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[Review] Extreme Focus

How does one truly achieve one's dreams? What are the secrets behind ultra-successful folks who make a "dent in the Universe"? The answer according to NBA Orlando Magic's Senior Vice President Pat Williams and author Jim Denney is "Extreme Focus". With the subtitle "Harnessing the Life-Changing Power to Achieve Your Dreams", "Extreme Focus" provides an inspirational and informative read to anybody keen to make a difference in their professional and personal lives. With numerous quotable quotes such as "Goals are Dreams with Deadlines", the book spurs one to take firm and daily action in order to attain remarkable results in one's career and life. Peppered with numerous examples from sports, entertainment and business including basketballer Michael Jordan, hotelier Conrad Hilton, Starbucks head honcho Howard Schultz and Olympic runner Sir Roger Bannister (the guy who first broke the 4-minute mile in 1954), Extreme Focus urges you to throw yourself wholeheartedly into the profession of your passion. With words that literally jump out of its pages - like a mentor or coach speaking directly at you - the book provides a persuasive case for the virtue of unwavering focus. The core of "Extreme Focus" is a 10 Key strategy to achieving one's dreams, which are as follows:

1. Extreme Focus is the Key to Achieving Your Dreams.

In the words of Nike, "Just Do It!" By achieving extreme focus, one can enjoy peak performance while learning to screen out distractions, doubts and fears. It involves both thinking the right thoughts and eliminating the wrong thoughts.

2. Focus on Your Passion in Life.

Here, we're taught to "focus on the one thing in life that you are truly passionate about - then pursue it with all your might" and to be a "doer, not a dabbler".

3. Focus on Tomorrow.

Fail to plan and plan to fail. Set short-range, medium-range and long-range goals and put them up somewhere where you can see them daily and be inspired.

4. Focus on Today.

Carpe Diem! Seize the Day. Here, we're taught to use the Grab 15 Principle (dedicate 15 minutes every day to do the important long-term stuff), and to be so focused that we get "in the zone". Meditate on positive beliefs, and overcome self-doubt, self-limiting assumptions, fear or laziness.

5. Focus on Self-Discipline.

Learn to commit yourself to positive habits and diligence, and strive for quality. Adopt a disciplined work ethic and embrace it as a lifestyle.

6. Focus on Things You Can Control - and Let Go of Everything Else.

The Serenity Prayer is a good example for us to follow here. Instead of being a control freak, we should focus on the stuff that we can control and release the rest.

7. Focus on Your Courage and Confidence.

Shine the spotlight on your courage - not your fears. Be bold, take calculated risks and ignore what others think when what you do is right. Be a player and not a spectator.

8. Focus on Commitment.

When you affix a certain goal in your heart and mind, stick to it and prevail over obstacles and opposition. Develop mental resilience and never give up or give in.

9. Focus on Leadership and Influence.

Think teamwork and how you can influence others in a positive manner to achieve bigger dreams. The seven disciplines of leadership are: vision, communication skills, people skills, character, competence, boldness, and servanthood.

10. Focus - and Finish Strong!

Just like Randy Pausch of the "Last Lecture" has shared, brick walls are there to stop other people - not you. To win the race, you need to stay focused, persevere and keep fighting the good fight. If you're looking for inspiration, motivation and perhaps that little "kick in the butt", "Extreme Focus" is the book for you. Let me end with a paragraph from the final chapter of the book as a word of encouragement:
"What is your dream? What is the passion that drives you and motivates you and won't let you go?..... Believe in your dreams. Don't let anyone take it from you. Follow it with an intense passion. Pursue it with relentless focus. Never give up. Never let go. Never stop fighting for the things that truly matter."

Walter is a seasoned marketer and publicist with almost 19 years of experience in marketing, communications, social media engagement, events management, strategic planning and corporate development. A judge of the Singapore Blog Awards, he blogs at Cooler Insights.

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