You’ve tried everything, but you’re still stuck. Your question: “Why can’t I focus?” Here’s why.
Sometimes you need to thread the needle. Very difficult to do when you can’t see what you’re doing, though. The question is: what’s wrong with my vision? It has to do with a little guy called a hedgehog.
Here he is.
Cute, isn’t he? But don’t be deceived. This little guy represents an powerful concept when it comes to correcting your “vision” problem. (Meaning: what is your vision for where this project is going, anyway?) What this little guy represents is the “hedgehog concept” made popular by Jim Collins in his now famous business book, Good To Great. Here’s the big idea, from the book:
Check this out.
In his famous essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” Isaiah Berlin divided the world into hedgehogs and foxes, based upon an ancient Greek parable: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
The fox is a cunning creature, able to devise a myriad of complex strategies for sneak attacks upon the hedgehog. Day in and day out, the fox circles around the hedgehog’s den, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. Fast, sleek, beautiful, fleet of foot, and crafty—the fox looks like the sure winner.
The hedgehog, on the other hand, is a dowdier creature, looking like a genetic mix-up between a porcupine and a small armadillo. He waddles along, going about his simple day, searching for lunch and taking care of his home. The fox waits in cunning silence at the juncture in the trail. The hedgehog, minding his own business, wanders right into the path of the fox. “Aha, I’ve got you now!” thinks the fox. He leaps out, bounding across the ground, lightning fast.
The little hedgehog, sensing danger, looks up and thinks, “Here we go again. Will he ever learn?” Rolling up into a perfect little ball, the hedgehog becomes a sphere of sharp spikes, pointing outward in all directions. The fox, bounding toward his prey, sees the hedgehog defense and calls off the attack. Retreating back to the forest, the fox begins to calculate a new line of attack. Each day, some version of this battle between the hedgehog and the fox takes place, and despite the greater cunning of the fox, the hedgehog always wins.
One little thing.
Hedgehogs don’t ask “Why can’t I focus?” They just do the one thing that they do, and it works. Here is a graphic summary of the concept, also from the book:
Do you see?
Take your passion, your talent and what works economically. At the intersection of these three circles of concern is your Hedgehog Concept. Just one little statemement about who you are and what you do — powerful enough to survive a pandemic; simple enough for a child to understand. Dont get me wrong: it takes a lot of work to simpify your life to the place where you are clear about who you are, what you bring — and how you thrive. But once you do, your vision will become as clear and as elegant as a hedgehog.
If you’re asking “Why can’t I focus?” get to work on your hedgehog concept. You’ll be amazed at how clearly you see what comes next.
Want more help?
I can help you focus.