomes. When we devote focus to one specific thing, it helps us eliminate distractions.
Generally, it is excellent advice to stay focused and committed. Great results come from dedicating ourselves to our craft. You can see this at work with the most successful leaders, athletes, entrepreneurs, etc.
However, determine where our focus goes to is difficult. How can we decide what goals are important, and what goals are not?
We always have a myriad of options in front of us. There are millions of things we could be doing today. There are opportunity costs associated with doing one thing over another. How can we determine where our energy and attention flow?
While every situation is specific to the person, I can share advice based on everything I've learned.
Find Something That Comes Easily to You
My first brush with business is similar to most budding entrepreneurs. When I built my first product, I had no idea how to run a business. I knew how to code, which helped me a lot in creating software. But I had no idea how to build distribution. I didn't realize how important marketing was to the equation. Due to my lack of know-how, I made a lot of mistakes and ruined a chance to create something noteworthy.
In short, I was clueless about running a successful business.
During my time in business limbo, I got a good piece of advice:
"Find something that comes easily to you, makes money, and then double-down on it."
This piece of advice helped me open up my eyes to experimenting until something clicked. It helped me see things as a fun challenge again. I realized the importance of combining knowledge and execution to make ideas into reality.
During this time, I'd do some freelance work to scrape by, and then focus on the business at hand. I found out that you can build a profitable company just by creating helpful content online. This knowledge gave me clarity and direction. I started taking classes, doing research, and executing on what I learned. Eventually, the Internet bore fruit for my business. Today, my businesses reach thousands of people every day through online content.
What I learned about focus is that you need to experiment to find what comes most easily to you. Once you find the things that get you excited, start setting yourself up for success. It's much easier to focus on something that you enjoy than struggling with doing things you hate.
Determining What to Focus on
If you are ready to try new things, the next question is: "How do I know what to focus on?"
The best advice I can give is to write down a list of the top thirty life goals most important to you. Once you've got this list, slash out twenty-five and focus on the top five items. Avoid the twenty things you crossed off at all costs until you've accomplished the top five. Don't overwhelm yourself with too many distractions.
Focus is so important. It is the difference-maker between success and failure. To determine if you are making good progress, you can use quantitative measures to gauge success. These measures are key performance indicators (KPIs) in your life.
Here are some examples to help you set your goals:
If you are building strength
- Track what you are doing in your workouts.
- Track what you are eating.
- Track your performance week after week.
If you are running long-distance:
- Track the distance and time of each workout.
- Track the splits between miles / KMs.
- Track your weight and your diet.
If you are running a business:
- Track how your marketing and promotional efforts are converting.
- Track how many people come to your website and how many become a paying customer.
- Track how your profits/revenues change monthly and yearly.
When you focus on these measures, you can see how you are performing at any given moment. You can make executive decisions based on what the numbers are right now.
Increasing Your Output
Now you have determined the big goals that you are passionate about and gives you decent returns, start doubling down on them. Commitment is the key to accomplishing your big goals.
The grind is where you will spend the majority of our time. Now it's just up to you to work hard. Keep working even when it's not easy. Stay consistent, and create a massive volume of work. Fall in love with the journey, and don't give up half-way through.
You will learn through repetition to understand the fundamentals of the task. You will learn what it means to achieve success once you have put in the work for yourself. Don't stop even if it takes you years to get to your destination. Learn to bridge the gap until you have achieved prominence.
Here are some examples of what it takes to grind to your goals:
How do you become a software engineer?
You will write algorithm after algorithm, trying different combinations until the code works. You will work in front of your computer looking at your lousy code until it starts getting better. You will need to study people's code and see amazing products to develop a deep understanding of software engineering.
How do you become a better runner?
You will be out of breath. You will be exhausted running your first mile. But after you found your stride and got the right form, running will start feeling more comfortable. One day you will be able to run 10 miles without feeling depleted.
Want to build a fantastic business?
You will need to fail at specific marketing strategies, fail a couple of customers until you get the formula right. Once you found out what your customers love, you will develop a sixth sense about what works.
Focus on What Matters
Life breaks down into a series of decisions you make. Everyone wants to focus on the right thing. But there is no correct answer to what that "right thing" is for anyone. There is no recipe for the perfect life. But at the end of the day, you should make the best decisions for you.
The journey starts with a single step. You will fail at a lot of different things on the way towards what works for you. But once you discover your secret formula, you can invest fully into becoming great at it. Life is too short for committing to everything. But it's just long enough to be great at a couple of things.