Michael Jordan: a proponent of Extreme Focus (source of image)
How does one truly achieve one’s dreams? What are the secrets behind ultra-successful folks who make a “dent in the Universe”?
The answer according to NBA Orlando Magic’s Senior Vice President Pat Williams and author Jim Denney is “Extreme Focus”.
Living up to its subtitle “Harnessing the Life-Changing Power to Achieve Your Dreams”, Extreme Focus provides an inspirational and informative read to anybody keen to make a difference in their professional and personal lives.
Exemplars of Extreme Focus
With numerous quotable quotes such as “Goals are Dreams with Deadlines”, the book spurs one to take firm and daily action in order to attain remarkable results in one’s career and life.
Peppered with prodigious examples from sports, entertainment and business, we learn that proponents of extreme focus include the following:
- Basket-baller and NBA superstar Michael Jordan
- Hotelier Conrad Hilton
- Starbucks head honcho Howard Schultz
- Olympic runner Sir Roger Bannister (the guy who first broke the 4-minute mile in 1954)
From how they have focused their energies to achieve stunning success, you will learn from these stalwarts to how to zoom in to a singular point of emphasis and concentration.
With words that literally jump out of its pages – like a mentor or coach speaking directly at you – the book provides a persuasive case for the virtue of unwavering focus.
10 Keys to Extreme Focus
The core of Extreme Focus is a 10 Key strategy to achieving one’s dreams, which are as follows:
1) Extreme Focus is the Key to Achieving Your Dreams
In the words of Nike, “Just Do It!”
By achieving extreme focus, one can enjoy peak performance while learning to screen out distractions, doubts and fears. This involves both thinking the right thoughts and eliminating the wrong thoughts.
2) Focus on Your Passion in Life
Here, we’re taught to “focus on the one thing in life that you are truly passionate about – then pursue it with all your might” and to be a “doer, not a dabbler”.
3) Focus on Tomorrow
Fail to plan and plan to fail.
Set short-range, medium-range and long-range goals and put them up somewhere where you can see them daily and be inspired.
4) Focus on Today
Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! Those immortal words from Dead Poet’s society always rings in my head.
Here, we’re taught to use the Grab 15 Principle (dedicate 15 minutes every day to do the important long-term stuff), and to be so focused that we get “in the zone”.
Meditate on positive beliefs, and overcome self-doubt, self-limiting assumptions, fear or laziness.
“Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying” – Dead Poet’s Society
5) Focus on Self-Discipline
Learn to commit yourself to positive habits and diligence, and strive for quality. Adopt a disciplined work ethic and embrace it as a lifestyle.
6) Focus on Things You Can Control – and Let Go of Everything Else
The Serenity Prayer is a good example for us to follow here. I’ve appended it for your reference above.
Instead of being a control freak, we should focus on the stuff that we can control and release the rest.
7) Focus on Your Courage and Confidence
Shine the spotlight on your courage – not your fears.
Be bold, take calculated risks and ignore what others think when what you do is right.
Be a player and not a spectator.
8) Focus on Commitment
When you affix a certain goal in your heart and mind, stick to it and prevail over obstacles and opposition.
Develop mental resilience and never give up or give in.
9) Focus on Leadership and Influence
Think teamwork and how you can influence others in a positive manner to achieve bigger dreams.
The seven disciplines of leadership are: vision, communication skills, people skills, character, competence, boldness, and servanthood.
10) Focus – and Finish Strong!
Just like Randy Pausch of the “Last Lecture” has shared, brick walls are there to stop other people – not you.
To win the race, you need to stay focused, persevere and keep fighting the good fight.
If you’re looking for inspiration, motivation and perhaps that little “kick in the butt”, Extreme Focus is the book for you.
Let me end with a paragraph from the final chapter of the book as a word of encouragement:
“What is your dream? What is the passion that drives you and motivates you and won’t let you go?….. Believe in your dreams. Don’t let anyone take it from you. Follow it with an intense passion. Pursue it with relentless focus. Never give up. Never let go. Never stop fighting for the things that truly matter.”