Sunday, April 10, 2016

Focus on Today for Success Next Year

#1: Reduce Distractions

We always look for what we can add to our lives when we are trying to make improvements. How often do we think about what’s going to need to be cut out of our lives so we can achieve success?
“We become our habits.”
We all look forward to our future and want to create more value for ourselves and for our children. If one watches the news (I don’t) or pays attention to the culture around us (I do but I don’t let it define me), we can grow complacent with our dreams. It can become easy to believe that we will never have what it takes to become successful. Being well-connected, having ample finances to fund our business growth, or top-tier education may seem crucial for reaching success in business. However, anything that we are looking to achieve can be gained through smart development of our skills and going out of our comfort zone. We can become well-connected and meet new people. We can develop trust and reputation in our communities, both local and online.
You can design your future by taking action in the present. -Andrew Carpenter
If we fill our days with senseless acts of consumerism, we are simply going to be entertaining ourselves. That’s not to say that we can never watch television shows. It’s not even so much about the impact cognitively or financially, although those are factors to consider. It’s the time that really matters here. Rather than looking at how we can cram more into our days, why not look at how we can re-position our schedules, build new habits, and become as comfortable as possible with doing what we need to succeed?

A person that begins going to the gym or running is probably not going to enjoy it as much the first day as they will on the hundredth day if they stick with it. Once they start seeing their progress and getting into shape, you’re naturally going to want to continue the exercise. We need to start looking at our business pursuits more like a practice or an exercise than a set goal that we are trying to achieve. Big wins don’t come in one fell swoop. Large bears do not go down with one shot. And basketball games aren’t one with one shot either. These things take momentum and consistency.

It’s time that we start looking at what we can remove from our attitudes and from our days.

We can either use the things we need to develop as excuses for why we can’t grow our wealth and success or we can use them as guidelines for how we will develop ourselves until we reach our mission. Once you’re on the launchpad of success, you may see delays but you are still going to take off.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always a result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. -Paul J. Meyer

Most of life is preparation. We are constantly positioning ourselves and conditioning ourselves. We are working with our inner potentials for creativity and possibility. A lot of what’s necessary for success is gained through practice and developing habits through self-discipline. We must learn to manage ourselves and our time.
I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky. -Oprah Winfrey
#2 Look and Move Forward with Full Responsibility for my Attention, Thoughts, and Actions.

There is a big difference between being busy and being productive. The balance between practicing our craft and just simply being busy without being productive is not always clear. I just know that you can feel when you are putting your heart into the process and you have clearly-defined goals about how you want your business to improve your and others’ lives.

It’s great to have goals and benchmark our progress towards our goals — long and short-term. I think it’s important to have several weekly and daily goals that we can be sure we accomplish so we can make sure we’re on track with our overall process.

Having these daily micro-goals and weekly short-term goals helps us develop daily rituals and processes that keep us on track. When you focus on the actual action and detail of your everyday work, you’ll be able to focus on the little micro-gears in the machine of your success. This is vital because you need to be able to tune and tweak this process based on short-term feedback loops. Whether you’re practicing writing everyday or designing webpages or drawing, as you hone your skills, you’ll find ways to increase the quality of your work.

The present moment is where focus happens.

Focus is probably the hardest thing to get right for creatives. It’s a unique combination of attention that you hold in place and a flow of action known as a flow-state. It’s the secret behind every great creative person or athlete. It’s about being in the moment and present with the work you’re doing. You can see the pieces coming together and yet you’re able to hold your focus so you don’t become distracted or overwhelmed by the large amounts of data coming through your conscious awareness.

Tell yourself:
Focus is like a muscle and each day, as I focus, I will become able to have laser-like focus.
One thing I’ve learned helps is to focus on doing the important things earlier in the day and revisit it everyday if it’s a daily practice. You can also revisit it each day later in the afternoon or evening but I think it’s important that make sure to channel your attention and focus early in the day so you start the day with a good habit/practice. Otherwise you’re just setting the day up for ‘whatever happens happens.’

Everything you do in the morning sets the context for the rest of the day.
Usually the important things are the things that make you feel uncomfortable.
Getting into a flow-state can feel good but since it requires us to make some internal mental and emotional investments in the present moment, that can feel a bit uncomfortable if we’re not used to it.

The Present Moment is where Focus happens.

Ask yourself: “If I could do only one thing, which task WOULD I choose?”

Make a conscious decision (and a daily habit) to block out at least 2 hours each calendar day to do the 1 Critical task. (no interruptions)

Effective Goal Setting:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-Oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time-Stamped
Your goals should not be the focus. Doing the goal should be the focus.

Be a synthesizer. ‘Synthesize’ is defined as: “ combine (a number of things) into a coherent whole.” Sometimes people expect a great sound to come from the machine right away without first developing the individual tunes and then working everyday to find a process of recombining them and perfecting the effects.

Success is about all the little layers and parts that get stacked and mixed on top of each other.

#3. Perception Creates your Reality

It may sound counter-intuitive to someone that wants to ‘change the world’ or ‘make it big in business’ but it’s actually important to foster a state of gratitude and contentment in some form and fashion in our current life. If we’re constantly looking outside of ourselves, even if it’s at our future, without building a successful mindset and emotional state in our present attitude, then it’s like we’re telling ourselves that we’re not yet good enough to make these achievements. Or if we are looking at these far-off goals without developing the daily practices and rituals that will build-up into bigger successes and wins, it’s like we’re trying to reinvent a wheel without spokes or create a clock without gears. We can’t forget about the small inner pieces hidden behind the scenes of success.

Success is a state of mind.

How to Improve your state:
  • Smile
  • Water
  • Exercise
  • Gratitude
  • Sunlight
  • Journal
  • Envision positive inward motivation
  • Start with the most uncomfortable task
If you want to truly change the results you are getting, you have to break out of old mental routines and old habits that aren’t serving you and aren’t serving others. The beautiful thing about making micro-goals and daily practices an important part of your creative or professional lifestyle is that you are able to see the fruits of your effort each and everyday and that is its own reward. Even if you don’t immediately see monetary results or increased connections with people, you are gaining valuable insights into how you work, the art of your profession, and your gaining the valuable experience you’re going to need for your success.

Keep your eye on today. Keep your eye on the mirror. Keep your mind on the inward things. You do want to look for results outwardly but those are not always the most motivating for increasing the quality of your output. If you really want to be motivated, you need to develop daily practices. Motivation is based on habit and so you may have to tweak your “why.” Winning today leads to the championship competition later. You can think about the championship but focus on today’s game.

Random fact: The word “mind” connotes “to pay attention to.” You could be highly-educated, intelligent, and creative but if you cannot pay attention then your results and interactions are going to be analogous to looking at a computer’s output through a projector with a mis-adjusted focus.

If you can’t see all that beautiful data and creativity to its fruition, what benefit does it have for you or anybody else? External focus is often connected with inward focus as well…everything in our mind will potentially connect more accurately and completely if we are teaching ourselves to use Dopamine (the reward neurotransmitter) to be tied into the everyday activities that actually build the foundations for our success.

You see — everybody’s capable of greatness. We can adapt and improve ourselves and accomplish so much if we put our mind to the task. Typically those who fail did not reach their goals because they were trying to do too many things at once. Creating something original requires original focus.

Your vision for the future is nothing without a vision for today.

Cheers to Optimization!!

If you would like to see more of my work, you can visit my Optimal Human Performance site at