Single Pointedness · Part 1

Fix your eye on a single purpose

Single Pointedness · Part 1
1
It is only by continued, strenuous efforts, repeated again and again, day after day, week after week, and month after month, that the ability can be acquired to fasten the mind to one subject, however abstract or knotty, to the exclusion of everything else.
The process of obtaining this self-mastery -- this complete command of one's mental powers -- is a gradual one, its length varying with the mental constitution of each person; but its acquisition is worth infinitely more than the utmost labor it ever costs.
2
In this third installment on "Iron Will" by Orison Swett Marden, we hear from Henry Ward Beecher, a 19th century clergyman.
Beecher was one of the most prolific social reformers of all time. From his pulpit at Plymouth Church, he advanced three movements: abolitionism, temperance, and women's suffrage. He auctioned off church pews to fund the freedom of slaves and sent rifles—dubbed "Beecher's Bibles"—to anti-slavery settlers in Kansas. He advised presidents and wrote prolifically.
When Henry Ward Beecher was asked how it was that he could accomplish so much more than other men, he replied: > I don't do more, but less, than other people. They do all their work three times over: once in anticipation, once in actuality, once in rumination. I do mine in actuality alone.
This was by the intelligent exercise of Mr. Beecher's will-power in concentrating his mind upon what he was doing at a given moment, and then turning to something else.
Any one who has observed business men closely, has noticed this characteristic. One of the secrets of a successful life is to be able to hold all of our energies upon one point, to focus all of the scattered rays of the mind upon one place or thing.
The mental reservoir of most people is like a leaky dam which we sometimes see in the country, where the greater part of the water flows out without going over the wheel and doing the work of the mill.
Many a man would have been a success had he connected his fragmentary efforts. Spasmodic, disconnected attempts, without concentration, uncontrolled by any fixed idea, will never bring success. It is continuity of purpose alone that achieves results.
Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose - a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
3
How can you secure the leaky dam of your mind on a single purpose? How can you narrow the current of your will to a fixed point?
> Success demands singleness of purpose – Vince Lombardi
Why is single-pointedness essential for an iron will? Gary Keller examines this question in his book, "The ONE Thing." He likens the story of great achievements to the falling of dominoes. One thing, carefully selected, topples another in ascending succession.
To make miracles, you pick the right goal and, "like a postage stamp," stick to it till you get there. Gary's book culminates in a single question, a mantra, that can radically focus one's efforts.
"What’s the ONE Thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?" This question identifies your leverage point across time. It has you line up the dominoes of your life so that each effort helps topple the next.
To paraphrase General Patton: now that you've decided, you must stay single-minded. Good luck.

Story From

Orison Swett Marden Collection