Concentration is my motto – first honesty, then industry, then concentration. – Andrew Carnegie
What does that mean?
He starts his business strategy with honesty and industry, but after that, concentration is his big point, his motto. Honesty is first in business, that should be obvious. Industry, in this context is to be usefully busy, the reasons for this practice in business should be equally obvious.
He finishes up with concentration. Concentration in this context, I believe to mean focus, both in product and in practice. Other ways to say it is to have a “laser sharp focus on…” or “do one thing and do it well.”
Why is concentration important?
For the purpose of this post we will take concentration to be focus, the opposite of dilute. This focus can be a narrow product line, a specific service or just the act of the executives keeping their mental focus on the business and keeping it moving forward.
While diversity has it’s place at the corporate level, a business typically does one basic task and endeavor to do it well. Whether it’s a product or a service, the business is typically focused on a product. Just think of the big businesses and what they do. There are a few that have diversified into related fields (handbags into luggage), but many are run as a separate business within the corporation.
There is other thing I want us to consider about concentration. Think about a concentrated drink, how does it taste before it is mixed down (diluted)? Very strong, with all it’s traits exaggerate, right? A tart drink will put a week-long pucker on your face, a sweet drink will be sweet beyond tolerance. That’s an example of concentration in real life.
Where can I apply this in my life?
We have talked about business up to this point as Mr Carnegie was a very successful businessman and philanthropist. I believe this can also be used by ‘normal’ people, people who aren’t running a business.
So how do ordinary people apply a business tycoon’s advice to their daily lives? Remembering that the opposite of concentration is dilution, can you remember a time when you felt like you were going a dozen different directions all at the same time? Perhaps in school, at your first job, or just chasing your kids around.
How much more efficient are you if you are focused on one task? The idea here is to streamline you life, to find the things that don’t provide much of a return (in terms of reward for the amount of time and effort it takes) and trim them back. Hopefully that will help you concentrate on the things that are more important.
As an example, if you break the tip off a pencil, you could get up and sharpen it immediately, or you could just grab another one and keep going. Which dilutes you, and which helps you be concentrated (and keep your mental concentration)?
Grab some paper and write down all the things you do in a typical day, either at work, at home, with your family or whatever. Once you have a list, try to put some prioritization to the list. Which things absolutely have to be done immediately, which can be delayed, which can be delegated to someone else, and which ones can be put off or ignored?
Now you have an idea how you can start to focus on the most important things in your life. This is an exercise you can repeat as often as needed, in whatever aspect of your life you need. Try it any time you feel diluted, frazzled, or pulled in a dozen directions. Figure out what really matters and concentrate on it.
Working with this quote might not make you rich and famous, but it just might help you become a more fulfilled and a happier person. And I think that one of the best rewards one can end up with.
From: Twitter, @motivatquotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/andrewcarn165864.html
Photo by Candie_N