Why You Should Focus Only On What Matters
Today I want to speak from the heart. A friend of mine has recently become almost intolerable in his complaining and feelings of discouragement. He is in the IT industry and works for a company that runs him ragged. He doesn’t like his job. It is unrewarding and unchallenging, and he doesn’t see any possibility for advancement in the company he works for—nor would he take any if offered. He is trying to put together the resources and network to launch his own firm, but is struggling to make things happen.
Every time my friend and I meet, he is depressed. He is always down on himself and sees no hope for future success. It’s almost as though, through his eyes, the whole world is conspiring to keep him in the grind of a dead end job.
The other day he told me that he met another IT professional who is also interested in starting his own company. The two of them talked and agreed to get together again to sketch a rough outline for a business plan. I remarked that this was a sign that things were going in his direction. My friend responded by blowing up at me. He dismissed the meeting as so much talk, and told me that he could not live on hope and rosy views of the future. At this point, I had had enough. I rejoined by telling him that I had given no such opinion, that I only told him that meeting this person was an opportunity which he could either accept or reject. Harsher words followed, but my main point was this: focus on what matters.
This is the general attitude that you should take towards your professional life. Success does not come easy. You will have to go through difficult times—in some cases for many years. But getting down on yourself and hating the world will in no way advance you towards your goals. Yes, you are likely to see people who are lazy, silly, frivolous, incompetent, and outright stupid get work that you know you is more suited to your talents. The same sorts of people may even get opportunities that should have been yours.
In the end, however, there is nothing you can do about the fact that the cosmos at times favors fools. You just need to keep focused on the things that matter most to you. Keep plugging away at making yourself better and better in your line of work. And when the chance you’ve been waiting for arrives, you’ll be prepared to make the most of it.
About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.