"Blind Focus": The Hidden Killer


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Too often one focuses on the direct goal ahead, to the detriment of a higher goal, which is out of mind because of a passionate narrow focus on the very direct goal one tries to achieve. Such "blind focus" killed many noble aspirations, and very commendable plans. On one hand, one needs a high degree of focus on what is ahead to marshal one's total talent and energy, on the other hand ignoring the higher-up goals may lead to grave consequences. A balance is warranted, but be forewarned, it is a balance which is very hard to achieve!

Here is a somewhat gross but memorable illustration. A poor fellow desires to be a surgeon. He hears about a contest where a brace is put over one's wrist with some contraption that needs to be negotiated to be released. The winner of the contest will get a scholarship for medical school. When the poor fellow can't figure out how to open the contraption he does "what it takes" and cracks his thumb bone to slip through the brace. He wins the contest, earns the scholarship but his right hand is forever without the dexterity needed of a surgeon.

Very often, in personal relationships we "go wild" to influence a loved one to agree to a dinner evening to sort things out. Our intimidation may secure a consent for the evening, but will leave a durable negative impression.

The solution to this danger is in the form of clear mental exercise. Hold in your mind your highest goal in life, and then move mentally to a lower goal that serves it, and then to a still lower goal that serves the first lower goal. And so on until you hold in a mental way the full sequence of goals from the direct one to the highest one. Cast your intended action against this entire sequence to insure that achieving the direct goal does not jeopardize the higher goal the direct goal is meant to serve.

This mental exercise can be ad-hoc and fast, or formal and deliberate. It is hard to stop and do so, very hard, but very important.