The 365 Commitment

Singularity of Purpose

I would proffer that above all other things, the most important ingredient of success is singularity of purpose. If you were to take an average person of average intelligence and stack them up against a genius, if you gave the average person a single purpose, a dedicated goal than they would far out achieve the genius. I have often wondered this when considering great human feats of success. Bobby Fischer, at age 29 defeated Boris Spassky to become the World Chess Champion in 1972. Now, Fischer probably was a genius. Both he and Spassky were both reported to have the same IQ level, at 181. Just for reference, anything above 130 is supposed to be very superior or among the top 2 percent of intelligence in the human population. Most people theorize that Einstein would have had an IQ of around 160. So Bobby Fisher had an off the charts brilliant mind.

However, what had the greatest impact on Bobby Fischer’s ability to beat almost everyone in his generation at chess? Was it the fact that he was just brilliant or was it more the fact that he spend every waking hour of his day focused on playing through chess games of other grand masters? Bobby became a international grand master of chess at the age of 15 (youngest at the time), he became that way because he had already poured more hours into the game then most any other chess players do in their lifetime. Sure it helped that he was brilliant, but the only way he became phenomenal was his singularity of purpose.

If you think about it, you do not have much control over the mind that you were born with. You might be able to work on exercises to improve your intelligence a bit, but at the end of the day the only real thing that you have control over is what you chose to focus on. The more you focus your efforts in a singular direction the more success that you will have. Many people do not have the maniacal focus that overwhelming success will produce. If someone to ask me, what was the single greatest ingredient to any success that I have had in life, I would respond with one word, focus. Now, having said that, I have not been very focused in my life. Although I have generally been targeting a specific career path, I have sort of bounced around a bit and as a consequence lost a bit of focus from time to time. The result is that I have had some success, but imagine if I had been focused on one particular and concrete path? What would that have produced?

Having said that, having to much of a singular focus can produce less than desirable results. I have had time to stop and smell the flowers so to speak. Enjoy friendships, raise a family, spend time figuring a few things out. I am not sure I would ever trade any of that in, so perhaps if I measure success in different ways, I might find myself one of the most successful people on the planet. However, looking at success through the lens of financial independence, then you have to realize that there is not enough time during the day, a week, a month, a year, or a lifetime to allow for anything less than a single dedication of purpose. The pursuit that you wake up to and go to bed with type of purpose.

How many people in all of humanity, find a way to focus on a single purpose in life? I would indicate not many, and as a consequence we do not have very many successful people. Success, therefore, is contingent upon a person’s willingness to focus and put in the effort required to produce the success. If a 8 year old child can spend seven years of focus on something and become a decent chess player, then any one of us could focus on a singular path and produce similar results. I will remind you that Bobby Fisher, although a child prodigy, became a Grand Master at 15 – it still took him 15 more years after that to claim the title of World Champion. Mozart was also a child prodigy. Mozart wrote his first symphony at age 8, but his greatest works were not produced until he was around the age of 32. So, once he reached full competency, it took another 30 years to become legend. You will see this is the trend every where. The myth that you are suddenly discovered and you just can produce greatness is a complete and false narrative that we seem to fool ourselves with. What produces the works of genius, is not intelligence or some amazing natural talent, it is the singularity of purpose for an extended period of time.

So if you really want to be successful at something, you really just need to commit to it and put in the time.

Guy Reams

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share the Post:

Recent Blogs

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x