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The Problem With Focus

January 12, 2023
The Problem With Focus

In our modern world, there’s an inherent battle for our attention. Children, smartphones, client emails and calls, and other noise all seem to block out our ability to be singular in our focus. It’s no different in Sales. Our attention cannot be divided amongst outside elements. Why is this important to our success?

From Phys Ed to Mr. Ed

We’re in luck, because we can learn a lot from horses. Horses have been shaped to minimize the distractions and fears around them. Can we do the same?

We tend to think of horses as modern animals with no real predators hunting them. That is only partly due to humans domesticating some for our own use, and then attempting to keep them as safe as possible. But horses have always been prey animals. And as such, they need to see all predators who might be approaching them for a meal.

For this reason, a horse’s field of vision is about 350 degrees. The only blind spot is directly behind them. Horses are also notoriously skittish, meaning they spook easily. They can be set off by something as dangerous as traffic to something as small as a harmless butterfly. And if something frightens a horse once, it is likely to remember and file it away as dangerous, causing fear or a spooking effect each time.

When a horse believes it is in danger, the fight-or-flight response kicks in, and flight almost always wins. Their instincts have historically proven them correct, and quickly distancing themselves from danger have kept them alive as a species. This fear is so real to them that most horses take naps while standing!

But humans have long needed an animal like a horse for transportation between destinations, for riding during war, and for herding cattle. Have you ever seen a Western movie without one? But how did we keep horses from becoming frightened too easily and running away

Equine Intervention

What could prevent horses from getting spooked while pulling carriages, or even becoming distracted during races? The answer was to limit their vision if they were to become domesticated and function successfully for the roles given to them. Introducing… blinders.

Blinders (also called blinkers) effectively solved multiple problems with one invention. With a horse’s vision limited, it would be able to ignore crowds on sidewalks and other animals approaching its rear during races. This eliminated the mental process of deciding if something was a predator or not and it gave the animal what we call tunnel vision.

Tunnel Visionnoun
a fixation on only one objective, course of action, etc.

With these obstacles conquered, horses became very important to our society as humans, whether as transportation or settling vast areas of a country. Are there lessons to be learned from this and how tunnel vision applies to our focus?

Running in Circles

Dr. Steven Covey used to talk about the circle of concern versus the circle of influence.

The circle of concern: Draw a big circle, and everything that you’re concerned about in your life is in that circle of concern. That can be your income. It can be your job performance. It could even be world hunger and global warming. But within that circle of concern is a much smaller circle called the circle of influence.

The circle of influence: Look inside the big circle of concern and find only those things which you have control over. This tends to be our self and our own decisions.

What happens is that some people focus on the circle of concern. They focus on things over which they have no control. But if you study the successful, you will see that winners always focus on the circle of influence. Me, my decisions, my choices, and how do I react to the opportunity in front of me? The only thing I control is my preparation and my reaction.

Down the Stretch They Come

In Sales, what is our objective or our course of action? It’s the next opportunity, the next conversation, the next prospect. And without tunnel vision, the next prospect will feel my lack of connection, my distraction. We cannot let distractions take away our lifeline.

We need to stop the world, put on our blinders for tunnel vision, and focus on what’s really important if we are serious about success. And always, always ask for the order.

My new online training program, the Profit Paradigm, can help you learn to embrace the best focusing techniques to bring you the biggest sales. Contact Us to find out more about this program.

Remember: You can’t win the race if you can’t focus.