Updated: May 30, 2023
Opportunities are all around us. Some may have more than others, but still, they exist if you look hard enough.
However, access to these opportunities doesn’t automatically guarantee success. A good amount of hard work, grit, determination, discipline, and focus are still needed to succeed.
Today, I’d like to discuss that last bit — FOCUS. Because I’ve struggled with that in the past, and I know most of you are also trying to deal with this.
I hope that what I’ll share today can help you find that willpower to F.O.C.U.S. — to Follow One Course Until Successful — and consequently attain your financial goals.
The Four Thinkers
I wrote an article that enumerates the four kinds of thinkers.
First, there’s the one who has no dreams or goals. Second, there’s the one with no focus and works for different goals at the same time.
Third, there’s the one who always focuses on the problems and lets the negative thoughts consume him to inaction. And lastly, there’s the one who is focused and very determined to reach his goal, the go-getter.
If you’re the second type, the one with no focus, also known as the one with the spaghetti brain, then let me tell you how I transformed myself from being one into becoming the go-getter.
A World of Shiny Objects
When I finished college and passed the board exams, I was fortunate to have access to many opportunities. I had several job offers and even a scholarship for a master’s degree abroad.
Eager to earn and be financially independent, I accepted the job that offered the highest salary.
And for the next several years, I will do just that — continuously switch jobs for a higher paycheck. That’s why I’ve already worked for five companies seven years after graduating from college.
When the world of freelancing and entrepreneurship became my “shiny object,” — things only got worse. My eyes saw a lot of new and different opportunities. I felt like a child in a big toy store.
One by one, and then all at the same time, I chased many and various opportunities.
Until I ended up doing freelance software development, running an internet cafe, building an online business, and trading the stock market — all at the same time.
It was fun. It was challenging. But it was exhausting as well.
And while I had multiple sources of income, all of them eventually reached a plateau, and my income stopped growing. So if I wanted to earn more, my solution was to find a new opportunity to add to my list of ventures.
Learning to Work Smarter
People often say that you have to work smarter, not harder. I didn’t fully understand this until I came to that point in my life when I was just too busy with everything.
I realized that having multiple sources of income is great. But this does not mean that one should grab every income opportunity that comes along without properly evaluating how it will affect you.
More importantly, I learned that if I wanted to earn more. Apart from finding a new opportunity, it’s essential to focus on growing just one venture.
Pursuing a goal takes time and effort. If you’re working on many goals, then your time and effort become divided, and your results will often be mediocre.
One Thing at a Time
With a lot of items on my plate, I realized that I had to decide if I wanted to make things better for myself. I needed to drop all but one of the balls I was juggling, which I did.
One of the balls that I decided to drop was my freelance software development. While I stopped looking for new projects, I did, however, continue working on my current ones until I was able to outsource all of the work.
At the internet cafe, I hired a manager. This greatly reduced my need to be in the shop most of the day to just at least an hour in the afternoon.
And finally, I stopped trading in the stock market. Instead, I became an investor. I learned about this and eventually shifted to the peso cost-averaging strategy.
So what was the one ball that I held on to? It’s building an online business. That’s what I focused on. And for the next couple of years, I became busy with nothing else but making money online.
In fact, you’re looking at one of the first online ventures that I built that made me hundreds of thousands of money — this blog.
At that point, my strategy changed. From being a spaghetti brain, I decided to become a go-getter. That is, if I see a good opportunity that interests me, I’d grab it and pursue nothing else; until either I fail miserably or succeed at making it big enough to stand on its own and run without me.
And this is how I became a serial entrepreneur. I’ve had a lot of failed businesses. But those who became successful, I could sell at a good price or are still running and making money for me today.
The Cure for the Spaghetti Brain
Having a spaghetti brain is normal. With so many shiny objects around, especially on social media, it’s easy to be distracted by the glitter of the latest opportunities.
Moreover, it’s likewise normal to be confused about which of these opportunities is truly worth your time and effort. It’s okay to be undecided for a while on which one you should grab and focus on.
And my advice is to try them, try many different things. Be curious. Check out the opportunities that are now within your reach and those that will come along your way.
However, you should give yourself a deadline. After a month or two, you then need to ask yourself: “Among all the things I’ve tried and learned about, which one do I want to focus on?”
After you’ve decided, it’s time to promise yourself that you won’t try other things. At least for now, until you either fail or succeed at that venture.
If you feel you can’t commit to it, give yourself another month to try new things. Be sure to pursue something new and not what you have already tried.
After that, think and choose again. Repeat until you find that one thing that you’re happy and passionate about to commit to and focus on for at least the next six months.
You could already know what you want, or it could take some time to find that one thing. But eventually, you will find it if you just follow your curiosity.
And the good news is that sometimes, that one thing can become your life’s purpose.
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