As a child, my soccer coach constantly advised me, “Boy, if you want to succeed you have to keep your focus”. Years may have passed but I often tried to dissect his statement by asking myself – How does one keep focus? The answer I realised was that there are not one but two qualities one needs to develop in order to have the right focus in life, work or any other place; these are Interest and Patience.
My IP theory of Focus Management states –“To have correct focus, one has to have right combination of Interest & Patience”.
Mathematically, it can be represented as
Focus = (Interest + Patience)/Time
A person is bound to lose interest in a subject either if it doesn’t have points that interest him or if he doesn’t have the patience to wait for the results. People with high anxiety tend to lose interest faster than compared to other individuals.
To understand this better, let’s take the example of a few key people whose exemplary focus gained them success beyond measure –
- During Droupadi’s Swamvyar (in the Mahabharata), many a great warrior failed to hit the eye of the fish with their arrow while aiming at its reflection in the water. Only Arjuna succeeded in the feat. The reason was simple – Arjuna loved Archery; so much that the bow and arrow were his weapon of choice during battle. His success however was due to the fact that he had great patience. He waited for the exact moment to the release his arrow.
- The great Rahul Dravid is renowned for his ability to hold the pitch longer than any other batsman in history. He usually played some of the longest innings in a match not just because he loved cricket and always trained to improve his game; but because of his boundless patience. He stood like a wall even under conditions where firebrand batsmen like Yuvraj and Raina would end up making a mistake that cost their wicket.
Success comes only to those who persevere.
In today’s corporate world we all do jobs which sometimes interest us and sometimes don’t. However our performance not only determines the growth of our careers but also of the organisation. So what’s important is to keep the focus right in order to achieve the desired results.
For an employee or sales person monotonous work can be a career killer. It’s tough to keep interest levels up every time; and adding to it, frustration usually gets the better of our patience. In the end, neither do we have positive results nor has our work impacted in the organisation positively.
It may sound unconventional, but in order to enhance your focus in one subject, you need to take a break and do something entirely different. For example, Ram is a salesperson who’s tired of selling insurance every day. He is steadily losing interest in his product, and this is affecting his performance. To overcome this slump, Ram could refresh his energies by devoting an hour each day to an activity that he enjoys most, like playing chess or badminton. This can go a long way in helping him recharge his interest in work. The key here is to do this monotony breaking activity for a limited time. Additionally, it’s important that you try different activities from time to time.
Next comes enhancing patience; especially in these fast-paced times. While patience comes naturally to some people, it’s more of an acquired taste for the rest.
In my experience the most patient person I have seen is the man who sells sarees at a garment store. Tasked with showing hundreds of sarees to customers, watching them deliberate on which ones to buy and putting back the ones which were not sold can drive any one to quit that profession in three days. But these guys manage to do it with the same enthusiasm day in and day out. This is the kind of patience that grows inside a person only with time.
The onus is on the management
It’s very important for an organisation and employers to ensure that these two important factors – Interest & Patience are taken care of when they decide on the job roles of their employees. As most of the junior to mid-level execs are tasked with work that gets mundane and monotonous after a period of time. The burn out rates among them is usually higher
Thus, it’s important for the management/employer/HR to keep them refreshed, enthusiastic, and energetic. This ensures that employees are focused and perform better on their jobs in order to achieve the organisation’s goals,
“While patience allows you to wait for the right moment, interest gives you the chance to stay invested for opportune time.” When both these traits are in sync, it gives you the most competitive edge to succeed.
I hope all of you will find this helpful. Do let me know your views & inputs.