How to Instill a Winning Focus in Sports, Work, & Life

We live in a busy world. Distractions abound. It’s challenging to stay focused on the most important things. We have big plans and big dreams but are halted by never-ending to-do lists. My wife often reminds me to just do the next thing. Turns out simplicity is the answer. Truly we can WIN.

The Simplest Question

In Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, author Greg McKeown shares the secret behind a basketball team’s success.

The secret is a relentless pursuit of the question, “What’s important now?”

“The players apply the question constantly throughout the game. Instead of getting caught up rehashing the last play that went wrong, or spending their mental energy worrying about whether they are going to lose the game, neither of which is helpful or constructive, Larry encourages them to focus only on the play they are in right now…By focusing on their game in the here and now, they can all unite around a single strategy. This level of unity makes execution of their game plan relatively frictionless.”

It’s Time to WIN

What game are you playing? What goal are you chasing? I’m not just talking sports; I’m talking life.

It is so easy to get caught up in trying to have a perfect plan. Some of us want to know what’s coming up 10 steps down the road. Others are stuck on missed opportunities or yesterday’s mistakes.

Either way, focusing too far into the future or holding on to the past prevents us from making the most of the current moment.

If you’re pursuing a big goal ask yourself, “What’s important now?”

If you’re trying to overcome one of life’s curveballs, ask yourself, “What’s important now?”

If you’re trying to win a conference championship, ask yourself, “What’s important now?”

If you’re trying to get through the 12 tasks on today’s to-do list, ask yourself, “What’s important now?”

Get the idea?

It works for teams too! When your next project meeting gets off topic ask, “What’s important now?” When your team is scrambling and making mistakes on the field, call a time out and ask, “What’s important now?”

Free Download

To help you focus on What’s Important Now, I developed a free desktop background image for you.

Keep It Simple

Regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish, keep your focus on the here and now. By continuously asking yourself, “What’s important now?” you prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed or scatterbrained. Keep it simple. Make it a habit. Whether you’re at work, rushing the kids here and there, or trying to win the Stanley Cup trophy, just focus on WIN.

Question: Where do you most need to ask, “What’s important now?” I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Please note: I encourage reader discussion, however, I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.