What Keeps Me Focused – The Tenlist
Today it seems as if so many of my friends are unfocused, given in to procrastination, or simply don’t care. This is not the result of a lack of will, because willpower is a matter of choice and not a condition that a person simply is afflicted with, but rather because the natural scientific notion is to do that which requires the least effort, the least energy. I’m not trying to say minimizing energy is wrong – it has many practical uses in life – but I believe many people could apply themselves much more.
Three Kinds of People: Watchers, Makers, Ponderers
Some of us have heard the quote, “There are three kinds of people in this world: those who watch things happen, those who make things happen, and those who wonder what happened.” (I don’t recall the correct author of this quote.) This is possibly one of the most truthful general statements I have heard. Now, I realize all three of these types of people have to exist in this world in order to keep a state of balance (we wouldn’t want everyone making things and no one watching), but it seems as if the balance among the three are somewhat lopsided. Generally you have a majority of the population watching, the more intelligent ones thinking, and a unique few who set out to create. Perhaps this is the natural order of things, and perhaps this imbalance creates a balance within itself, but I’m not entirely sure.
Success Is A Matter Of Choice
Regardless, I have found much disappointment in the fact that many of my friends have chosen to be watchers and simply sit back. With my high school graduation tomorrow evening, I have been left to ponder the words of our senior class motto this entire evening: “Success is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” But how many of my fellow graduating peers will be successful by their own definition? I say this because everyone has a different opinion of success and even then, some will not be able to achieve their own desired standards.
Since my first day at high school, I felt isolated and different. While I would agree with the second aspect, that I am quite different from my classmates in a few ways, I have found alienation to be both depressing and rewarding. This year was a first for me in many ways: I built my first desktop computer, launched my first complete website (http://www.renotify.me), and as of today, finally started this blog. A few of my peers have told me that I am an inspiration, of which I feel quite honored.
Focus Leads To Accomplishment
All I have truly done this year, and for much of my life, is stay focused. Despite my parents constantly telling me that my mind wanders too much (I just tell them I am interested in many things), there is a tool I have effectively used for the past two years that has helped me accomplish so many things within the past two years. But before I say any more on this tool, I am first going to describe where the inspiration came from.
I’ve never been a big fan of magazines, since I always feel rather wasteful after reading what others have done, but one magazine I have constantly read is Inc., which focuses on business management, strategy, and the lifestyles of various entrepreneurs and managers. In August 2008, I received an issue titled “The Believer” (incidentally, this issue is Inc.‘s best-selling issue), featuring the story of Joe Cirulli, current owner of Gainesville Home and Fitness Centers. To this day, that article has been one of the most inspirational and helpful articles I have ever read (you can download it here: http://www.ghfc.com/upload/file/Joe/Joe-Cirulli-The-Believer.pdf). One of the tools Joe described was his list of goals, which comprised a set of ten tangible, measurable, goals (the tangible and measurable part is important!) to accomplish by a set date. After reading the article several times, I decided to create something very similar, of which I call “The Tenlist.”
Whereas Joe Cirulli’s first list was more of a “lifetime” list, my tenlist is simply a list of ten tangible, measurable goals for the next season. For me, that means four lists per year, and each often includes goals I failed to accomplish from the previous season. Like Joe, this is a list I read to myself every morning and every evening. However, the biggest problem for people is that during the day, many people lose track of their goals (and also their focus), which defeats the whole point of planning in the first place. To counter this, I use my site, RenotifyMe (http://www.renotify.me), to send me random SMS reminders with condensed versions of my ten goals on random days. Ironically, the inconsistency of these reminders is part of the secret to my consistency, as I no longer know what days or times I will get a reminder after I set them. If any of you don’t know what RenotifyMe is, it’s basically a free site where you register an account plus your phone number (must have texting/SMS capability), then allows you to enter notifications in a calendar. The site will then send you free texts (you only pay standard text rates set by your phone carrier) at the times you set.
Anyway, I didn’t intend for this article to be an ad for my site, so I’m going to wrap things up by posting my tenlist for this past season:
Spring 2010 Tenlist:
- Pre-pay all web hosting expenses for the next five years so I won’t have to worry about them while in college.
- Get a gift for [name removed] for all her help in school this year.
- Get an AT&T Tilt 2 smartphone for college.
- Graduate with all A’s. This will leave me with a straight-A high school transcript.
- Release RenotifyMe (http://www.renotify.me) as an open source script under the Apache License. [You can find the SourceForge page here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/renotifyme].
- Finish reading The Painted Veil.
- Deposit $1000 into my bank account.
- Finish integrating a custom gaming tournament script into Sudden League, my next complete website to be launched (http://www.suddenleague.com).
- Build a desktop computer for my mom.
- Launch my own personal blog (hey! That’s what you’re reading!)
Anyway, I’m interested in hearing other peoples opinions. Hopefully this article has been at least somewhat helpful to people.