Focus is Saying No to Things Even if They’re Good Ideas

Focus is power. When decided, committed and executed relentlessly, it leads to strategies that define new industries and new standards. It leads to memorable products and services that redefine or create new categories, while also enhancing people’s lives. Yet, focus is a very rare skill.

Why do we have such a difficult time focusing? In the realm of business, it’s because we’re wired to follow the herd; and also because of featuritis, which is the belief that adding more makes something better. There is a principle that the most focused companies follow that others don’t: the difference between average results and exceptional ones is what you avoid.

I found this tweet below which talks about focus from the perspective of avoiding good ideas. The image is from Focus to Win

From the article:

What focus means is saying no to something that you, with every bone in your body, you think is a phenomenal idea and you wake up thinking about it, but you say no to it because you’re focusing on something else.

As I mentioned in my comment above, to me focus is addition by subtraction. What you gain from saying no to other ideas and getting distracted is intensity, which gives you the upper hand in a world that’s abundantly unfocused.

Jony Ive called the late Steve Jobs the most focused person in the world because saying no is hard. Nobody knew that better than Steve Jobs, who said:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.

What do you think?