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?