10 May 2013

Learning to Focus on What's Most Important

The older we get the more motivation we should have to focus on doing a few things well, instead of doing many things with mediocrity. My brother and I were having a conversation the other day and we realized that, for most of our lives, we have tried to do a lot of different things. The result is that we have a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things. There is an appeal to being a sort of "renaissance man" who can talk about any subject knowledgeably and dabble in all kinds of professions. But it's hard to do any one thing with excellence when you're all spread out doing a lot of things.

In the early stages of life it's normal to experiment to find the kinds of things you enjoy. Doing a lot of different things while you have the time and the ability is a good way to sort through the things you absolutely know you don't want to do. It's also a great way to discover new things. Eventually, you need to pick a few things and start investing a lot of time and effort into them. If you do well in one, it may actually provide you with the kind of leisure time you need to do other things.

Wisdom dictates that those things should be profitable and beneficial to yourself and others. We all know people who have decided to invest in playing video games or watching television all day. Unless you're going to be a video game programmer or screenwriter, there's probably not much of a future in playing games or sitting on your couch for 10 hours a day. Science and statistics also prove that you'll die sooner than the rest of us.

There is only so much time in the day. It may be both inspiring and discouraging to realize that all of the wealthiest and most accomplished people in the world have the same amount of time in a day as you do. The difference is in how we use our time.

Many of us have adopted a consumer mindset that enslaves us to those who have an entrepreneurial mindset. We settle for doing things we don't enjoy because we've believed an idea about life, which says we sometimes need to do things we don't like out of mere obligation. A lot of people end up working jobs they hate so they can get just enough money to spend on the things they really enjoy. Why not do what you really enjoy for work and make just enough to have the basic things you need? So many of the things we work hard to maintain are fading fast and will only lead us to become bitter, complaining people when they're gone. Find and focus on what's most important. In the end, it's actually the people and the relationships you have with them that are the most important. Assess the current condition of your relationships and you will quickly realize there are a lot of other things you can gladly do without.

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