Updated: Jul 7
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Stephen Covey
It almost sounds TOO simple.
It’s a clever way to say what Stephen Covey believes - that the key to success is keeping your focus on the things that are the most important to what you define as success – and avoid being distracted.
To accomplish this, you must do two things:
First, you must know what success is to you (i.e., what your “main thing” is).
Second, you must pursue the achievement of that goal with all your passion, energy and attention.
It sounds simple until you realize how easy it is to become distracted (from what your Main Thing is) and to take your focus away from what is most important to you.
We are besieged with all kinds of things that demand our attention – and most of them are not as important as our Main Thing.
However, they usually are more urgent.
Covey talks about a concept that was first known as the “Eisenhower Box” – which breaks all tasks into four quadrants, based on a horizontal axis of Urgent vs. Non-Urgent and a vertical axis of Important vs Not-Important.
Usually, your Main Thing can be found in Quadrant II - the Important and Not-Urgent box.
However, our environment is such that we are often rewarded for focusing on Urgent matters – at the expense of More-Important but Less-Urgent matters.
These pressures try to keep us from keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing.
It takes discipline to ignore the distractions, but it is absolutely necessary to accomplish what's most important to you.
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