“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity.
Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there you can move mountains.”
Like millions of others, I was hugely impressed by Andy Murray’s achievement of winning the Wimbledon men’s singles final. As spectators we only see the matches themselves: we don’t see the days, weeks, months and years of hard graft and persistence that bring him to that single point in time where he’s able to prevail and win a Grand Slam final.
Andy Murray’s story is an inspiring example of what it means to have a compelling vision — to set your sights on a target, and to never give up in the quest to make the dream a reality. It takes incredibly hard work, persistence, self belief and extreme focus.
These qualities are important in everyday life as well — not only for elite athletes. When I’m working with clients, especially those who are running their own businesses, one of the most common challenges they face is simply having too much to do. It’s a vicious cycle: you’ve got so much to do, but you feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start; your attention and energy are dissipated by thinking of the million and one things you should be doing, and you end up flitting ineffectually from one thing to another. You get to the end of the day feeling exhausted and deflated because you’ve been so unproductive.
If looking at your to-do list induces a sense of rising panic, it’s really important to focus and, as Steve Jobs says in the quote above, to keep things simple. So to avoid the negative spiral I’ve just described, try this instead: ask yourself ‘What’s the ONE thing I absolutely must get done today?’ Choose one item from your to-do list and just focus on that. You shouldn’t have to think about it too hard — you’ll probably know intuitively what’s most important. Completing that task should give you a burst of energy and momentum and you can then progress on to another. Keep things simple and take things one step at a time.
Whether your aim is to get an article written, clear out the garage, or become Wimbledon champion, persistence, focus and simplicity will be essential ingredients for your success.