“When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools.” –Michael LeBoeuf, “an American business author and former management professor at the University of New Orleans. He is a Professor Emeritus at the University of New Orleans, where he taught for 20 years before retiring in 1989.”
In a world full of constant distractions, concentrating on only one thing at a time becomes a challenge at times. Depending upon the level of input, as also what is at stake, any distraction could cost us irreparable damage. We have often come across instances of individuals in high positions of authority indulging in a wayward manner. The resulting loss of their reputation, sometimes followed by avoidable lawsuits makes a dent in their standing in the society.
EDITOR’S NOTE: SEE PART 4 AND PRIOR BELOW
The above words of wisdom from a well-renowned author whose books have been published in over a dozen different languages, serialized in magazines and newspapers worldwide, carry an important message for all of us. I am sure we can all relate to the above example of the impossible feat involved in writing one thought and thinking of another at the same time. No wonder, putting our thoughts on paper helps us concentrate on the specific idea. As an added incentive, when we write our goals down, they tend to become attainable.
Please allow me to mention another significant quote from the same author: “Waste your money, and you’re only out of money, but waste your time, and you’ve lost a part of your life.” When we indulge in any activity, without proper attention, focus on details, combined with a lack of concentration, the apparent disinterest leads to an absolute waste of time. Please allow me to remind you that time is perhaps the single most important commodity that we have at our disposal. However, it can not be replenished by any means. To put this valuable resource to the most productive use, we MUST concentrate on the job at hand at all times.
“Every company’s greatest assets are its customers because without customers there is no company.” This message from the same author makes it abundantly clear why every enterprise must concentrate on a customer-focused strategy. Soon you lose your focus, unhappy customers will make your survival a significant cause for concern.
Let us learn a bit more about the subject of concentration, and also why it is an absolutely essential skill for the success of any enterprise. “Shunryu Suzuki was a Sōtō Zen monk and teacher who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States and is renowned for founding the first Buddhist monastery outside Asia.” He believed “Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.”
To understand the deep-rooted meaning of Zen philosophy, we should pay attention to yet another quote from the same master: In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind, there are few.
Concentration helps us eliminate distractions. By concentrating on a specific problem and/or challenge, we get better prepared to isolate the most effective solutions out of myriads. Naturally, a vast jumble of possibilities is reduced to just a few, making it much easier for us to choose the best one, in the shortest time-frame. This is how we can ensure the very survival and growth of our enterprise.
Moving forward, I would like to borrow from the profound wisdom of an American cultural icon. James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was an American actor. He is remembered as a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement, as expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which he starred as troubled teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were loner Cal Trask in East of Eden(1955) and surly ranch hand Jett Rink in Giant (1956).
After his death in a car crash, Dean became the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only actor to have had two posthumous acting nominations. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him the 18th best male movie star of Golden Age Hollywood in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Stars list.
This is how James Dean highlighted the significance of concentration in his life as an actor: “Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world. You are all alone with your concentration and imagination, and that is all you have. Being a good actor is not easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I’m done.”
Dear readers, I cannot help but remember another invaluable piece of advice by Ralph Waldo Emerson that relates to the power of concentration in our daily lives: “Concentration is the secret of strength.” “Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.” He did also mention: “The one prudence in life is concentration.”
“No fine work can be done without concentration and self-sacrifice and toil and doubt.” –“Max Beerbohm. Sir Henry Maximilian “Max” Beerbohm was an English essayist, parodist, and caricaturist under the signature, Max. He first became known in the 1890s as a dandy and a humorist.”
The power of concentration prompts us to devote to a cause. Both toil and doubt are the after-effects as we proceed on our way. How one gets over the lingering doubts, and yet continues on the chosen journey, is what determines the success or the ultimate failure of a project.
“Discipline and concentration are a matter of being interested.” –Tom Kite. “Thomas Oliver Kite, Jr. is an American professional golfer and golf course architect. He spent 175 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking between 1989 and 1994. Kite was born in McKinney, Texas.”
“He started playing golf at age 6 by following his father around and won his first tournament at 11. Three of his last four PGA TOUR victories came on holidays—1992 BellSouth Classic (Mother’s Day), 1992 U.S. Open (Father’s Day), 1993 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic (Valentines’ Day).”
How can anyone challenge the power of concentration as evidenced by the first-hand experiences of the above-noted personalities? What we need to do, to benefit from these outstanding individuals’ experiences, is to imbibe these principles in our own lives as well.
The combined strength of the five essential skills covered in this series should help anyone desirous of attaining success in any given field. It is my sincere hope that the discerning readers will pay attention to the quotes I have liberally borrowed, with credits to the source where applicable. Please feel free to click on the links and gain additional knowledge where desired.
Your valuable comments, opinions, and/or critiques would always find appreciation at my end since ‘I do not have the mind that minds©.’