Focus on what you can control

Focus on what you can control

 26 Oct 2017

“We all carry the seeds of greatness within us, but we need an image as a point of focus in order that we may sprout” – Epictetus

A slave that a Roman Emperor learned from can surely teach us all a thing or two about life in general but this advice can readily be utilised in your search for a new job. The Stoic’s believe that we should focus only on what we can control in all aspects of our life. This is particularly important for our job hunt as there are many different things that are outside our control that can at least affect our motivation levels and ultimately our success in the hunt overall.

We, as job hunters, can look at our focus on different levels. 

Physical focus

Controlling our focus at the physical level - by clearing our desk and working through our (already-designed) job hunt plan one thing at a time without any interruptions from social media, Youtube or anything else we use to procrastinate - will allow us the clarity to achieve our daily goals. It is hard these days to focus in such a way considering most of us have smart phones with our notifications turned on for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, News Feeds etc. Why not make it easier on yourself by turning these notifications off, turning your phone off or even leaving it in another room.

Tim Ferriss likes to batch process his email in the “work offline” mode so that he doesn’t have any further distractions. We can do the same when writing our CV’s and Cover Letter’s by simply turning our Wifi off on the laptop or computer and simply get what we want to do done.

Focussing on one thing at a time is equally important as the work that we are doing will dramatically improve in quality if we can immerse ourselves in it rather than jumping between several jobs at once.

Mental Focus

Focussing on what we can control and not what happens to us can allow us to lighten our mood and our expectations of others as we are only focussing on what we can impact. Looking within and attempting to improve our attitude, interview skills, CV, writing or time keeping is a lot better than moaning about people not getting back to you, how the interviewer never gave you a chance to put across the best examples of your successes or even why you haven’t had one phone call from 30 applications.

Realising that we can choose to put our focus wherever we like is key. Reflect on your job search so far and attempt to understand what it is that you have been focussing on. Are you happy with this? Or can you improve this skill and use it as a tool for helping you find your dream job?


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