There’s an old saying about people who are of the jack-of-all-trade variety. They might be able to do a host of things decently well, but they aren’t masters of anything. They’re like acquaintances at the nine-to-five. You enjoy keeping company with acquaintances and they might come in handy, but if you really want to get anything done, you call your best friend.
In this analogy, the best friend is the expert. The reality is, if you want to look at the most accomplished people in the world, they’ve all simply focused on that one thing that made them the best at what they do. And those experts get all the attention, the glory, more respect in their field, and more money, because being at the top is what it’s all about.
Even when it comes down to the little things, we need to relax a bit. We often get too bogged down with the tiny details of our day, focusing on this or that, and that distracts us from what we should be doing. We waste way too much time on things that don’t matter and then look back and wonder where the time went.
If you want to get ahead in life, you need focus and clarity. If you find yourself plain busy all the time and yet you don’t seem to accomplish very much, then it’s time to take a look at what you’re doing and ways to set aside some of the burden to focus on what really matters. When you do that, you’ll find yourself getting rid of all the distractions that keep you from becoming great.
Let’s break it down into three points.
What Do You Have a Flair For?
When we were all little kids, we each had a knack for something. We were better at it than anyone else. Maybe you were a great writer. Maybe you won the science fair because you have great critical thinking skills. Whatever it is you are good at, focus on doing that.
Imagine the football player. As a kid, he loved the game. With each passing season, he got better and better. But competition also gets fierce the closer to the top you get. To continue being good, he trained. He worked out. He watched tape of his games to see where he could improve. Maybe he hired a coach and perfected drills.
I doubt there exists any football player who just woke up one day good at it and didn’t have to put everything they had into it, studying offense, defense, learning new techniques, getting stronger/faster/better. Just like if you were a good writer, you had to perfect your craft by writing a lot of crappy stuff first.
So, find what you’re good at, the thing you have a flair for, and focus all your attention on that. The better you get at it, the more respect you’ll command, and the better your life will get.
Don’t Ask Permission to Do What You Love
The sad fact about people around you is, some of them will root for you to fail. They don’t want you to succeed. Why? Because it makes them look like a loser. They didn’t take the initiative to follow their own passion and because of that, no one else should either. It’s a shame that so many people feel that way.
Often times, we get stuck in the ‘zone of negativity’. We sit around and wait for people to give us permission to act. We must do it the ‘right way’. The right way according to whom? Is there only one route to success? When you take a look at truly successful people, you see that they didn’t wait for permission. They went out and brazened their own path.
Do you want to be a writer? Blogger? Author? Go out there and do it! Don’t wait for someone to tell you it’s okay. Jump in and get started. It can turn around and be successful overnight, but in most cases, it requires you to act and not to give in to fear about the status quo. It’s okay to fail too. Just learn from your mistakes and keep trying.
Learn How to Say No
Oh, this is a toughie, especially if you consider yourself a people pleaser. If you’re going to survive, cut out the distractions and focus on getting yourself going, then you need to tell others ‘no.’ It’s okay to say no! If it doesn’t meet your goals and the direction of where you’re headed, it’s a distraction and a waste of time.
The best thing to do is to surround yourself in a bubble of sorts. If you don’t get to your emails on time, you miss a phone call, or someone gets frustrated that you can’t head to the golf course, that’s perfectly fine. Let that stuff work itself out. What really matters is getting done what you set aside for yourself to do.
How your life moves going forward is up to you and you alone. No one else is invested in your success. They’re invested in their own. And a lot of them don’t want you to do well. Take some time to yourself and decide what you have a flair for, do it unapologetically and learn how to say no to any and all distractions. Before you know it, your life will start to change right before your eyes.