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  • Chris Kent

The Power of the One-Inch Punch


Bruce Lee was renowned for his “one-inch punch” -- a punch that was delivered at finger-tip length and would knock a grown man back several feet. If you’ve ever seen a video clip of Lee performing the punch, while the strike itself does not look very impressive, the results definitely are. More than simply an act of power, the one-inch punch was a sterling demonstration of the power of applied “focus.” Lee coordinated all parts of his body into a coherent and dynamic whole, focused all of his mind and his body on hitting one target with pin-point precision, and released his force through his fist into the target.

One of the most prominent characteristics of people who are successful or outstanding in a particular field is their ability to focus their energies; energy of thought and energy of action. In whatever they do all of their actions are purposeful and well-directed, and they become so absorbed in what they are doing that they often are oblivious to anything else going on around them.

Focus determines where you choose to put your time, attention and your energy. It allows you to get rid of any distractions and disruptions as you direct all your efforts and resources purposefully in one direction.

Maintaining your focus will allow you to put enormous energy behind the things you choose to do, as well as help you to avoid spreading yourself too thin. Whatever it is you’re doing, whether it’s moving toward a personal goal you want to achieve or building a business, if you are going in several directions at once, you cannot pick up any momentum. Focus will allow you to move to build directed momentum which will move you continuously toward your goal or target. Without such momentum you can end up wasting a lot of your energy, and as a result you may find yourself giving up on your goal or failing to reach your target.

Focus interrelates with principle of “hacking away the non-essentials” in that focus not only tells you what you’re going to do; it also tells you what you’re not going to do. To actively direct your focus on one thing means to not focus it on anything else that is unnecessary, unimportant, and that might distract you or pull your energy away from what you’re doing. . It means to have the ability and also the discipline to say yes only to the most important thing at a particular moment and to say no to all the rest. Steve Jobs, the late co-founder and CEO of Apple, made the following comment concerning focus in an interview –

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”

For each of us, our attention is a powerful force, like the light from the sun. And like the sunlight it can be either diffuse and divided amongst many different objects, or funneled through a magnifying glass into a focused laser-beam of light that has the power to burn whatever it touches.

What is your ability to focus like? Are you able to maintain a laser-like focus and concentrate your personal energies on what you are doing or do you allow your energy to be dissipated on other relatively unimportant or even meaningless activities? Do you have any patterns of distraction that you allow to interrupt your focus?

Focus is one of the most powerful qualities you can cultivate and include in your personal success arsenal. It can help you shape (or re-shape) your life. If you improve your skill to focus your thoughts and actions on anything you want to accomplish you can dramatically improve your productivity, effectiveness, and the results. While you don’t want to wear blinders or become maniacal, you will not achieve anything significant without focus. World-renowned author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar noted, “I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.”

Bruce Lee wrote, "The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus."

Cultivate your own “power of the one-inch punch.” by developing your ability to focus.


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