Greg McKeown’s article at HBR on The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less held both insight and helpfulness in understanding the opportunity costs of success. Success breeds more opportunities. Opportunities can crowd out what is important, even undermining the foundations of what creates success for us.
It is the dilemma of choosing the best over the good. There are many good options with which to choose to invest our time, attention and resources. It is also a strategic mistake if we want to thrive.
It’s hard to have everything we attempt hit. The vision may be faulty. More often, the execution fell short. In our portfolio of pursuits, there’s a lot of wisdom in applying McKeown’s findings. Getting rid of the distractions or even what is good is a key habit so that we can focus.
To me, it is a daily trade-out. There are things we are holding onto in our lives. Details we have to attend to. As new opportunities arise, if there is an upgrade then swap out and displace what would compare as mediocrity. If what we have is better, then it is better to ignore new propositions.
You only have to be right once. Going after everything and anything has a cost to success.
For me, I write. I speak. I consult. Those are the areas I focus on. There are plenty of opportunities that demand my time, but they take attention and time. If they don’t have more value than those three areas of execution in my life, then they don’t get a key place for me. I can’t imagine anything else I would rather be doing.
So how about for yourself? Is it hard to focus? What if you let go of some of the good things to make room for the best things in both commitment and opportunity?