It's funny how in this world where we live such distracted lives, being focused has become a competitive advantage. In this era of social acceleration in which we are hyper-informed and super busy, it is difficult to set concentration. We are very worried, with many issues that we intend to attend to at the same time. Thus, the easiest thing to do is to get distracted and lose focus.

We want to find formulas that teach us how to solve everything quickly and well. We usually look for methods that tell us the ways and formats to achieve success. We seek to find the secret recipe that reveals the mystery of success, and we lose ourselves in that eagerness. We are in a hurry like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, not knowing the eagerness of our haste. However, the approach does not answer the question "how?" but "what?" What do I want to win? And while the question is simple, it's very difficult to answer. The problem is that if we don't know what we want to gain, it doesn't matter how many answers we have to how to do it. They will all be useless.

The lack of focus is not new, although it has worsened in recent years. I say it's not new because recently, I read an old interview with Katherine Anne Porter, an American journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize in the 1960s and was recently republished. In it, Porter says she was surprised to realize people's level of distraction and lack of focus. According to her, 50% of people don't pay attention to their goals, 40% haven't decided their goals, and only 10% are clear about them.

However, of that 10%, only 5% are faithful to what they want, focus, and do not stray from them. She realized that focus is the necessary ingredient for success. It seems like a truism and perhaps it is, although it seems that many have forgotten this simplicity. Being focused is a vision that goes beyond setting goals.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The world opens the door to people who know where they're going." That is, it's not just about saying where we want to go, but about taking the necessary steps and direction to get there. The approach that involves a more complex and comprehensive view of what goal-setting is has six characteristics:

  • They must be in writing. So that our words are not blown by the wind, the most effective way to fix them to our consciousness and put them in the present without forgetting them is to write them down. “What is written remains written,” said Pontius Pilate, and he was right. In this way, the lyrics become a commitment that will be difficult to forget.
  • The goal has to be personal, that is, it has to have meaning for each team member who is involved. That is the approach that allows him to succeed. When the goal is meaningless on an individual basis, it's very easy to disaffiliate, procrastinate, and eventually forget.
  • The goal needs to be very specific. Clarity breeds comprehension and, as if it were a virtuous chain, comprehension leads to execution. Projects fail when people don't understand what they need to do. The more general the goal, the greater the chances of error. On the contrary, the clearer and more delimited, that is, the more specific it is, the greater the chances of success.
  • The focus should be on achieving the goal. One of the most frequent mistakes made during the planning of any project is to set goals that are impossible to achieve. To begin with, instead of motivating, this generates the opposite feeling.
  • When setting a goal, the focus should be on leaving evidence of progress and achievement. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we focus on giving you a unit of measurement. How are we going to know if we're moving forward, if we're going astray, or if we're going backwards? There is no more effective method than giving a measurement parameter, such as weights, lengths, percentages, units sold, etc.
  • If the goal does not have a time-sensitive approach to achievement, the goal will not be achieved. We need to clearly define when a project starts and when it ends. Otherwise, we'll look like dogs running at full speed chasing each other's tails. Based on these characteristics, we will be able to build goals that are a source of motivation for the members of the work team and get a sincere and honest commitment from all the people involved in the achievement.

Obviously, when we are focused on a vision that takes us further than just determining goals, we have to be aware of the resources needed to achieve success, otherwise, we are conceiving goals that are stillborn.

Successful goals focus on action. That is to say, they are a guide of times and movements that detail what we want to achieve and what actions we must carry out to succeed in the effort.

One of the advantages of focusing on what we want to achieve is that this attitude helps us set performance standards. It's much easier to get where we want to be when everyone knows what we want to achieve.

But beware. We have to pay attention to the way we approach said goals. A very rigid approach can give us a false sense of security, so our gaze must be broad-spectrum fixed on the goal we want to cross. The approach I am referring to is a help, not a hindrance. There are people who understand this concept as a kind of extreme foolishness and it is quite the opposite.

The approach must have a structured planning, but with a turning point that is given by intuition and creativity. What is rigid to the extreme breaks down at the first movement. What is flexible to the max generates instability and loss of clarity. Come on, not so much that it burns the saint and not so much that it doesn't illuminate him.

The way to focus our vision to go beyond goal planning is to be mindful. In a world of distracted people, those who have their sights set on the goal and focus on achieving them have a competitive advantage.