The educated man chooses the best of what he sees, and in that choice is where he mostly ends up getting the worst. A focused mindset aside from its advantages carries with it a certain amount of narrow-mindedness or short-sighted behaviour.
What you gain & lose with a focused mind…
A person chooses what he is offered, never to even consider the limitless possibilities that lie outside of the table on which he eats, ignorant of the fact that what is served is only a small & specifically tailored menu compared to the options available to him in reality.
The absence of a long-range perspective in our daily lives makes us vulnerable to most of the challenges we face on our respective paths. This unpreparedness or as mentioned earlier- our dominant narrow-mindedness, makes an easy-to-overcome challenge seem like a wall of piling pressure, that unexpectedly rears its ugly head like an unconquerable beast.
This is the inherent disadvantage of a focused mind. The same focus which enables us to execute currently undertaken tasks (be it a project, assignment, goal or whatever) with subjectively flawless efficiency, adds consequential blind spots which isolate other aspects of the undertaking itself or significant components of life in general.
When you focus on making a living, you forget the concept of ‘living’…
We only train to improve those skills which are relevant and will help us in reaching our goal. That goal, the target, the position, where we have to reach is the only thing we are trained well for, excluding the primordial level attributes that in the first place define our fitness and our abilities as a valid candidate for that task.
American Keynote Speaker, Educator, Author and Businessman, the late Stephen R. Covey, tersely addresses the personal side of these human attributes.
Most people prefer to work on their appearance or personality, not on their character. The former may involve learning a new skill or style or image, but the later involves changing habits, developing virtues, disciplining appetites and passions, keeping promises, and being considerate of the feelings and convictions of others.
And because of such rigid learning systems in place, we end up working only on things like, social status, position, fame etc skipping out on the significance of virtue, discipline, character etc. Stephen categorized these vital and auxiliary traits into primary and secondary greatness.
In a social or academic system, you may make favorable first impressions through charm; you may win through intimidation. But secondary personality traits alone have little worth in long-term relationships. True motives eventually surface.
Many people with secondary greatness – social status, position, fame, wealth or talent – lack primary greatness or goodness of character. And this void is evident in every long-term relationship they have whether it is with a business associate, a spouse, a friend or a teenage child. It is character that communicates most eloquently.