Diego Maradona is arguably one of the greatest football stars to ever grace the football pitch. So much so that years after retiring from the sport, his name is still revered in the football fraternity and the reigning football stars are usually measured against him. During training sessions, fans would line up the pitch to watch him do what he does best. In one of the training sessions, Maradona repeatedly hit the goal post.
The fans, who had come to watch him score goals, started murmuring in displeasure. It was when Maradona had hit the goal post so many times without missing that the fans understood what he was doing. Admittedly, it is harder to hit the goal post than to score a goal and for Maradona to do that, it was a testament that he was a master at the game. This is a perfect example of what one can achieve through focus. All it took for Maradona was to focus on the goal post, as thin as it was, and shoot the ball.
The year is still young and the resolutions that we made for 2016 are in their infant stages of implementation. We tell you to focus on your goals this year and avoid detours as much as you can because achieving your goals and focus are as linked as the chicken and egg. Without the egg,
there is no chicken and without the chicken, there is no egg. For sure, you cannot achieve whatever goals you have set without focussing on them and without focus, you would not have set the goals in the first place.
Focus is usually placed on a high pedestal together with self-discipline, motivation and sheer willpower – ingredients that are key to success. We live in a world with too many distractions and it is easy to get lost in the hullaballoo. How many times have you sat in a meeting or classroom and your mind wanders off to the things you need to do? Or how many times have you sat down to do some serious work on your computer only for you to log into social media and realise hours later you haven’t done what you were supposed to do? When you deliberately focus on the task at hand, such incidences will be a thing of the past.
How then can we reclaim this lost virtue? Let’s start by keeping our feet on the ground – not concentrating so much on the outcome (daydreaming about the success) but on the process (what needs to be done to achieve a goal). You probably have a to-do list in your mind everyday when you wake up in the morning.
Sometimes the tasks are so many that you don’t even feel like waking up. But all you need to do is to rearrange the tasks from the most urgent to the least urgent. Once you have done that, do one task at a time and give it the attention it deserves. It is said that the shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.
The same applies with our goals; one goal at a time. If your goal is to build a house or buy a car or going back to school this year, arrange them in order of priority and focus on one at a time; unless of course you come across a financial windfall where you will be able to achieve all of them at the same time.
The take home message is this: learn to be in control of your attention so that you can direct it where it needs to be. Set your priorities right and focus on what needs to be done.
Published in February 2016