A few days ago, I was in my house—watching a movie and in the course of watching it, I was able to glean a very powerful and thought-provoking lesson that I want to share with you. I am very sure it is going to change your life and leadership forever! Applying to your life and leadership—what I want to share with you will save you from the pitfall that those ahead of you fell into, either dying before their time or moving from success to failure.
In the movie under consideration at this moment, a father and son were warriors and were both on the frontline, fighting against a common enemy. As the father was killing people with the edge of his sword, the son also was doing same. All of a sudden, after killing an enemy, the father looked towards where his son was—to celebrate and—praise him for doing extremely well on the frontline; he got distracted and lowered his guard. And within a few seconds, the son got killed!
When I saw what happened to the son who got killed, I paused and thought (for a long time) on how slippery it is to walk on the banana peel of distraction. You do not need either a gun or sword to kill an effective warrior or successful leader, what you need do is to distract them. What either a gun or sword cannot do, distraction will get the job done!
Distraction kills successful leaders faster than either a gun or sword. Some months ago, I was teaching somewhere and I taught them that it is very easy to befuddle and distract a farsighted man or woman. Very easy! All you need to do is to give him a different vision from the one God gave him or her. In fact, a good vision can be a distraction if it is different from your vision!
It was his father who—praised him prematurely and ahead of time that got him distracted and ultimately, he got killed on the frontline. His father should have waited till the end of the war before praising him. Many leaders have lost out today in life and business, because they allowed the premature praises of men enter their heads, thereby causing them to lower their guards and ultimately lost their edge either in business or life!
Nothing distracts budding-leaders more than premature praises of men! On the condition that you do not know how to handle premature praises of men, you will either die prematurely as a leader or lose your edge too quickly in leadership in your field of business. When people start praising you prematurely, politely ignore them and remain focused.
Now, what does the law of distraction in leadership say? It states that the more distractions we have, the less we can achieve in life, leadership and business. The truth is; creativity and focus flow in the direction of our attention; therefore, the more distractions we have, the less creative we become. And in 21st century, there are too many things that distract. Remember, you cannot be both distracted and creative at the same time.
Taking this crucial issue further, according to a recent study by the University of California, it takes about 30 minutes to get back on task after being distracted! Therefore, the post-distraction period in many cases is way more detrimental than the distraction itself. Distraction costs successful leaders valuable time, energy and the ability to engage in quality, meaningful thinking. This is why you are not allowed to be distracted as either a leader or would be leader!
As I begin to coast home this week, you need to know that it is impossible to become an effective leader without being focused. Effectiveness and distraction are like two parallel wires that can never meet. One of the wars that you will need to consistently fight in order to remain effective as a leader is to keep kicking distraction out of your life. This is very crucial, on the condition that you want to remain effective in leadership.
Nothing kills focus more than distraction! And to be productive in leadership, you must always be focused. I fight distractions in my life and leadership almost every-day in the last 26 years, so as to remain focused and productive. You want to remain focused and productive as a leader in this day and time? Then get ready to keep fighting the ugly and draining lady of distraction.
Lastly, your generation’s toughest battle will be against distraction. Attention (and focus) is as scarce as an eagle in this day and time. Why? It is because things that distract are too many today. Successful people do just one thing without being distracted till they excellently deliver it for the benefit of mankind. When folks invite them to run after what they call ‘more noble assignments,’ they know how to politely say no to them, because they know that no assignment is nobler than the one they are pursuing! From today, as a leader, refuse to be distracted again, because you cannot afford to walk on the banana peels of distraction!
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