POWER OF FOCUS 2: LIMITED TIME

This is a follow up on the Focus Series, see 1st Part Here.

What you focus on, grows.

This is an unshakable principle of life, and it is also one of the principles of success as well.

Have you seen a person who is unfocused, having their hands, feet and minds in different places, succeed? It is very unlikely. Try to imagine a person trying to plan, run and execute three weddings at the same day and same time – it’s a horrible thought, isn’t it?

Of course, you can multi-task with smaller items, such as frying eggs whilst you make a cup of coffee (even that you need multiple and micro-focus management), but in this instance, I’d like to highlight on the principles of focus.

Before we start, let’s put things in perspective, which explains WHY focus is so important. I think, most of the time, we don’t focus because either we take life as it is, we don’t know what we want, or we’re just bogged down by distractions or ignorance.

Ok, to start things of, first know HOW much time we actually have left.

I found this nice diagram here to help me illustrate.

countdown of life how much time do you really have left
This diagram shows how people generally live their lives, assuming their average expectancy is 78 years.

  • 78 years left – just born
  • 49 years left – you spend 33% of your time sleeping
  • 46 years left – you spend 3.5 years going to school and studying
  • 35 years left – you spend 10.5 years of your life at work
  • 34 years left – you spend 1 year of your life in traffic
  • 32 years left – you spend 2.5 years in toilet
  • 28 years left – you spend 4 years eating and drinking
  • 25 years left – you spend 2.5 years doing grocery shopping
  • 20 years left – you spend 5 years doing house keeping and cooking
  • 18 years left – you spend 1.5 years taking care of loved ones
  • 09 years left – you spend 9 years on TV, Facebook or video games
  • 09 years left – this is what’s left for you to use to spend time doing stuff you like or want.

This diagram is a little confusing, because the time that they indicate that you spend, IS NOT INDICATIVE OF TIME LINE. What that means is for example when they say that you spend 3.5 years going to school, that doesn’t mean that you only study for 3.5 years – it actually means that you will spend a total of 3.5 FULL YEARS in education, calculating to be 3.5 years over 6-12 years of your student life (some study less, some study more)

So if you look at the diagram, only the last 2 points are sort of modifiable (it’s highly unlikely you can change the amount of time needed for sleep, toilet etc) though if you zoom in to fine details, I would say that if you carefully use your time, you would have 18 years of your time.

18 years is truly very limited, so you must not waste time doing things that are unimportant. Ok, what’s important and unimportant is different across individuals – you must define and determine what’s important for your life.

For example, if starting your own business is something that you’ve been thinking about for some time, and you believe it’s a path that you must take, then once you’ve done your research and prepared – go all out. Yes, there is risk involved, but that’s why you need to do your research and preparation first.

If what Malcolm Gladwell say is true, and it’d take you roughly 10 years to master something, then of this 18 years, you will take 10 years to master your craft, leaving you with about 8 years to truly shine and do your best work.

Without making the decision to super focus on what you want and where you’re going, it’s likely going to be very hard for you to achieve your super hairy and audacious goals.

So. Don’t. Waste. Time.

Decide to focus on what you want and where you want to go.

Write it down, and print the same copies, and if you’re a super weirdo like me, I have the same prints in different places in my house. I have one on my clothes cabinet. One near my PC. I would have put one in my toilet (now that I know I will spend 2.5 years of my life there) if I didn’t get the walls wet.

I want to be reminded everyday of who I am and what I want to achieve, and that all I do everyday will bring me closer and closer to where I want to go.

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