Singularity of Focus

December 11, 2018 pwm1

The average person puts only 25% of their energy and ability into their work. The world takes its hat off to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%.

Carnegie, Andrew, PD, 1913

—Andrew Carnegie (1913, by Theodore Marceau; Public domain)

…Upon first read, it may seem as though this Carnegie quote is at odds with how we are taught to live. After all, isn’t it important to have a “balanced” life, compartmentalizing our time between work, family, play, and (most importantly) worship? Absolutely, but that doesn’t take anything away from the singularity of focus leaders have toward their craft.

Two of my favorite examples are Walt Disney and Steve Jobs. Both of these souls dedicated themselves to their passion right up to the end. Walt Disney designed a plan for a new theme park in his mind, using the tiles on his hospital room ceiling as a sort of graph paper. Steve Jobs continued to lead his design teams at Apple right up until he could no longer physically travel.

Let’s talk about spirituality, the bedrock of our existence (whether we accept it or not). Carnegie, Disney, and Jobs could be ruthless leaders at times. In fact, there are certain characteristics of all three men we should pray to avoid. Jobs, in fact, shunned religion for virtually all of his life. But that doesn’t change the fact that all three accomplished great things by having an incredible level of focus on their calling. The role of a Higher Power working through us cannot be diminished simply because we do not accept that fact. Or, as C.S. Lewis so eloquently put it, “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”

So, let’s use the examples of Carnegie, Disney, and Jobs to give ourselves to the one passion that drives us, but with the understanding that we are simply tapping into God’s great power from within to accomplish great things. With that in mind, we can add an incredible component to our journey: Divine Happiness.

—MSH, Penn Wealth

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