Saturday, February 21, 2015

Singularity of Focus

A Navy Captain was looking out over the horizon of his ship, and in the distance, he saw an island. He called to the XO and had him bring the burliest Marine up on deck. This over muscular Marine came on deck, and presented himself to the Captain.

The Captain looked at the Marine and pointed to the island. “Marine, get me that island.”

The marine shook his head, jumped overboard, and started swimming. Two days later the Marine came back, with the deed to the island.

This is not about Marines or Captains in the Navy, both I respect with all sincerity, and when it was told to me, it was a derogatory joke about Marines; I took out some of the joke to illustrate my point about Singularity of Focus.

As in the previous story, I have a Singularity of Focus. This can be a blessing and a curse. 

A couple of months ago in my “Brick and Mortar,” which is an inbound call center: My boss gave me a challenge. He looked at me, and said “I want you to take 25 calls, and if you do I will get you a logo branded shirt.”

I took 30 phone calls, not because I am a wonderful employee, but because I have a singularity of focus. Now I kept that pace up for a couple of months and kind of got burnt out, but I was focused on making a lot of calls and I did make my goals every week. More importantly, I wanted to make those goals. This is where my Singularity is a blessing.

On the other hand.

My son and daughter-in-law went on a cruise hosted by the group “Train” and they really enjoyed their time, and my wife and I watched their children while they were gone. They came back, and I took them back to their home (over 150 miles away). 

With my focus on taking my grandchildren back to their house. There was a bucket with their toys, clothes and two bags of food. I loaded the stuff in the car, and we headed up to their house. We were about 45 minutes early, so we visited my mom, but we got the kids to their parent’s house at the time we agreed on.

I got home in time to get my wife from work; however I received a text from my daughter-in-law. I forgot to pack the pillows, blankets, diapers, toothbrushes and toothpaste. 

My Singularity of Focus had me programmed to take the kids home, I did ask my son if everything was gathered from upstairs, but he is a teenager, so my mistake for taking him at his word.

So I messed up. My daughter-in-law is angry at me, my wife if bewildered and my grandkids are upset because they do not have their stuff. This is where the Singularity of Focus is a curse.

To learn from this mistake, I suppose I have to be a little less focused on the small things, and look at a bigger picture. 

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