SA Leadership Podcast Episode #131

How Great Leaders Think


Engage In Focused Thinking

He did each thing as if he did nothing else – Charles Dickens

Philosopher Bertrand Russell once stated, “To be able to concentrate for a considerable time is essential to difficult achievement.” Sociologists Robert Lynd observed that “knowledge is power only if a man knows what facts are not to bother about.” Focused thinking is about removing the mental clutter so that you can think with clarity on an issue. There are several benefits to this type of thinking.

Focused Thinking Harnesses Energy Toward A Desired Goal

Focus can bring energy and power to almost anything that you are attempting to accomplish. The greater the problem the more focused thinking time is necessary to solve it.

Focused Thinking Gives Ideas Time To Develop

Giving birth to great ideas is exciting and thrilling. But to take great ideas to the next level you have to transition your thinking from expansive to selective. Focusing on one item can be frustrating, but it can also pay huge dividends if you discover better methods and principles. You grow yourself as you grow your ideas!

Focused Thinking Brings Clarity To The Target

I enjoy playing golf. I am not that great, but I find relaxation when I am outside. Professor William Mobley of South Carolina gave some observations about golf: One of the most important things about golf is the presence of clear goals. You see the pins, you know the par, and you know your average score. These goals are targets to shoot at. Goals motivate!

Focused Thinking Will Take you To The Next Level

No one achieves greatness by becoming a generalist. You do not hone a skill by diluting your attention to its development. The only way to get to the next level is focused attention. Author Henry Overstreet observed that the immature mind hops from one thing to another; the mature mind seeks to follow through.

Where should you focus your thinking?

Does every area of your life deserve dedicated, focused thinking time? The answer is obviously NO! Be selective and not exhaustive in your focused thinking. Take a minute to jot down four areas that are critical to your success and future. If you are having some trouble writing these three areas down, let me give you some suggestions that might help.

Identify Your Priorities

Start by taking into account yourself, your family, and your team. There are many to determine priorities. If you know your yourself well, begin focusing on your strengths, the things that make best use of your God-given talents. You could focus on the things that bring the highest return and reward. The bottom line is to focus on the things that bear fruit in your life.

Discover Your Gifts

Not all people are aware and have a good handle on their own skills, gifts and talents. This can be accomplished by taking the Birkman Questionnaire, Myers/Briggs, or DISC Profile. These psychometric reveal much about how we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You cannot focus thinking in the areas of your strength if you do not know what they are.

Develop Your Dream

If you desire to accomplish great things, you need to have great dreams. If you are unsure of what your dream is, use the focused thinking time to discover it. If your focused thinking time keeps returning to the same things over and over again, perhaps your dream will be discovered there. Once you have your dream, move forward without second guessing yourself. While you are young you will think about many things. That is OK! As you get older and gain experience your focus will narrow into specializations. The farther that you go and the higher that you climb, you cannot afford distractions in your thoughts.

What are you giving up in order to go up?

I can’t know everyone

I can’t everything

I can’t go everywhere

I can’t be well-rounded

Be willing to give up some things that you love in order to focus on what has the greatest impact is not an easy lesson to learn.


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Music: “Gratitude Mood” by David Arivett. You can learn more about his music by clicking on his name. THANKS DAVID!


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