The skill is called concentrated persistence.
Working in many different groups, I noticed every group that successfully accomplished the tasks would have had at least one person with such skill. My personal goals were achieved when I possessed this skill. Finally, great people become such partly because of it.
Let me first provide you with a definition. Concentrated means focused, specific, consistent effort towards a single goal at a time. Persistence – denotes one’s attitude to work on the goal until he/she is successful. Such an attitude does not accept failure. Concentrated persistence is a skill where the person focuses the mind, the body, the spirit on a single job, and works on it until completed to the best of one’s ability.
Why is this skill important?
The question that many millennials ask themselves is “What do I want to do?” This is a wrong question. The question should be: “What can I do now? Where can I use my skills? How can I develop them?” Small actions made big dreams and business ideas a reality. Take Richard Branson. He didn’t think of the scale Virgin is today, but instead took the skill set he had at the time to do whatever he could to grow his company into what it is today.
It is human nature for us to be obsessed with what we want to have in life. Whether that is building a great business or other various things. Yet if we always focus on what we want, instead of focusing on what we can do right now, we will always be in doubt to achieving what we desire. This principle goes for any big idea. Therefore being successful in the day-to-day, current activities you are involved in, often is a matter of your own self-awareness of your personal strengths and talents.
Consistent and directed effort to complete everyday tasks will create inner confidence in one’s ability and allow for greater projects to be undertaken. It is foolish to think that you can run a business or become truly great in a profession without mastering the skill of consistent effort and focus on a personal level.
What are the two factors contributing to the lack of this skill amongst millennials?
1) Online world. Social networks and media, even though being unbelievably helpful tools in many respects, have created a major burden for the millennial generation. This burden is called a constant distraction. Messages and news that come as push-notifications and the over-whelming media content, for example on YouTube or Instagram, diminish one’s ability to concentrate.
In fact, research reveals that many aspects of our cognitive performance such as attention have shown to be significantly reduced in environments where we have access to our smartphones. Further studies have even hypothesized smartphones to be a contributing factor to rising rates in ADHD due to their impairment of the frontal lobe in our brain.
2) Lack of work ethic. Unlike in the past, nowadays many things are simplified. For example, you don’t have to wash the clothes by hand instead just press the button on the washing machine and it will do it for you. Such changes in people’s everyday life have caused general “laziness”. Millennials are ready to put much less effort into completing different tasks than the previous generations.
The way forward…
Considering the two factors mentioned above, acquiring the skill of concentrated persistence is possible when you gain complete control over your distractions. Yes, it is very difficult, but not giving up at the first sign of struggle will build up your work ethic and therefore develop your persistence.
A good starting point may be your studies. Unlike the world of business or any other personal initiative, the amount of work you put into your studies is proportional to the exam results you get. In this sense, even boring subjects you can turn to your advantage by focusing on mastering the skill of concentrated persistence. This is the real value I see in taking any degree, even if it is not relevant to your mission.
Take-home message. If you are a young and an aspirational individual, ask yourself whether you have this skill. Sincerely respond to the question. If you don’t, take action and begin to develop concentrated persistence in your everyday life. Once it is mastered on a personal level, your dreams may become more visible and achievable.