In this article I’m going to dispel one of the biggest myths that I sometimes see guru’s trying to shove down their client’s throats.
It’s also something I see well-meaning parents and teachers trying to teach kids as well.
What I’m referring to here is the limiting belief that in order to be successful in life you must focus / specialize in one thing and stick to it.
As a blogger, just the idea of that makes me want to throw up.
Origins of Specialization
Up until about 60 years ago, a “well rounded” person was admired by our North American society.
People who knew how to take care of most of the basic things in life, whether it be doing their own taxes, or fixing a leaky faucet, or taking care of a simple cold their kids caught were considered normal people.
For a boy to become a man he had to not only know how to catch a fish, he also had to know how to rebuild a carburetor.
By the mid 1950′s though, everything changed.
Russia launched Sputnik into space, which was the first ever satellite to be launched into space. Overnight, American values changed.
The “well rounded” person was no longer seen as the standard to strive for. The age of the specialist was born.
People who specialized in sciences and technology became our honored heroes. Olympic athletes who spent their entire lives training for the gold medal in the Olympics became the people we were proud of the most.
The Mother who raised six children and juggled a dozen roles in the household, or the Father who juggled a dozen different jobs to make ends meet became irrelevant.
Jack-of-all-Trades became a put-down instead of something to be proud of.
Where has this mad race to “beat the Russians” led us?
I mean, what kind of world do we live in right now where our schooling system doesn’t even teach kids the difference between broccoli and cauliflower?
How is it that high-school graduates know how the computerized fuel injector works in their car, but they can’t even change a tire?
Anyway, I’m digressing. Let’s “focus” back on success.
Success Without Single-Minded Focus
All Your Eggs in One Basket?
Is it possible to be successful in life, without single-minded focus? Yes, in fact I would argue that it’s the only real way to be a truly “successful” human being.
By my definition, anyone who is ultra-successful in one area of their life, but a complete failure in all other areas, is not really successful at all.
When I watched a documentary about Mike Tyson a few months ago, I saw a prime example of this. During his prime years, when Mike Tyson was at the top of his game, the whole world saw him as this hugely successful athlete but in my opinion the Mike Tyson I saw at the end of the documentary is much more successful than the Mike Tyson who we saw when he was world champ.
Being the world champ in boxing doesn’t mean you’re the world champ in life. If you ever get a chance to watch the documentary you will see exactly what a one-sided specialist approach to life does to a human being. His life was completely unbalanced and in shambles.
You don’t have to look far to see many examples of this type of thing all around us. People who do extraordinary things in one area of their lives are admired by our society, but at the same time their lives are a total mess.
As a blogger, one of the things I struggle with from time to time is getting caught up in comparing myself to specialists.
Wanting to become a specialist in a world that rewards specialists can be so seductive.
For example, when I see certain Bloggers achieving great success with their Blogs because they focus on nothing but that one thing, it’s so easy for me to feel frustrated with the growth of my Blog.
When I saw how transformed his body between the first and second Twilight movies, (yes I’ve watched both of them) it’s so tempting for me to want to drop everything I’m doing in my life and just focus on nothing but eating healthy and working out all day.
When I see friends of mine playing 40 hours a week of Warcraft and leveling their characters with Epic gear, I want to drop everything and convert my home office into a Warcraft cave.
When I see Joe Vitale releasing his billionth book, I want to lock myself in a room and write books.
The challenge is that none of these things, in and of themselves define greatness for me. There is always someone else out there who’s going to be accomplishing more than you in some area of your life where you aren’t focusing as much energy right now.
In reality, I have made huge progress and strides in my life this year in many areas.
For example, earlier this year I have gotten my Shoden certificate in the of Traditional Japanese Reiki, and as my wife will attest to I have become a pretty powerful Reiki healer.
In January of this year, this Blog had about 2,000 subscribers and I had several other more “specialized” Blogs started. Since then I’ve successfully combined them all into this Blog and grown my subscriber base to well over 9,000 readers.
I’ve also made huge strides spiritually, building a much deeper and more clear connection to my intuition and intuitive abilities.
I’ve launched two YouTube channels, overcoming any fears I had of making videos and built them up to over 121,000 combined video views from over 600 subscribers and 3,000+ YouTube friends.
I finally learned and became proficient in an awesome belief changing modality called PSYCH-K®, which has helped me and several other people tremendously in the last few months.
I’ve reconnected with the fun hobby, written a book, burned my goals, lost 15lbs and successfully gained it back, found out I’m even more fat than I thought, hired a personal trainer, learned to cook better meals, lost 13lbs again, started mentoring a half-dozen really cool people, learned a crap-load of stuff about SEO and made some really great progress with several of my businesses.
Celebrating Your Successes
One of the best tools you can arm yourself as a scanner / polymath is to learn how to celebrate your successes.
Specialists have pre-established systems for celebrating their successes, but in most cases bloggers don’t.
When a specialist makes great progress in one single area of focus in their life, they get to stand on a podium and accept a gold medal.
When a blogger makes great progress in twenty areas of focus in their life, nobody even notices.
In fact until I started writing this Blog post I didn’t even realize how much stuff I’ve accomplished this year. The stuff I listed above is not even close to being all of it either.
What have you accomplished this year?
Have you celebrated your accomplishments?
If not, I highly recommend doing that.
Making Money Online as a Blogger
A lot of “make money online” courses talk about the need to find a very specific “niche” and become a specialist in that niche in order to make money.
My view on this is a little bit different.
In my opinion, to make money online you should build a Blog that portrays a whole picture of who you are, and not a Blog that just focuses on one topic.
I find single-topic, highly specialized Blogs boring to read and I don’t really find myself drawn to their content.
If I’m looking for a specific piece of advice on a highly specialized topic, I’ll typically just Google for an answer.
Single topic Blogs are like flat characters in a movie script. They seem very boring and unimaginative to me.
So my advice in terms of Blogging is to build a Blog where you can be yourself and Blog about all the different things you’re inspired to Blog about. If you happen to be a specialist with just one central focus in your life, that’s totally fine, but if you have twenty different things you’re passionate about I recommend Blogging about all of them.
Where You Should Focus
Where I do recommend focusing yourself on a specific niche or target customer profile is when you are creating products, services or even when writing Blog posts.
For example, when I wrote my book, my target market was people who believe in the Law of Attraction, and who have experimented with it and haven’t gotten the results they wanted yet.
My target market with that book wasn’t the people who come to my Blog to videos or even those looking for weight loss tips.
When I write Blog posts, I focus on a small, narrow niche. For example, this Blog post is mostly targeting bloggers. People who are looking for fitness or related content probably won’t read this post, and that’s totally fine with me. They aren’t my target for this post.
When I create products, I do the same thing. I focus on a very narrow and specific niche and ideally I only try to solve one problem at a time.
So once again, the thing I would recommend is to build a multi-topic Blog which explores all of the different passions you have in life and your target audience will be as varied as the passions you have in your life, but at the same time only focus on one target profile at a time when writing posts or creating products.
Think of it like a family doctor. On any given day a family doctor might see fifty different patients with fifty different conditions the doctor helps them with, but at any one time the doctor is only focusing on one patient with one condition.
You don’t see doctors going into the waiting room and dispensing group advice, right? It would be silly for a doctor to give a cough syrup prescription to someone with a sprained ankle.
As a Blogger, you don’t have to focus on just one topic, but you should focus on one topic at a time.
This is also true when creating products / services. Focus on solving just one problem at a time.
The next time you hear someone telling you that in order to succeed you need to “focus”, all they really mean is that you need to focus/be present in the moment when you’re doing something. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can only focus on one thing all the time.
That will just create unbalance and frustration in your life.