Sunday, September 19, 2004

In many fields some win by focus

Over the past weekend, The New York Times had stories about Barry Bonds as he hit his 700th homer, and Heather Locklear in her new role in the series "LAX." Examining the careers of these two apparently different people, it is clear that each of them has shown focus and determination. In their professions they face much public scrutiny, and so many lose their way. People wifh extraordinary talent can lose a sense of direction. This weekend, we also read about the arrest of Mcauley Culkin on drug charges. The career of Orson Welles exemplified that of a man with unusual abilities who never fulfilled his promise. We see so many with talent who never succeed and wonder why. While we cannot discount the place of luck - being in the right place at the right time - there are many who never take advantage of the opportunities which come their way. Furthermore, many people make their own luck.
Winning is not just a matter of being lucky or working hard. It comes from being thoughtful and focused. Focus is difficult to achieve as it requires abandoning some goals we may also have. Many gifted people have a wide variety of things which interest them and this can be an impediment to success.
The approach I recommend requires focus and strategy rather than simple hard work.

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