by Yann Girard — Get free updates of new posts hereTweet
You need to focus.
That is probably the biggest lie ever told.
Everybody tells you, us, me that we need to focus.
That focus is the key to success. That focus is the key to a happy life. A fulfilled life.
But that's not true anymore. It might have been true a few decades ago. Maybe.
It might have been true when we were factory workers that had to focus on one single task.
Efficiency. Speed. Output. That's what counted back then.
What counts today is something completely different.
What really counts today is to be able to cut through all the complexity in front of us. The complexity we're being exposed to every single day. At home. At work. Everywhere.
What counts is to be able to find the signal among the ever present and highly disturbing background noise. I even hear that noise while writing this.
Voices telling me that I can't write all of this. That this is not true. That people might find a loophole in my thoughts. Ahhh. Stupid voice. Go away! Stupid background noise. Stop it!
And the only way to understand all of what's currently going on is to not be focused on one thing. To not be a specialist. To not be an expert.
Experts and specialists are stuck in a certain way of doing things. A certain way of looking at problems. A certain way of solving problems. A certain way that might not be relevant anymore tomorrow.
Now don't get me wrong here. We desperately need experts. But the truth is that we only need a small fraction of experts compared to the old days.
So here are a few things that will happen when you're focused on one thing only.
You'll become an expert, a specialist that only understands a fraction of what's currently going on. And that's pretty bad in a world that seems so fragmented but is more connected than ever before. See Lehman Brothers. See the financial crisis. See the United States outsourcing their shitty jobs to China. Now China owns almost the entire Unites States.
You'll stop being creative because being creative means to create new things. And that means you'll have to disrupt yourself. Too big of a risk. You might lose your job or your reputation.
You'll do the same things every single day. In the exact same way you did them yesterday. Why? Because it worked yesterday. Will it work today? Maybe. Tomorrow? Probably not.
You'll be the guy on top that refuses pretty much everything new. Because new means change. And change might mean someone new on top. And that's why you'll fight it.
Again, being an expert might have worked a few years ago. Not anymore today.
Today you need to be agile. Flexible. Fast. You need to be able to reinvent yourself every single day. Innovate. Disrupt.
So don't ever focus on just one single thing. Because that one thing might be gone tomorrow. Or it might not work anymore tomorrow. Or you might fail. Or whatever.
Instead, be more like an investor. Spread your risk. Start many different things. Don't try to predict the future.
I currently work on 4-5 projects in parallel. And none of them will work. Or maybe one will. I don't know..
An investor knows that she doesn't know anything. That the future is unpredictable. That all she can make or do are educated guesses about the future. About what might work.
So she invests in multiple projects. To hedge her risk.
If she's lucky one out of the ten projects succeeds. Or one out of one hundred. Who knows. But still, she knows that she has no clue about what's going to work and what not. And she acts accordingly.
And you should too. Or not. It's up to you how risky you want your life to be.
Do you want to bet on one single horse? One huge bet? Take it or leave it...?
Or do you want to make many small bets? And spread your risk across several projects. Up to you.
Unfortunately staying at the same job for your entire life doesn't work anymore. The safest bet is about to disappear or disappeared already.
Staying at your job and not doing anything else, not planting any other seeds might be the riskiest thing you could do today. Or tomorrow. The biggest risk for you. Your family.
Moreoever we all have no clue about what we want to do for the rest of our lives. And we have no clue about what might work out. What we might like.
For the rest of our lives is a pretty damn long time...
And how could one possibly know what one would want to do for the rest of ones life if one hasn't tried it out yet?
How could you possibly know what your passion might be if you haven't tried out 10+ different things?
How on earth do you know if she is THE girl if you haven't been together with more than one girl?
Right, none of this is possible.
But that's exactly what most people ask us to do.
What society wants us to do. What our bosses want us to do.
They all want us to focus on one thing for the rest of our lives. Because that's how they can make the most money with us.
And then all of a sudden this one thing doesn't exist anymore. It stopped working. You were replaced. By a robot. A computer. Or any other technology...
You did this thing for the past twenty years. That's all you know. That's all you were trained for. All you ever wanted to do in your life. You were so pretty damn comfortable. And now this!
And that's when you start to realize that you need to reinvent yourself. Again. And. Again. And then again. It's never too late. You can never be too old for anything in life.
I started reading books by the age of 28. Before that I barely read more than 5 books in my entire life. Last year I read about 40 books. And published 4 books on Amazon. Never too late!
So don't let other people choose what you should focus on.
Don't let your mom, your dad, your boss or society decide about what you should do. About what you should focus on.
Do what you want but do it right. Give 150%. And if you don't feel like this is getting you anywhere do something else. And then try to be among the best of that discipline.
If you want to be a public speaker give more talks than anybody else. Give 100+ talks a year. That's about the amount of talks a regular person gives during his entire life. Even more.
I gave 40+ talks last year. So you'll definitely become better than me. Guaranteed!
So don't get locked in other people's prisons. Prisons they have lived in for many years themselves.
Prisons they want you to live in as well so they can feel good about themselves. About having stayed in that prison for so long without ever having tried to escape.
So free yourself from the prisons other people are trying to build around you. The prison of becoming something you never wanted to be in the first place...