Opportunity Vs. Focus

2013-04-08 22.14.24

Apologies for the slim pickings of blog posts lately. My convention work has been consuming a lot of time, even after MTAC has come and went March 29-31.

I don’t have a full con review yet, or much else of a blog post. Instead, I want to leave you with a tidbit I heard from TEDxNashville this past Saturday. One speaker, David Baker, brought up the argument against seeking opportunity as it sacrifices, and he described it like this (paraphrased by yours truly):

Imagine your focus and commitment as a glass of water. You can pour that water into something wide like a cookie sheet, which represents wide opportunity, but the water would be shallow and lack any real depth at any point in a sheet.

Or you could pour your water into a champagne flute, a tall and slender container representing a few opportunities you dedicate your true depth on.

It’s better to focus on few opportunities with greater commitment than on too many with little intensity on the important ones.

Learn to pick the opportunities that really matter, and learn to say “no” to those that don’t.

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One thought on “Opportunity Vs. Focus

  1. Agreed, and there are two real traps I’ve run across.

    One, a new opportunity always looks more promising than the one you’re currently working on. Visions are never fully realized, and people never latch on to an idea like you expect. There are valid times to abandon projects, but it usually shouldn’t be so you can chase the next shiny object.

    Two, if you surround yourself with diverse, creative people (for example, conventions or dev/business conferences), it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to chase everything. While you might be technically capable of mastering anything, you still are limited by a finite amount of time.

    A few years ago I set up a kanban board to track the side projects I wanted to do, and it really helped me deal with the latter problem. After a few months, I went through the list and removed anything I had put on the list out of my own overdeveloped sense of obligation or the desire to accomplish, and left just the stuff I wanted or had a real, pressing obligation to do.

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