The hare and the tortoise: why focus is everything.

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This article is not for those who have their act together and always do what they should when they should.  It’s for those of us who struggle to keep on keeping on – a little encouragement to help you move forward.

The truth is that 99.9% of people do not find sticking to their goals or sticking to a consistent plan easy.  Which is why so many people give up before they achieve what they want.

What makes the other 0.1% of people who are successful different?

I believe that it’s obsession.  The fact is that most of us want certain outcomes.  We want them.  We wish for them.  We think about them.  We talk about them.  Until we bore ourselves silly and get distracted by the ‘next big thing’.  Suddenly, a month, a year, a decade has gone by and we’re still pretty much where we were before.

We rationalize our responsibility away. We are where we are because of circumstance, or other’s actions, or the economy, or… (fill in the blank with your particular brand of reasoning.)

Looking at ourselves and analyzing all we’re doing wrong is pretty depressing and – frankly – pretty counter productive.  Looking at what that 0.1% of people who are successful are doing is a much better use of time.  Instead of envying and / or despising them, take a good look and see how they are managing to use the same ordinary 24 hours we all have in order to achieve extraordinary results.

In most of the studies done of successful people’s methods, it has been determined that they share at least two characteristics. They went beyond wanting and wishing, talking and dreaming, to obsession.

They desired the outcome to a fever pitch.  They could touch, taste and feel the outcome long before it was visible to the naked eye.  This passion fueled everything they did and drove through every obstacle and set-back without pause until the goal had been achieved in a tangible way.  In other words, the tangible manifestation of the goal was simply what others saw long after the successful person had experienced success in their minds.

The second and equally important characteristic that successful people share is their ‘stick with it no matter what’ attitude.  If the first plan to achieve the goal didn’t work, go onto the next.  If that one falls short, come up with another. And on and on until they find the one that delivers the result they’re looking for.

Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Abraham Lincoln are just a few of men the world considered as complete failures before they ‘made it’.  According to Napoleon Hill, his 25 years of study of successful people uncovered the interesting fact that in all cases, the success came only after a major failure.  Not just failure – a major failure.

What made them continue after failing time and again and then, to cap it off, experiencing one spectacular ‘bummer’?

A combination of complete obsession, pig headed determination and complete and utter faith in the eventual successful outcome.

When we look at our goals from that point of view, not one of us has any real excuse for not achieving what we want.

Each of the characteristics discussed is:

  • free
  • does not require education
  • can be implemented by anyone
  • does not even require money

With the passion and determination, everything we lack can eventually be brought to us, whether it is education, money, connections or whatever else we need to succeed.  The strong desire, combined with faith leads us to make the decisions and take the steps necessary to further our aims.

Seems like a lot of work, you say?  I bet that we spend more energy and time failing that we would need to succeed.  What most of us lack is the desire and the focus.

Instead of trying to emulate the hare and win the race by sprinting with all we have until we run out of steam or get distracted, if we followed the tortoise’s example we’d get further faster.  By simply putting one foot in front of the other in the implementation of a practical, ongoing plan, with our actions fueled by obsessive desire and unshakeable faith and sticking to our course, we will see our dreams take on form and success come ‘suddenly’.

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