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Importance of focus in the pursuit of life goals

Preeti S was a sports buff from her school days. She especially liked tennis and followed the game passionately. In her bedroom, one of the walls had a life-size poster of Stefan Edberg—one of the greatest tennis players she adored, admired and was obsessed about. There wasn’t a game she missed, nor a sports magazine she left unread. She was adamant to meet Edberg one day and ask him all she could, about him and tennis. After graduating in English from New Delhi, Preeti applied to the universities in UK, got through to one, did her master’s in journalism and after her initial stints in BBC and a local paper, she joined the sports desk of the world’s leading newswire service. Within a couple of years of her job, she was assigned to interview Edberg—her childhood dream came true. As part of her job as a sports writer, Preeti has since interviewed Edberg several times and covered the Wimbledon, French Open and other Grand Slam tournaments for nearly two decades now. She is an amazing example of how one should be single-mindedly focussed in the pursuit of life goals.

A management graduate Shuvajit Payne had a different goal in life. A lucrative job in London, foreign trips and several expensive gadgets—Shuvajit had everything a 27-year-old could possibly dream of. But  Shuvajit believed there was more to life than work and wanted to do something more meaningful. He wanted Indian villages to become self-sufficient entities. Payne knew the road ahead was not easy, but he was determined to make it happen. Shuvajit quit his job, staved off stiff resistance from his parents, and moved ahead in his pursuit to build a better India. Supported by SBI’s 13-month-long ‘Youth For India’ fellowship, Payne started working for rural development projects and built solutions for the welfare of the villagers. For both Preeti and Shuvajit, just having the right, the meaningful purpose wasn’t enough, it was equally important to have the focus to accomplish it.

Aiming for long-term, worthwhile goals can be life-changing. They needn’t necessarily be career-oriented or personal goals. Be it helping others grow or bringing a positive change in people’s lives, long-term goals are purposeful. For accomplishing such goals, one needs to tame and train the mind to strengthen the focus gradually. According to life coach, Charles D’Cruz, “First, you need to overcome the mind playing games that say, ‘not possible’ to an action which says ‘possible’. You need to condition your mind to achieve a long-term goal. One has to “condition the mind” by planting a serious positive intent. When you have the determination, you will start focusing.”

It is essential to have the right frame of mind to achieve your biggest goal in life. This will automatically bring in the focus and determination. Having a focused mindset, though, is not enough at times as there are challenges. In the case of Shuvajit, he faced a number of barriers on his way—the biggest one being a drastic change of lifestyle. Giving up a comfortable, lavish life in a foreign land wasn’t easy; dealing with improper accommodation and lack of sanitation in the village was a challenge; but his focus was clear—he knew he had to endure it all for the greater cause. Shuvajit’s story teaches that no matter what the challenge is, the focus is all you need to accomplish the unthinkable. However, what happens when the focus is deterred by obstacles? How would you tackle them?

The key is never to lose hope, even when the road is strewn with obstacles, for no challenge is insurmountable.


The very first step is to do a reality check, which most people don’t do. D’Cruz asserts that people with purposeful goals struggle because they don’t do a reality check. “When I say reality, you need to know where you are now, what’s your current position—it could be financial, relationship or it could be anything. You need to map out your current situation, it will give you a very clear, planned approach to the larger goal that you are set to achieve. When I realise my current situation, I will start making changes in my lifestyle to fit that goal. I am going to be smart, hardworking and find ways to work towards my larger goal.” Instead of planning the future bigger purpose, it’s more crucial to fix the existing issue and then move ahead towards the goal. Pause your future planning thoughts and concentrate on the present. Identify the existing issue and start fixing it, which makes the path towards reaching the big goal easier and more streamlined.

Time can be a huge challenge if not managed effectively. Staying focused on a long-term goal can be close to impossible with improper time management. There’s no rule book to manage time, however, it depends on how a person wants to split his daily activities and work towards his goal in life. Time management can sometimes require a person to sacrifice small things or happy times, to focus on what’s necessary. It’s a part of one’s life journey towards larger goals.

There are very few people like Preeti who are as self-motivated, driven and focussed in the pursuit of their life goals. They don’t need any external stimulus. But, one of the most common challenges towards achieving larger goals is the lack of motivation in the long run. Meaningful goals can be as long as one’s lifetime, hence motivation is the key. How does one remain motivated for that long, even when the goal is set? One of the easiest ways is to jot down some inspirational quotes on a paper and fix them on the wall. Whenever you pass it by, the written pointers will remind you of your goal and inspire you to keep moving towards it.

The key is never to lose hope, even when the road is strewn with obstacles, for no challenge is insurmountable. All it requires is a conditioning of the mind, a strong determination, a positive and optimistic outlook to reach your goal and be victorious. A single-minded focus can drive you to achieve the impossible, turn you from an ordinary to an extraordinary being.

With inputs from Nabanita Maji

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