The Sunday Mail
Milton Kamwendo Hunt for Greatness
You are your focus. Whatever you focus on, you become. If I can see what you focus on, I can tell the person you are. Focus is a magnifier. It is magnetic. You attract the things that you focus on. Whatever you focus on grows in significance and relevance to you. We live in a sea of information, avalanche of shocks and diet of surprises. When the unthinkable happens, the unthinking get frazzled.
Your focus is your reality. To charge towards your greatness, manage your focus. Not everything deserves your focus.
Simplify your chaos by focusing on what matters. You become whatever you study. All excellence is birthed by ferocious focus on what matters.
The three realms of focus are inner-focus, other-focus and outer-focus.
Inner-focus gives you staying power, reveals your values and gives your life bearing. Taking time to reflect, contemplate and journal helps you strengthen your inner-focus.
Whatever turbulence you encounter in your environment matters little when you are grounded within.
Inner-focus gives you stability in turbulence. When rapid and turbulent change in the ground you operate in is faced by an unchanging inner-core, you can survive anything.
Your spirit is stronger than your adversities.
Other-focus relates to your ability to interact with others. Emotional intelligence is an important key to greatness. Never be so blinded by your focus on the prize that you forget that you have people around you.
Outer-focus refers to the way you interact with the environment and whatever is happening around you. There will always be something happening in the environment.
Turbulence is a fact of life. Storms are part of sailing. Chaos is the channel towards growth. Disruption is the key to innovation. Do not fear the winds; you can use them to stir your boat to great shores.
What is not working?
It is easy to focus on what is not working, throw dust about it and call attention to every passer-by. When you focus on what is not working you start to see all the broken and hopeless situations around you.
Focusing on what is not working is the key to misery. You can choose to either be possibility-minded or problem-minded.
You choose your lens. It is all a matter of choice. Do not be pushed around by problems and do not be disarmed by what is not working.
Instead choose to focus on your dreams.
See the things that are working that you can build upon. There is so much that you can do and contribute towards building. The reformation agenda is too big and challenging.
Citizenship in a Republic
Theodore Roosevelt was an American president who left office in 1909. After leaving office, he spent a year hunting in Central Africa before embarking on a tour of North Africa and Europe in 1910.
He attended events and gave speeches in Cairo, Berlin, Naples, Oxford and many other places.
On April 23, 1910, he stopped in Paris and shared a perspective that has changed many and continues to. At 1500 hrs at the Sorbonne, before a crowd that included government ministers, army and navy officers, 900 students and an audience of 2 000 ticket-holders, Roosevelt delivered a speech entitled: “Citizenship in a Republic.”
Moments of greatness are sometimes birthed in ordinary moments.
Your words shape your destiny. Your focus influences many. This speech would come to be more popularly known as “The Man in the Arena”.
It is this man in the arena who should be the prime focus. In the arena you focus on what matters. You are too busy to be distracted.
In this famed speech that distils the essence of focus, Roosevelt touched on his own family history, war, human and property rights, the responsibilities of citizenship and France’s falling birthrate.
He railed against cynics who looked down at men who were trying to make the world a better place.
Those who lose focus look for what is not working and are apt to criticise, lampoon and wail. Choose to be the man in the arena — the protagonist. Get busy with solutions and there is little time for idle commentary for the man in the arena.
Roosevelt cut deep in his speech when he said: “The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer.”
To face life with a sneer is insane. That is to face life with broken focus or flawed reasoning.
Roosevelt continued: “A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticise work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities — all these are marks, not . . . of superiority but of weakness.”
Weakness should never be paraded as strength.
Roosevelt went on to fire the immortal volley that drew huge and multi-generational applause: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Focus on what matters
Whatever you focus on reveal who you are at the core.
There is an old Indian saying that is worth noting: “When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are the pockets.”
Focus on what matters and choose to see what matters.
Indeed there are wicked problems — these are big problems that are nagging and will not easily go away. We all know them.
There are also distant threats. We all feel them. At times we focus on a single issue and forget that some problems can best be understood within the context of a system.
Systems blindness at times causes uninformed blame and irrational actions.
Whatever the situation choose where you will stand: As part the solution or as an accessory of the problem? Focus on what matters.
Indeed, you may have to change your lens. See the present squarely and take account of the big picture.
Reflect on the patterns, systems and messes. Focus is like a muscle, the more you exercise it the stronger it gets.
Learn to focus amidst the chaos. Conditions to unleash your greatness are rarely ideal. Waiting for everything to be perfect is always an exercise in procrastination. Hoping for the reincarnation of the past is an exercise in futility.
You are the person in the arena.
Do what matters to unleash your greatness and make a difference. The hope of generations unseen is reposited in you.
Milton Kamwendo is an international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He is a strategy, innovation, team-building and leadership facilitator. His life purpose is to inspire people to be great. Feedback: [email protected], Twitter @MiltonKamwendo and WhatsApp +263772422634