“Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind,” … so wrote George Orwell, author of the book, 1984.
Orwell coined phrases or new definitions of phrases like: Big Brother, newspeak, doublethink, thought police, and more.
What’s the Enemy?
One of the central themes of 1984, which took the world by storm, was the government of the future would so control the news and thoughts of all communication that they would control your life. Truth would be lost because it would be reduced to a whimper, and all you would be left with was the monotone voice of Big Brother.
Reality is almost the exact opposite but with potentially the same result. Truth may be lost but not from being muffled but from being drowned out. Today the challenge is not that you don’t get enough information. You get too much. It’s not that you no longer have options. You have too many.
The attempt here is not to whine. The attempt is to clarify.
Your greatest need in life and business may not be to find but to filter.
In a day where advice, ideas, information, and opportunities are everywhere, the best advice might be in one simple biblical word – sanctify.
It may sound boringly religious to you, but it could be the most powerful life and business truth you hear within the din of the present culture.
The concept began in the Old Testament where God challenges the Israelites to take otherwise common (though beautifully made) objects like bowls and utensils and sanctify them (set them apart) to a single purpose – to be used to glorify and worship God.
Every part of that biblical challenge is apropos to your present life and business.
To sanctify meant to set apart or literally, “to make other.” It’s as if God understood that, of all the things you might do with a thing, using it exclusively for its intended purpose is the most superior. In reality, there is no “as if.” It is what God knows; it is what he has designed; it is an irrefutable law of economy.
Every job has more options than are beneficial. Every ability has more potential options than productive uses. The attraction of new or other is always present. Yet single focus, while it seems too simple, is the most powerful. God painted that picture for Israel in living color.
How many things are on your to-do list? Add to that – your want-to-do list, your urgent list, the monkeys that people would try to put on your desk (what they-want-you-to-do) list.
Are you gutsy enough to simplify, to sanctify, your focus?
Once objects were sanctified, they weren’t allowed to be used for anything else. But beyond restricting their use, it also limited what could be used. Otherwise, it was both a filter and a focus.
To filter is to eliminate distractions. When I was growing up, my grandfather had incredible flower gardens. People would come from neighboring states just to see them. For him, any plant that was not the intended flower in the intended place became a weed – even if that “weed” was a beautiful flower. In business and life that means leaving a lot of things on the table – money that could be made, opportunities that could be pursued. If you are going to sanctify your life, you are going to have to make some tough decisions. What really matters? What is your life and business really about?
What can make this frustrating is some of the things we need to eliminate look shiny, and some of things we need to keep feel mundane.
The payoff is focus amplifies the results – from lightbulb to laser. It means you are going somewhere in a hurry. So choose well.
To get serious about your filter and focus creates an “all your eggs in one basket” and “no plan B” feeling. It’s risky.
Drill down into what this says about the way you are doing business right now.
Consider these facts: It takes approximately 0.4 seconds for the fastest pitches to reach the batter’s box. In that short time, the batter needs to view the pitch, determine rotation, speed and angle of flight, and almost immediately make a swift decision to swing or to hold. Noting that the swing itself takes approximately 0.20 seconds and that the brain takes about 0.03 seconds to process the event, a skilled batter has about 0.17 seconds to act.
Baseball players who have achieved greatness at the plate have done so by persistently keeping their eyes on the goal at hand: connecting with the ball.
Entrepreneurs must likewise keep their eyes and focus on their companies. They achieve greatness by avoiding any situations that might distract them.
– Alan Hall, Forbes, Nov. 3, 2012
To commit to swing is to risk whiffing. It’s one thing for the pitcher to throw a strike. It’s another for me to swing and miss. If you are focused in the wrong direction or if you are missing a key component, the error can become powerfully evident.
In defining your direction, how would you define your ultimate why? Is it about you, or is it something bigger than you? That’s a question you need to answer.
To worship God is not a religious duty it is a life altering opportunity. This part of sanctify is not an analogy; it’s a direct challenge. Will you leverage your purpose for His?
The ultimate shiny is the immediate. The ultimate impact is eternal. To choose to relegate your dreams for His is an absolute game changer. It’s creating legacy at the highest level. It’s the ultimate risk with the highest stakes.
The best succinct description of this challenge I’ve seen is from Jesus himself. Check them out. Sanctify your business.