Success Requires Interest AND Activity
In a previous post I wrote titled, Focus for Success, I examined how focus requires attention to work and that attention is a finite resource we all have. Together with attention, Focus requires that we also have interest and activity in what we are doing to succeed.
To have an interest in something according to the Oxford Dictionary, is
“The feeling of wanting to know or learn about something or someone”
If that isn’t a clear description of how to be successful, while applying focus to something that we want to know or learn then I am not sure what is!
An activity is,
“The condition in which things are happening or being done”
This definition serves to confirm that to be a success at anything, you need to focus your attention on the thing you want to know or learn and get it done!
To make a start is ONLY the beginning
It is important to note that we have to make a start at some point. It is all well and great to think fanciful ideas, wander around and believe we are doing something, but it is the doing of something that facilitates the success, or failure of that thing.
My ideas form in the shower and when I get out I scribble some notes down on a piece of paper, or make a note on my phone. Later, I wander what it means and develop the idea and by evening time the idea exists as something.
However, I have not been successful! I am not doing anything except feeding the little receptors in my brain which keep saying to me, “Well done, you did something!” All I have is an idea on a scrap of paper which needs further work.
To make anything successful we need to begin at least, even if it is only to check that it cannot work and will fail. The interest in my want to learn or know something and the activity also are necessary for us to achieve success.
A start does not constitute a little scribble on a page, that is a scribble on a page! A start is perhaps the researching of an idea that it might work, or the discussing with others for information on what to do next.
It has been long known that to achieve anything there should be some form of achievement criteria along the way. In other words, milestones in which you strive for to achieve an end goal. It began with an interest…
For example: A marathon runner needs certain criteria to complete the race.
- They need to sign up to enter the race. Probably the easiest part. The filling in of some forms to get your name on the list.
- They should be prepared with shoes and clothing. It is likely the official Marathon will have an acceptable dress code for the runner, and they want to ensure their feet are protected throughout the 42km ahead.
- The runner needs to be sure that the day of the race is free and that they can attend the start line.
- Then the day after needs to be considered and any sleeping arrangements.
- The issue of running for 42km needs to be addressed too – training plans must be put in place.
- Correct food must be eaten
Probably the easiest to complete is the paper filling and then going to the shop to purchase the new running shoes and clothes. The excitement at this part of the goal setting procedure is the best because the happy brain receptors are being instantly gratified.
You have the race papers – happy!
You filled and posted them – happy!
You went shopping – happy!
Each time you met a goal your brain said thanks and rewarded you with a feeling of happiness.
Even the planning of the transport to the race start line would be considered a happy buzz because you are focused and your attention is completely involved in this process.
The difficulty comes when the goals you are trying to achieve become a little further apart. Like achieving a 1km run. It will require you to put the shoes and clothes on and run for 1km continuously. It may not happen the first day, perhaps not the second, and the brain begins to wonder why are we not achieving as quickly as we did before.
It is important to note that of each of the points above, point 5 will require the greatest amount of effort and cannot just be ticked off like the others. Here then, lies the key to being focused and attentive – To maintain your interest and be active you need the goal to be broken down even further!
The shopping was almost instant! You went to the store, you tried on some shoes and talked to the assistants and then took out your money and purchased the shoes. Quick and painless. The running is a little more time consuming though, and requires effort!
To set our minds to do something and to then focus on completing that task requires activity. Activity from both our minds and bodies. I cannot only think of a beautiful painting I could draw, I need to draw it too.
We always seem to be able to get the most from things we can see changing. For example, if I need to write the next article but I put it off all day, I don’t feel any better for not writing it. However, if I write it and complete it, then I can say I have been active and see the results!
Activity needs to be visual for our brains to understand what’s going on. It is not good enough to say I have done something and see no results. That is why being successful for any person has to rely on a a result driven basis.
This is not being selfish by any means, it is confirmation that we are going in the right direction. Like driving to a new address requires that your route be mapped out and that as you pass certain towns and landmarks you are mentally checking off the successes you have along the way. It is visual!
Activity must have visual results. It may just be a check list, it may be the arrival of the “Now Open” sign you had made for your grand opening. Either way, we are results driven!
I have left interest till last because I think this is the most important aspect of achieving any success in any area we are striving to achieve. If I do not have an interest then I cannot commit 100% to the activity. I may be able to commit 99% but it will drain the life from my every waking hour.
The major flag I found here, was in noticing how everyone else was doing what they were supposed to be doing wrong! I kept looking at the way they were doing things and thinking that it was them that were making my own endeavours a failure.
In fact – It was no-one else other than me!
Now that is hard to admit, but I have since noticed, that when I have an interest in something, no-one, and I mean NO-ONE will distract me. I will continue to achieve what I want regardless of those around me.
My focus is laser sharp, I apply all my attention to that one task and with my interest, I am actively producing results that matter to me.
Where I went wrong… Not specifying the results – but I’ll leave my confessions for another post!
What drives your interest and how do you know you have achieved?