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Razor Sharp Focus





You might ask what intentions, awareness, and razor-sharp focus have in common and the answer is they are critical success factors for change.  Anytime you set a goal to alter the status-quo, you have embarked upon a journey of changing, aiming for a new destination with all the rewards you expect to acquire in support of what you consider to be important.


While you can consider yourself happy and successful with the status quo, even higher levels of happiness and success are possible when you stretch yourself to become all you can be, leaving the safety of your comfort zone to discover new sources of renewal and rewards.  Change is good if you pick a self-improvement goal and self-manage your own effort to attain it. 


If you equate success with picking a goal and achieving it, and most people do,  then you want to find and use a successful, goal-achieving process and use it.  This handbook offers a goal-seeking or change-inducing process based on intention, attention, and a razor-sharp focus.  Belief is also an important success factor, and it's role is discussed, but a detailed discussion on belief and how to get it will be the subject of another handbook,. because its curative, galvanizing, and inspirational role is independently important.  


Many other supportive topics are discussed in this handbook as well besides just knowing what you want and  then doing what you must to get what you want.  For instance, how do you become cognizant of what you wan; goal setting often times gets taken for granted.  Unless you can summon higher levels of awareness, you may never become mindful of these opportunities for self-realization.   So, picking a relevant, personal goal is an important step in achieving success.   Also, the more compelling the goals, those with substantial potential for satisfying your most important values, the more motivation you have to do the work, to pay the price,  to stay the course through trying times.   Finally, you must believe that you deserver the rewards inherent in your goal and that you have the wherewithal to do what it takes to succeed.  Without belief in success, you will be discouraged from even trying.


Unless you have created supportive conditions - sufficient awareness, knowledge, motivation, belief, and a willingness to act - a goal that represents a change from the status quo will be resisted, especially if the goal requires hard work, risk of failure, and the destination lies far outside your comfort zone.  The only way to prepare yourself mentally for change is with the power of intention (commitment), awareness (attention to what needs to be done), and a razor-sharp focus (planning) on the day-to-day work that needs to be done to complete the journey to the desired destination.   If you have picked the right goal, a product of awareness, then the motivation and the willingness to take action will follow automatically.  Even if you don't have the immediate knowledge of knowing the best way to the goal, you can learn as you go.  So, although knowledge, motivation, and action are always important in reaching a goal, if you have applied your self-awareness  properly, not only will you have chosen the right goals for who you are, but also, you will believe have all the wherewithal to create all the conditions necessary to effect the changes necessary to reach your goal.  At this point, you have mobilized yourself as mentally ready to proceed, declared your intention of doing whatever it takes, adopted a can-do belief in your abilities,  and accepted the challenge of staying on the journey, with a razor-sharp focus.  When you have created these condition, you will reap successes beyond your wildest imagination. 


If you fail to implement any one of these four conditions - intention, awareness, belief, and a razor-sharp focus - your chances of successful change is greatly diminished.   Unless you are aware of the deficiencies of your present conditions, or the greater merits of some future state, you will not be cognizant that you have choices for doing anything different.  Only recognized choices can be chosen.   To choose, you must become aware of your choices and balance these choices against your perceived ability to carry them out.  If you make the right choice, you gain motivation, belief,  and a greater willingness to act, despite the difficulty of the work that must be done.


By making a choice, you are automatically committing yourself to doing whatever is required to attain the desired change.   Since you often do not have control over the outcome of your efforts, you must focus on your inputs.  With intention, you are intentionally committing yourself to employing your best efforts, doing your best work, persisting until you have satisfied all conditions so that success is possible.  If any of the outcomes don't work out the first time, you still intend to continue to work towards your goal with other means, continually applying a razor-sharp focus for finding and executing the next right step until the final step is complete, and the goal is reached.


Working on a goal to change the status quo, requires a journey, and constant attention to the work required to move from where you are to where you want to be, your destination.   By keeping a razor-sharp focus on your day-to-day actions, you can move progressively, assuredly, even if only incrementally, towards your goal.


Anytime your best efforts is rebuffed due to unanticipated roadblocks, you must be prepared to reassess the situation, find out what didn't work, and find a work around.  Fortunately, by closely examining the roadblocks, the work remaining to be done will suggest to you what you need to know to succeed.   Collect every lesson learned and reshape your next steps so as to get around the roadblocks on the next try.  With a razor-sharp focus, you persist until you succeed or until you decide that the destination is no longer worth the rest of the journey because you have found an even better goal to strive for.


If you elect change, find the best methods that ensure success.

C. W. Sooter


The Keys to Success


Success is getting a desired result from a dedicated effort directed towards a goal.  As shown in Figure 1 below, three of the key habits that supports success are the habits of intention, attention, and a razor-sharp focus.  To be sure, there are other factors that must be present as well, such as knowledge, motivation, belief, and action, but if you get these three master habits right, independent of anything else you might do, your success rate will skyrocket.    The purpose of this handbook is illustrate how these master habits - intention, awareness, and razor-sharp focus - work and how you can apply them daily in reaching your goals efficiently.  Fortunately, each of these three master skills are completely under your control, whereas belief, another master skill, is not so easily controlled.









Everyone wants to be happy, and most people believe that to be happy and get what they want out of life, they must be successful.  Thus, there is a perceived link between success and happiness, but this handbook does not focus on that linkage, which is weak at best as happiness can be derived from both the pursuit and the successful achievement of goals. The focus of this handbook is the application of three key success factors to the achievement of goals, or said in another way, as applied to affect changes of your choosing to your life.


Mark J. Warner states that success depends on  "the size of your heart, the power of your dream, and your commitment to succeed."[1]  Success in life depends on doing something right, and for those people who find the secret of success and apply it consistently, they ultimately become successful. Whether or not success brings happiness is another matter open to question.


This handbook suggests three characteristics necessary for the successful accomplishment of goals or to effect positive change. .  These three preconditions for success are intention (goal focus), attention (awareness), and a razor-sharp focus on the journey to your destination.  To be sure, there are other factors that contribute to success, but if you have the three master habits, everything else will fall into place as part of the other three.   A few thoughts about success are shared in Table 1, listing some success quotes from various authors.  As you can read, the thoughts about the causes and conditions for success are quite varied.


One of the other key ingredients to success is the willingness to take action, despite uncertainty (incomplete knowledge) and incomplete readiness when the time is right to act.  "Success seems to be connected with action.  Successful people keep moving.  They make mistakes but they don't quit, they just keep on moving."[2]


Table 1 - Success Quotes

Success Quote


There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way. 

Mark J. Warner,

 Enhancing Self-Esteem

Recognize successive approximation, not perfection.

Mark J. Warner,

 Enhancing Self-Esteem

The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is how they handle their failures.  Successful people use failure as a springboard to greatness.

Mark J. Warner,

 Enhancing Self-Esteem

To be successful, you must 1) live your passions, 2) believe in yourself, 3) generate actions, 4) mobilize support, and 5) acknowledge your accomplishments.

Mark J. Warner,

 Enhancing Self-Esteem

Your physical posture, standing erect and beaming with confidence, is your biggest success barometer.

Leil Lowndes, Talking the Winner's Way

Each successfully implemented resolution boosts your spirit, energy, and confidence and leads to more progress.  The key is simply to make a start.

Caroline Arnold, Small Move, Big Change

Success is showing up, particular when it comes to exercise.

Caroline Arnold, Small Move, Big Change


Despite the differences people have in their definition of success, it is irrelevant so long as you can define your own.  If success is achieving a desired end, then whatever your end, you will have better luck achieving it if you follow a proven practice for achieving it.















[1] Mark J. Warner, Enhancing Self-Esteem

[2] Mark J. Warner, Enhancing Self-Esteem






Website last updated on 8/26/16
Copyright 2005 Charles W. Sooter.  All rights reserved.