Replace Uncertainty with Unbroken Focus
Welcome back for the final installment of our 6 part series, Reset and Replace.
A reminder of our premise: Most people don’t accomplish the goals they have in life because of their own self imposed limitations. Mostly likely, YOU are the one thing holding you back from all the success you want in life.
Last week, we talked about replacing Apathy with Appreciation. For our final week in this series, let’s talk about some next level mindset that can truly move you forward:
Replace Uncertainty with Unbroken Focus
When I’m talking about uncertainty, the issue is simple: most people spend this week remaking the same decision they made last week.
I’m going to say that again, not sure if you caught it.
Most people spend their time making the same decision over and over and over again. So they have no actual certainty in their lives.
Their tune is familiar: “I’m going to move on! Yep! I’m going to move on! This is the time! I’m not even drawing a line in the sand, I’m drawing a line in the concrete! It’s changing. Right now!”
You make all these huge claims, and then you just do the same stuff you’ve been doing the whole time. You’re remaking the same decision, remaking the same decision, over and over and over again. You say you’re going to keep your focus, you’re not going to get distracted by a fancy job opportunity that has nothing to do with where you actually want to be in life. You say you’re not going to get caught up with the relationships in your life that don’t support you. But then another opportunity pops up, and that one looks pretty good, and this thing over here looks good too. You decide to go do this, go buy that, and none of it is necessarily bad, it just takes your focus away from what you said you wanted most.
You make a big decision, but then 3 weeks later you have the same mental dilemma, which tells me this: YOU DIDN’T ACTUALLY MAKE THE DECISION. And if you don’t recognize that, you’ll just keep fighting the same battles and never actually move on. You’ll spend all your time making the same decision over and over and over again. And you’re faking yourself out!
Here’s the reality: the tell tale sign of a REAL decision is a change in ACTION. Are you doing something? Are you operating differently than you were before you made this decision? And if you’re not, you didn’t actually make a decision. Maybe you said something to someone, maybe you feel better about where you’re going, but you didn’t actually make a decision until your ACTIONS prove it. And until then, you continue to live in uncertainty.
Uncertainty is like driving through a fog. You’re technically still moving, but you will never go very fast. Uncertainty limits your ability to run at the level you want in life. At best, it slows you down, and at worst, it stops you completely. If the fog is too bad, some people will pull over. But once conditions clear up, you can go 90mph without batting an eye. Why? Because certainty allows you to focus.
Focus is simply understanding what you’re trying to accomplish in this season of your life, and - here’s the kicker - acting accordingly. When you truly understand your priorities, other distractions tend to melt away.
A couple years ago, I was invited to play in a baseball game. I was excited about the invite, but I hadn’t played baseball since about the 5th grade. I was going to be playing in front of 1000+ people, and I really didn’t want to embarrass myself. So what happened? Baseball became a priority for that short season.
For the 3 weeks leading up to the game, I was taking all of my extra time to practice baseball. I was at the batting cages, I was putting together pickup games, I was taking advice from people who knew what they were talking about. I was doing whatever I could to make sure I would show up ready to play. And it worked! I hit a single and a triple in that game, and I made a decent showing at 1st base. But it was all because of my unbroken focus for that 3 week time frame.
There’s a pretty famous picture of Olympic swimmers Micahel Phelps and Chad Le Clos from the 2016 Olympic 200m Butterfly event. They were fighting for the gold medal, and Le Clos had won four years prior. But the picture is quite telling: Phelps is looking at the finish line, focused on winning, and Le Clos is looking at Phelps. Phelps took home the gold that day, and Le Clos didn’t even end up on the medal stand. Why? Unbroken focus.
If I can figure out being a semi-decent baseball player in 3 weeks, and Michael Phelps can win a gold medal in less than 3 minutes, how much more can you do with 3 years, or even 3 months, of unbroken focus?
You need to figure out what’s stealing your focus on a weekly basis. The more you allow your focus to be stolen, the more uncertainty creeps into your subconscious - because your actions aren’t lining up with the decisions you thought you made.
Are you distracted by the games on your phone? How about the chaos in your finances? The lack of organization in your home? Your family throwing a million birthday parties? Like I said before, the things that steal your focus aren’t inherently bad, but they’re just not the priority in this season of life. And if you don’t act on your priorities, you don’t have unbroken focus.
With just a couple years of unbroken focus, you can be whatever you want. You can be the protege that reminds your mentor how awesome they are. You can be the team member that sets records. You can be the coworker or the friend that inspires the people around you to move forward faster - I always say the best way to inspire your friends is to smoke them.
You can be the person in your family that changes everything. You can be the one holding your mom’s hand as she’s going into surgery. You can be the guy holding up your dad and feeding him because he can’t walk or eat on his own any more. You can be the sibling that raises the bar for what the next generation is supposed to do. I don’t know what kind of weird, crazy stuff that’s been happening in your family, but you can be the person who changes it. I heard this statement recently, and it made an impact on me: there are things that run in your family...until they run into you. You can be that.
You can set the pace for your growth in life, in finances. You can determine the size of your impact. You can determine the extent of your reach. But you can only do that with enough unbroken focus to get the job done.
Thanks for joining me on this journey to reset old mindsets and replace them with good ones. I hope this has challenged you to let go of your stuff, stop the madness, and move forward toward the dreams and goals you’ve always wanted in life. Get out of your own way, and get to it!