Trevor said to me, "After hearing you speak today, I realise, I have sold my dreams short”. Sadly that’s common, and we look at people like Elon Musk and think, I could not do that. We compare ourselves to his outcomes and not the process of what it is that he does daily….to consider how WE can start to stretch ourselves for OUR dreams and get beyond our own small limited thinking and dreams. Our children are told to follow their dreams, “you can do and be anything you can dream of" ...but as they get older we quickly snap them out that notion and belief that you can do anything you dream of and introduce them to the real world, that dark place where dreams are for the select few. When I heard Trevor say that he now consciously understands how he has sold his own dream short it made me realise how all of us should stop, do an audit on our own thinking in any aspect of our lives and ask "am I really thinking big enough and am I dreaming of what I want and not what I think I can do within my comfort zone?" When you dream within your comfort zone then yes you are going to sell your dream short.
Sit and do the work
The Chairman of a business group said to me… “I’m a songwriter and a poet… do the work, I know how hard it can be”. We were debriefing “Innovation in the Pandemic", a new speech I am delivering from my new virtual keynote studio. Many of us need to be intentional about creating. Intentional about the effort we put towards creating an idea or solving a problem. Intentional about finding space for our brain to have the bandwidth to join the dots into something different and novel. Intentional in our conversations to listen for the spark of an idea, the kernel of a new thought…. it takes intention, attention, discipline and well… as he said… it’s work, sometimes hard work… but do the work. James Dyson, Branson, Elon Musk, Scientists, Beyonce, The Boss, Dr Dre… you name it… great creators, the people who see things differently, they do the work. It takes work to think really hard, to sketch new idea, to make the space to dream, to make a call to action… do the work. Sit and think really hard about a problem or an idea, it takes work to intentionally think hard about something.
A short attention span
People don't have short attention spans, they have short interest spans. If they're interested, they'll give you their full attention. This is an important distinction. We judge students, employees, friends, anyone we are talking with or spending time with when they get distracted… normally by technology. You are less distracted when you are actually interested in what you’re doing. People can work hours with no break, no food, not even going to the toilet where they are completely immersed and interested in what they do. When you find yourself with a lack of discipline, a real lack of focus, and a feeling of frustration because you can’t concentrate, then maybe it’s worthwhile taking a step back and appreciating you are not really interested in, what you are doing, acknowledging that, reevaluating the task and thinking….is there anything of true interest in this conversation, this project, this presentation, or this mundane task? What could be of interest if I thought about it differently for a minute? I guess if you find nothing that is of genuine interest to you the next question should be... do I outsource this? Remember when people talk about passions, do an audit and work out specifically what it is that you have no problems applying discipline to, you have no problems focusing on, you have no problems being distracted from, and there lies most probably something you are truly passionate about and have a keen interest in. If you have a short attention span more than likely you're working on stuff that doesn’t really interest you.
JOMO vs FOMO
Mark Twain said “ Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it’s time to pause and reflect". During that time of reflection, knowing you are standing away from the majority, there is a certain joy. It’s called JOMO, the joy of missing out. Missing out on the disconnection with your family, friends or teammates when you are looking at your phone, the joy of missing out on distraction. The joy of missing out on a foggy mind and a lack of energy because you said no to an unhealthy, focus draining lunch. The joy of missing out on an unproductive drowsy morning because you got a full restful, restorative and peaceful night’s sleep. Or maybe is the joy of missing out on an unproductive day because you plan your day the night before and attacked the day with intention. JOMO is a term I heard Jason Fried co-founder of Basecamp mention during a conversation. Maybe it’s time to consider JOMO and do away with the FOMO.