154: Narrow Your Focus – Friday Fundamentals

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Goals are probably the most discussed subject on the podcast. As a goal oriented person, I value setting and pursuing goals very highly, and rightfully so. They’re the road map to your success. Now, I’m not some goal guru, but I do have some opinions from my own experience. Not that we’ll dive into those here, as I’m sure we have in a previous episode.

Goals are both simple and complex. By setting a goal, you’re essentially defining what you want your life to be. You’re visualizing your future. Seems simple enough, right? But then come all the distractions. What do you focus on? What should your goals be? How do you you keep focus? We’re going to dig into the focus part.

People set goals mostly around health, wealth, and happiness or some combination of those. For instance, you might set a goal around your health. From there, there are many things you could focus on – diet, exercise, fasting, bio-hacking, etc. Pick one of those things, say diet, and you can go even deeper – keto, paleo, carnivore, Atkins, etc. Pick one of those an you can go even deeper. You can begin to see how there are many things you can focus on, just looking at your health. Imagine trying to focus on all of these aspects. It’s unfathomable to be able to do all of these things, much less do them well. Mix in the other areas, like wealth and happiness, and you’re drowning in things you need to do.

But you only have so much time in the day, and so much mental bandwidth to devote to these things. You’ll find this dilemma to be true in many areas of your life. Let’s look at real estate investing for example. Say you want to invest in real estate. You can buy rent and hold properties, flip properties, develop new properties, buy tax liens, raw land, lend private money, syndicate large apartment deals, wholesale deals, sell real estate as a licensed agent, invest passively, buy turnkey properties, etc. There are so many ways you can be involved in real estate. It would be silly to try to do them all. The solution is simple. Pick one and stick with it.

In your journey to achieving a goal, you often have to go small, so you can go big. Yes, go small, so you can go big. Let’s break this down with an analogy.

In order to see something with more clarity, you have to narrow your focus. Imagine you are looking through binoculars. At first when you look in the binoculars they field of view is wide and you can see almost a 180 degree view. However, what you can see isn’t very clear. In order to see something far off in the distance with any clarity, you have to narrow your focus, zooming in on the object. This however, prevents you from seeing everything else, both good and bad.

This is going small, so you can go big. The same principle applies when setting and pursuing your goals. Drill down to a very finite detail. Get specific with your goal and your path forward. To simply say, you want to retire early by investing in real estate isn’t enough. For one, it isn’t specific. What age do you want to retire at? How much net worth or passive income will you need? Most importantly, how? If you don’t set especially this last parameter, you’ll find yourself looking at raw land deals in South Texas, flips in New Jersey, development deals in California, and everything in between, and almost assuredly never achieving your goal to retire early. So rather, drill down on that goal and narrow your focus.

Here are 5 tips to narrowing your focus.

  1. Write your goals down every day. Doing so will keep that goal in the forefront of your mind.
  2. Audit what distracts you. When you find yourself getting distracted from your long term vision, ask yourself, “Does this help me achieve my goal?”.
  3. Only change course intentionally. You may have to change paths from time to time. That’s okay, as long as you are doing so intentionally.
  4. Don’t worry about what you’re missing. As the saying goes, “You can’t have everything you want, but you can have anything”. You just have to decide what that is.
  5. Ask yourself “how?” when defining your goals. How will you retire early? How will you lose 20 lbs. How will you achieve whatever it is you want? Do this repeatedly until you have a very specific goal nailed down.

Sometimes we’re afraid we’ll miss something by going small. So instead we go big, and miss everything. By going small, you will miss things. But they’ll be things that don’t matter to you.

Shiny object syndrome is a slang term for always chasing the next big thing. This is not the method nor approach to setting long term goals and sticking to them. If you are constantly looking for the next big thing, with a scattered approach then you are not as likely to achieve success as someone who is consistently taking action towards their goals, with calculated and intentional action.

Narrow your focus. Go small, so you can go big. Stay focused on your goals, and soon enough you’ll look back at all you’ve achieved.

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