A tale was told about a condemned man who had been sentenced to death. Knowing that he had no chance to live, he pleaded for his life and got a lot of people to plead on his behalf. The king decided to give him one final chance to win back his life. To do so, the King gave him an almost impossible task.
The king asked him to take a chalice filled with water and walk to a certain destination. The problem though, was that the path to the destination was a treacherous one; filled with rocks and ditches and all sorts of obstacles. There was almost no way that the man could complete the task without spilling the water and that would be certain death for the man, which was just what the angry King was counting upon.
With his eyes on the task before him, the condemned man began to walk. He took one careful step after the other, each step affirming his determination to live. As he made his way through the treacherous path, there were spectators on each side of the road. On the right, were those cheering him on, and on the left, were those booing him.
Finally, he made it to the finish line without spilling a drop of water from the chalice. His life was spared by the king.
Much later he was asked about the spectators and which line was the most helpful for him – those who cheered him on or those who booed him. The question surprised him tremendously for he had been completely unaware of the spectators. So focused was he on his goal that he never heard either the cheers or the boos.
There are 3 lessons about the power of focus:
1. Do not listen to the naysayers
There are always those who are there just to shoot down your ideas. For some people, it is as a result of fear; they have failed to try in their own lives and will naturally discourage anyone who seeks to do anything out of the box. Keep your eyes on the ball.
2. Do not believe in your own hype
When you begin to do well and make progress, there are those who will praise you and hype you to the world. That’s good. The danger there is when you begin to believe your hype and take your eyes off continuous improvement. You can always be better than you are now. Keep your eyes on the ball.
3. Always stay focused
Never underestimate the power of focus. What looks impossible is only several determined steps away. Keep at it and never give up. And always keep your eyes on the ball.