What is your process of Discovery?
When Julie looks through the lens of her camera she is interested in what is in focus and what is out of focus. Sometimes what is in focus is so boring, its the out of focus which interests her. The question that occupies her mind is: how do I bring that which is out of focus in focus?
The solution, for Julie, the photographer, is in thinking differently. In thinking what if I use this lens. Will the different lens bring what is out of focus in focus? What if I approach the subject from this angle? What if I slow the speed? Each time she uses her knowledge of photography and her camera to build on what is possible. To look outside her box.
Sukekawa is also interested in what is out of focus. She is one of Japans most successful inventors. But it hasnt always been like that. In fact, she didnt start inventing until she was 57 years old.
Sukekawa was a physical education teacher at a High School in Japan. Then at 57 years of age she suffered from a serious medical problem that could only be treated in Tokyo. So she and her husband decided that in order for her to receive the medical treatment she needed she had to resign from her job and they would both move to Tokyo.
In Tokyo, she was alone and ill, with no family and no friends. To inspire her and keep her spirits up her daughter suggested she join the local amateur inventors club.( Yes they really do have local inventors clubs in Japan)
She went and within a short time found that she was a big hit. She was coming up with many useful inventions. How?
Her system is simple:
I always come up with something I want for my own use.
She works on the basis that most mass produced domestic items are designed by men, who, invariably, dont use the products. As a result they are poorly designed. Therefore if she has a problem using them so must every other person who buys and uses the product.
She is now a 67 year old grandmother and still inventing because:
When I spot some inconvenience, I feel lucky because there is fun in overcoming it
The stories of Julie and Sukekawa are similar. They are both looking for a solution. They are both looking for a different way of overcoming the deficiency they see before them. They are both looking for different ways of achieving the impossible.
When did you last look at an impossible problem and bring into focus the out of focus pieces? Do you use your past knowledge as a platform from which to jump or as a straight jacket to limit your thinking?
What is your process of discovery?
Graham and Julie
By Andre Taylor
Years ago I gave a consulting client a one-word solution to overcoming his business challenges. The one word was, FOCUS.
At our weekly meetings I emphasized the importance of focus for this successful entrepreneur seeking even greater success. We worked closely together to help him stay on track with his business goals. It was during this period that I really learned how powerful the concept of focus is, and why so many individuals whether theyre entrepreneurs, salespeople, managers, or other achievers find focusing hard to do.
Many popular authors and speakers talk about the importance of focus. I have found, however, their emphasis is typically centered on goal setting, habits, and will power. These are, of course, vital to the process of reaching our objectives, but I do not think these ideas really hit the sweet spot of what focus is all about nor are they on point with the typical challenges most of us have with focus. In fact, I believe most personal development authors simplify the concept of focus and promote a sort of focus mythology. That is, that individuals who are somehow missing the mark are not focused.
Let me give you the reality.
The entrepreneur not reaching his or her revenue and profit goals, but working 16 hour days is probably very focused. The salesperson making call after call and still not reaching his or her performance goals is probably focused as well. The athlete faced with making a critical play during the big game but finds the effort unsuccessful is also focused. All of these individuals have goals that are important to them; they are probably working at the most important thing and what they do best, and putting in extra effort to make it happen. But that, in my judgment, isnt what focus is really about. In reality, its only the beginning.
To really unleash the power of focus you first must understand what focus is. Whatever our mission, we do not operate in a vacuum. In every agenda we meet opposing forces. To the salesperson theres administrative tasks, personal errands to run, a family crisis, bad weather, a car that wont start and any number of competing issues. It is actually the salespersons ability to give these other issues attention, while booking new business that blows away the myth of focus. You dont ignore these others things. You perform despite these things.
To use a sports example, (I ran a sports media company for a decade) superstar golfer Tiger Woods is said to be incredibly focused, not because he can make the big shot, but because he can do it under pressure. So step one for you students of focus is understanding that focus is first about obstacles. To really focus you must train yourself to perform under pressure. Rarely do we have a wide open target to which we can dedicate our sole attention. Focus means remaining committed despite having simultaneous, equally important, competing interests, opposing forces, and unsettled emotions.
The second factor in understanding focus is perhaps most contradictory to what the word implies. That is, focus is about balancing multiple priorities not just one. You see, while Tiger Woods is trying to make the big shot he still has many potential distractions — both visible and invisible. He just might have a stomachache. But what makes Tiger a winner is his ability to balance multiple priorities simultaneously and still get the result we all expect. An entrepreneur who can balance a product launch, a vital employee who calls in sick, calls from creditors asking for money, and a customer with a laundry list of complaints, and still close an important deal is a champion of focus. Shes a champion because she has a full plate not just one item to devour.
Finally, focus is not always pretty. We have visions of happy, goal-directed individuals who whip everything neatly into place. This is where the Tiger Woods analogy ends. He makes it look a little too easy. My experience with the focused is that they are often chaotic, unconventional, and downright weird. Not all, but many are folks that arrive to meetings late, allow lesser things to wait, and are unapologetic about being ruthless with their attention. The point is all of these goals, obstacles, and multiple priorities dont come together with a snap of the finger. Theres plenty of friction that drives the focus machine.
So, the next time someone tells you that FOCUS is key to your success, make a decision. Are you going to believe the myth that youre not pointed in the right direction, working hard enough, or concentrating on that one thing, or will you embrace the reality?
© Copyright 2007 André Taylor Taylor Insight Group, LLC. Go to www.andretaylor.com and get Andres free newsletter.
How to Focus on Your Work – 3 Lessons from "Hyperfocus"
Three useful lessons from one of my favorite productivity authors. Get a free trial of Skillshare here: https://skl.sh/thomasfrank12201
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00:00 – Introduction
01:12 – Meta-Awareness
03:36 – Hyperfocus and Scatterfocus
07:03 – Intention-Setting
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Charles Cornell on Deliberate Practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbD8n4J_MuM
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