Success and excellence have far more to do with what you choose NOT to do, then what you actually need to do. We live in an exciting world with unlimited opportunities so most of us want EVERYTHING life has to offer. Unfortunately, wanting everything often means being mediocre at many things rather than being excellent and world class in one area. Success is directly related to the effort and perseverance in ONE, and only one, direction. The alternative is mediocrity and obscurity.
Why Success is So Illusive
The two primary obstacles to success are having no goals or having too many goals. If you have no goals, don’t be surprised if you don’t accomplish any of the vague dreams you think about from time to time. However, for most people, the problem is having too many goals. Many of us want to go back to school AND write a book AND start a business AND change careers AND become the top salesperson in our company AND make a living doing the art we loved when we were younger AND travel the world, etc. If you are like me, than you probably have far too many “AND”s in your life.
There is nothing wrong with having many goals, except for the fact that if you try to go for ALL of your dreams, you will likely accomplish NONE of them. What is the number one passion in your life? What gives you the greatest joy? And importantly, why do you want to accomplish that goal? Is it to please someone else, or is it really what you want for yourself?
The Enemy of Achievement: “AND”
I am working on 5 websites now. AND I am trying to run and workout regularly. AND I try to play guitar every day. AND I attempt to study Japanese a little every day. AND I am trying to learn Flash animation software. AND I have been slowly working on two different books for the last decade. AND there are probably many more things that I occasionally distract myself with but can’t remember right now. I know I am doing too many things, but these are all projects that are important to me to various degrees. I completely realize that I have been spreading myself too thin, yet I still haven’t really managed to extricate myself from any of these commitments.
I have made some progress with my efforts. I have several talented and reliable outsourced workers to assist with various projects so I am moving ahead faster than if I tried to do everything myself. Also, I have been able to cut down my work hours to less than 30 hours a week. Once my English school is sold, I will have an extra 30 hours a week to devote to these projects so even more progress will be possible. However, there are still too many ANDs in my life. Sometimes I dream about what I could accomplish if I were able to focus 20 or 30 hours a week to only one project or personal goal. Where would I be if I played guitar for 30 hours a week for the last 20 years? How many books could I have written and published if I wrote for a couple dozen hours every week? I could be fluent in several languages if I had the focus to spend 10 or 15 hours studying every week. My ANDs are killing me.
Parenting- The Ultimate Focus
I know many parents who spend phenomenal amounts of time and energy on their children. I amazed with their generosity and patience. That is the way it should be! If you choose to bring a child into the world, you should do your utmost to ensure they have the best encouragement and loving environment you can provide. These parents are gladly sacrificing their own personal career dreams to build a quality family environment. Kudos to them! This is personal and career sacrifice in exchange for a quality family life. They are focusing on what matters to them most.
What is your ONE?
What is the one goal that you want more than anything else? What do you want to accomplish more than anything in the world? What goal would you like everyone to know about you? What achievement would you like to have written on your tombstone? You can’t be everything to everyone.
Look at any successful athlete, musician, politician or business person and you will undoubtedly see a focused dedication to a single life direction. That momentum is unstoppable. I still have some work to clear out my to-do list of dreams and goals. What are you willing NOT to do to make sure your primary life focus is achieved?