A Narrow Focus

March 06, 2014

Seemingly forever ago I wrote about how we’re only human and that we shouldn’t be expected to do everything. I argued that there is this invented, and unhealthy, pressure to produce.

I received a varied response to my post, but one has stood out to me over the months. One person who disagreed with me suggested that my opinion was essentially “a manifesto for mediocrity.” As if narrowing one’s focus was a mistake and a sure-fire path to never realizing success.

I could find plenty of examples in history that blow that theory out of the water but my intention with this post isn’t to be a direct response to that one comment but to reinforce my views from that other post and to look inward.

We can do one of two things. We either create or consume. That other post was about creation and the pressure to increase output. The same principle applies with consumption. I have a list as long as my arm of things I want to learn, and that is just related to the web.

I can’t learn them all at once though. No one would tell you that you could and no one should recommend that you try. But many of us do. I’ve been guilty of it myself for the last few years and haven’t gotten nearly as proficient in anything as much as I would like.

That is the path to mediocrity. Focusing on so many different things at one time and never getting anywhere with any of them. Many people like to state that they’re good at multitasking even though it has been proven that no one can actually do it and those that try are less effective.

Focus is an incredible habit and yet it is rarely exemplified. It’s easy to become distracted by other things, but getting off track doesn’t get us to the destination faster.

I encourage you to focus on something you really want to learn and give it most, if not all, of your attention. The other things will still be there when you’re ready (if they were any good to begin with) and I promise you won’t be mediocre either.

I have to continuously remind myself of the same. It’s a fast paced world filled with a lot of nonsense and lies. This is one that has managed to get to me and I’m hoping we can help each other to keep the course.