A Roman Emperor’s valuable advice on empowering focus and taming distractions

A Roman Emperor’s valuable advice on empowering focus and taming distractions

In today’s post, we would like to delve into the profound significance of focus, whether in the context of an individual or an organization pursuing its goals.

Focus is the fundamental ingredient for life-changing growth.

Nowadays, it’s incredibly easy to lose focus, particularly in our hyper-connected era, which is full of distractions. Nevertheless, focus is arguably more crucial than IQ. It doesn’t matter how intelligent or talented a person is or how many resources an organization has; without focus, all efforts will fail to converge towards meaningful targets, and this will lead to underachievement. Concentrating on the right aspects can create value for both an organization and an individual.

Marcus Aurelius, one of history’s most successful Roman Emperors, practiced the art of focus even in the darkest times of his reign. His insights are immortalized in his famous philosophical work “Meditations,” written during a challenging period for the Roman Empire. Let’s explore a few selected passages - advices on how to concentrate and avoid distractions:

“The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.”

“Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being; remind yourself what nature demands of people. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.”

“‘If you seek tranquility, do less.’ Or (more accurately) do what’s essential… Which brings a double satisfaction: to do less, better. Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’”

"Practice even what seems impossible. The left hand is useless at almost everything, for lack of practice. But it guides the reins better than the right. From practice.

“[do] external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. But make sure you guard against the other kind of confusion. People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work.”