Over the years, I have made it a point to try to clarify important concepts in my mind. Many times, a word or concept has no meaning to me until it takes on some sort of picture, or example, or illustration. When I do not understand something, it frustrates me to the point that I have to do further research or study on it until it becomes clear. Then, after it does become clear, I can use that understanding in my own life, and I can teach a seminar on it! This is one of those types of concepts.
A lot has been said in recent years about the fact that we need to be more focused and intentional in our lives. In business, broken focus can mean the difference between success and failure. Focus means that we give our time and undivided attention to another person, project or a situation. But what does focus look like? How can you tell how focused you really are?
I believe that a focused person is one who is proactive and responsive. By proactive I mean that they do not wait until situations happen, but rather, they look ahead to see what possibly could happen in order to be prepared. To be responsive means that you are a person who takes action. You don’t sit around and wait until someone tells you what to do; you look to see what needs to be done. You personally take the initiative to get started, or at least begin planning what you are going to do, immediately. Being focused all boils down to being proactive and responsive.
Let’s look at the flip side of that. What does it mean to be unfocused? A person who is unfocused tends to be reactive and pushy. Because they often wait until the last minute to do things, they leave themselves little choice but to react to whatever situation comes along. Sometimes that is displayed in an angry outburst or a negative attitude. Having spent no time planning and thinking ahead, they have to live their life in a reactive mode.
That leads to being pushy. An unfocused person finds it necessary to push others to get their own way because they have no margin in their life. They seem to think that their lack of planning should constitute an emergency for other people. That kind of attitude is not well received because no one likes to be pushed! It is easy to spot a life that is unfocused by watching for those two attitudes.
This is a very simple test that we can give ourselves in any particular project. If we are focused, we will be proactive and responsive. If we are unfocused, we will be reactive and pushy. It is just that simple.
Recently I was in a theme park with some other people. I saw a teenage boy walk by who had on a t-shirt with something written on the front of it. I love reading t-shirts because I often find them to be humorous. As he passed me, I saw the words, “I have no idea what is going on!” I thought it was funny and my mind drifted back to when I was a teenager. Many times, I had no idea what was going on either! But then I began to think about the fact that those words perfectly describe what it means to be unfocused. A person who has no idea what is going on will have to live their life in a reactive and pushy mode. I know that the teenage boy will grow past his immaturity. At least, I hope that he does! But that is no way to live a successful life.
On the other hand, not long ago I saw a book by Dr. David Jeremiah, entitled, What in the World Is Going On? Dr. Jeremiah is a pastor in California. In his book, he has taken the time to explain in great detail what he thinks is taking place in our world today. He has done his research and carefully reveals where he thinks we are in regard to world events. He is very focused on what he believes and teaches. In other words, he is proactive and responsive in his philosophy and attitude towards life.
Although these are two extremes, I suppose all of us fall somewhere in the spectrum between these two concepts. I don’t know about you, but I certainly want to be closer to the focused side, than the unfocused side. I have found that if I live my life by simply being proactive and responsive, everything seems to go much more smoothly.
If you were going out today to purchase a t-shirt, I hope it wouldn’t say, “I have no idea what is going on!” I recommend that you look for some answers in your own life about what is going on with you!
Life is too short to be a wandering generality. The more specific and focused we are, the better off we will be! Don’t you agree?
Tip: There is a way to tell how focused you really are!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm