By Engr. Carlos Cornejo
A good idea is not necessarily a “God idea” says John Mason. He meant that there are many good, noble things in life you can engage yourself in, but you don’t have to, because you will lose your focus. Just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. Would Einstein become a brilliant scientist if he had busied himself on mastering the violin, or be a professional moto-cross biker aside from his scientific explorations? It’s no good to be a jack of all trades and master of none. It’s only when we are focused that we are able to get results. No other key to growth and success is as overlooked as this is. The temptation is always to do a little bit of everything.
John Mason would further advice, “There is power in the word no. No is an anointed word. It can break the yoke of over-commitment and weakness. No can be used to turn a situation from bad to good, from wrong to right. Saying no can free you from burdens that you don’t need to carry right now. It can also free you to devote the correct amount of attention and effort to God’s priorities in your life.” Stephen Covey, in his best-selling book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” says, “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good.’”
One of the wisest advice of many self-help book to achieve success in one’s profession is to be an expert in a certain field, that you become a sought-after person, because of your unique skill that no one else could do. In other words, you are the best in that business. Be the best programmer, the best cook, the best athlete, the best teacher, etc. that you become irreplaceable in your workplace and other companies would love to have you. And this unparalleled status can only be achieved if you focus on where you are good at.
This however would not mean that we lessen our attention on the other important things in our life such as God, family, friends, and relaxation. The focus we are talking of here not only refers to our work or profession but focus as well on other aspects of our life. It means giving ample time to the different roles we have to play in life as a father or mother, husband or wife, office worker, student, a friend to our barkada, etc. Otherwise, our work becomes our life, and will turn us into a workaholic when there’s more to life than just work. C.S. Lewis said when we put second things first (instead of putting first things first), we not only lose the first things but lose both. When we focus only on one thing in life, let’s say, our socializing activities with our friends, and neglect all else such as God, family and work, in the end we destroy our relationships with God and family, our job performance suffers, and we never would really enjoy our social life because of the guilt we carry for having neglected the more important things in life. Prioritizing the first things gives peace of mind and a more enjoyable life.
And lastly John Mason would tell us, “Yes and no are the two most important words that you will ever say. These are the two words that determine your destiny in life. How and when you say them affects your entire future.”