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What You Focus on Expands

As a young leader, I’d be lost without my books. I once heard it said that experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. Well, I’m doing my best to shorten the learning curve by mastering the best of what other people have already figured out, presumably from the pain of not getting what they wanted. One of the things I’ve learned is that what you focus on expands and there are tradeoffs.

Sir Isaac Newton famously said: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” By reading, we can draw on the collective wisdom of the world throughout time. Although there is a lot of junk that’s been written, and we need to get through all the noise. Reading takes time, so I want to make sure that what I read is worthwhile. One shortcut I take is that I rarely read anything new, I want a book to be tested by time and make it out the other side.

Even then, I must ask myself: how do I know what I’m reading is true? To answer this question, I read far and wide and when I see something show up across authors from different disciplines (business, science, religion, philosophy, etc.) and across time, I give it a higher believability factor.

I keep running into the ideas of focus and tradeoffs for achieving great objectives:

“You can have anything you want in life, but not everything. Maturity is the ability to reject good alternatives in order to pursue even better ones.”

  • Ray Dalio, Founder and CEO of Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund in the world

“All things are possible for one who believes” and “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”

  • Mark 9:23 and Proverbs 4:25

"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”

  • Steve Jobs

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

  • Robert McKeown, NY Times Bestselling Author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

“To achieve service excellence, you must underperform in strategic ways. This means delivering on the service dimensions your customers value most, and then making it possible—profitable and sustainable—by performing poorly on the dimensions they value least. In other words, you must be bad in the service of good.”

  • Frances Frei, Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business

In the classic book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says: “You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your environment. You can make your life what you want it to be. The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge. Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.”

The bottom line is this: To achieve what we want out of life and business, we must focus, accept tradeoffs and keep learning.



Photo by Janko Ferlic from Pexels

The opinions expressed in this post are the sole view of the writer and do not reflect the opinion of Princeton Mortgage Corporation.

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