According to Daniel Goleman, “focus” is the hidden ingredient in excellence — “hidden” because we typically ignore it. This happened when we got caught up in our fears and anxieties. The ability to block these distractions is, therefore, essential for success. It is important to note that the more focused we are on finishing our race, the more successful we can be. Conversely, the more distracted we are, the less we achieve.
“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.” — Proverbs 4:25
Here’s how to F.O.C.U.S.:
F: Find a Favorable Goal
Goals take us forward in life; they are the oxygen to our dreams. We may do well to follow Stephen Covey‘s advice by beginning with the end in mind. Having a clear, compelling goal mobilizes our focus toward actionable behavior. It is critical to be able to measure our progress. Remember, we can’t manage what we don’t measure and improve what we don’t manage.
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.” — Proverbs 21:5
O: Ooze Optimism
Staying positive about oneself certainly wouldn’t hurt. Research reveals that positive thinking is more than happiness or an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can create real value in our lives and help us build skills that last much longer than a smile.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lively, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” — Philippians 4:8
C: Chart the Course
One of the skills necessary for success is the ability to chart a course and work through it. To do so, it is imperative first to know where we are, where we want to go, and the plan(s) for getting there. The more we know about ourselves, our dreams, and our desires, the more accurately we can envision our future and the goals we will need to meet to take us there.
“Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself, and after that build your house.” — Proverbs 24:27
U: Unwavering in Unsuccessful Attempts
To finish first, first, you have to finish. Either commit to something or we don’t; there is no in-between. I found this quote by James E. Womack, a professor at Texas A&M University, intriguing – “Commitment unlocks the doors of imagination, allows vision, and gives us the ‘right stuff’ to turn our dreams into reality.” A committed person is an unwavering person. The opposite is true, too – “a double-minded man is unstable in all he undertakes.” — James 1:8. To be unwavering is to muster all the strength inside of us to fight on whenever things don’t turn out the way we want them to be.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own.” — Philippians 3:12
S: Small Steps Lead to a BIG Difference
Success is about the little things, as it is about the big stuff. It is natural to seek the easy steps that will propel us forward, but there are many important lessons to learn from each small step that we take. So be patient with the process, as the most significant discoveries in the history of this world often start with a small step.
“And though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great.” — Job 8:7
“A goal is a dream with a finish line.” — Duke Ellington
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