Mastering Focus: A Guide to Success in Life and Business

Jonathan Doyle International Motivational Speaker

Discover the power of focus in this episode as Jonathan shares his exhilarating journey up Mount Wellington and the profound lessons he gleaned from Mark Owen’s book, ‘No Hero.’ Join Jonathan as he delves into the concept of the ‘three-foot world,’ learning to concentrate on what truly matters amidst distractions. Gain insights into optimizing your focus, combatting fear-driven distractions, and executing on what’s essential for a successful life.

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    Welcome Aboard

    Hey there my friend, Jonathan Doyle with you welcome to the Daily Podcast. I don’t know if you have ever found yourself, stuck up the side of a cliff with a strong fear of heights. You probably had some kind of experience like that. I know some people who don’t like ladders, but I’m fine with ladders.

    Facing Fear: Lessons from Mount Wellington

    But recently, if you are a regular follower, or if you follow me on Instagram, @jdoylespeaks. I was in Tasmania and spent time on a speaking tour and I had a bit of time off. I decided to run up Mount Wellington. If you haven’t been there to Hobart, it’s an incredible city and Mount Wellington is a very impressive mountain I must say. It dominates the skyline, and it’s why I did this massive run. I’m getting towards the summit and it breaks out of the tree line and you suddenly realize that it’s a long way in there and I’m not so great with heights. I started to just wonder what exactly I was doing up there. So I’ll tell you how that story finished in a sec.

    The reason I’m talking about this is because I’ve been really enjoying a book by a former US Navy seal Mark Owen and the book’s called No Hero. It’s a collection of stories of things that he’s learned through his different training experiences. He tells this story of a rock climbing exercise. He’d had a fair bit of experience, but not a great deal. There’s somewhere outside Las Vegas, going up this massive hill and the training’s being conducted by this local mountain climbing guy. Who’s been doing this forever and knows a lot of the back of his hand. 

    Mark Owen is halfway up this cliff and suddenly begins to get really affected by the height and begins to panic a little bit. And describes looking off the cliff face, seeing Las Vegas in the distance and suddenly being confronted with how high up he was. And so this tour guide or this mountain climbing guy just comes across the rock to him. He’s just so familiar with what he was doing. He was able to just fly across.

    The Three-Foot World Principle

    Adopt the three-foot world principle: focus on what truly matters in our journey

    They had this conversation, and the old mountain climbing guy basically said, “Look, what’d you have to understand is that your world right now is a three-foot world.” Mark asked “What do you mean?” He said, “the only thing that matters in your life right now is the three feet of rock on either side of you. The three feet above you, below you to your left, and to your right. That is, your world is getting called a three-foot world.” He said, “everything else that is beyond that is truly irrelevant for you right now. Your survival, your success, and your progress, It depends entirely on a focus on this three-foot world.”

    So the principle that he taught him was to shrink the entire sensitivity to reality—to the thing that actually mattered—because looking at Las Vegas in the distance wasn’t helping him. Considering how high up he wasn’t helping him. The only thing that actually worked or the only thing that was truly relevant was the three feet of rock, above, below, to the left, and to the right. Because those three feet with the only footholds were places to clip in and clip out that mattered. It was an important invitation to him to shrink his focus to the stuff that mattered.

    Shrink Your Focus, Expand Your Impact

    Narrow your focus to expand your influence

    Back to my experience on Mount Wellington, when I’m going up there, when I get to that, when I break out of that tree line and I’m going up this granite phase. I’m really feeling it because I was worried about it. Panic is the word, but I’ll be really honest about that. I’m just not a huge fan of those kinds of heights. What I did was something that came to me quite intuitively, I just stared at the rock at my feet, and I just kept my head down. I thought looking up is not going to help. There’s some human thing that by the time I got up to the plateau and then to the summit the fear had gone. But it was in that earlier phase when I was confronted with this huge kind of vertigo feeling of space and height.

    If I had allowed my focus to drift away from what was right in front of me, It would have been I don’t know what would have happened, whether I would’ve gone back down or just frozen, but that experience and the one I’m sharing with you from Mark Owen  and these three-foot worlds I think it’s got something to offer us, and I’m going to take a shot at this. 

    I think there are a few things to think about. One is that, to build a successful life and to go after what really matters, you do have to start to shrink your focus. You get so many points of energy in a day, you’ve got to allocate them carefully. You have to think about what your three-foot world really is. So at the moment, for me there’s a very small number of things that I’m really focusing on. I guess it’s my friendships, my family, my faith and it’s building and growing the business that we own. I’m learning to really get my focus down  on the things that are really significant.

    "One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular."

    Defeating Distractions in a Noisy World

    Silence the noise and reclaim our attention for what truly matters

    Can I ask you to think about the level of distraction in our culture, particularly around the modality or the tool of fear? I’m convinced that governments foolishly and consistently use fear as a tool of influence. We are constantly having our attention drawn towards all sorts of relatively abstract fears. Fears  about the economy, fears about geopolitics, fears about health and the planet. The thing is, for most of us, there is pretty much nothing that we can do to influence these things in any significant way. 

    One of the dangers of our culture is the three-foot world that we should be considering gets expanded into this vast array of complexity and confusion, where we’re thinking about all these different things. You think about how social media often works and how the new cycle works. It’s constantly dragging our attention towards things. To be afraid of things that are going to be terrible, things that we can’t do anything about.

    I’m beginning to think that a successful life is a life that requires a certain discipline. That we need to probably shrink our worlds in one sense. Now we can expand our worlds in another sense, in terms of literature and music and being interested in the arts and all sorts of things that take us into the worthwhile consideration of things way beyond our current experience. But that’s not what’s happening with our particular news cycle on social media.

    Your Three-Foot World: Define Your Focus

    Steer yourself towards clarity and purpose in a world filled with endless possibilities

    So, my friend, what is your three-foot world? What is your area that your focus should really be on right now? The thing about life is that we can just trip along each day that we’re not particularly tuned in to paying attention to what that really is.

    We’re in an interesting phase in our business where there’s a huge amount of opportunity for us and a huge amount of work. I’m learning just to get it done and to be very disciplined and strip away those things that are outside my three-foot world because I want to get to the summit as close as I can in this life. I want to do the things that have been given to me to do. If I allow myself to get consistently distracted, that’s not going to happen. 

    So, where’s your focus? Are you time-wasting? Are you procrastinating? Are you letting your attention drift to a whole bunch of things that are not going to move you towards where you want to be. So get back to the basics, get back to the things that you always knew were important. Let’s start executing once again.

    Call to Action

    All right, please make sure you subscribe to the podcast. Hit the subscribe button. You can leave a review on Apple Music or Spotify, wherever you’re listening. That would be awesome. Everything’s on the website: You can find me on Instagram: @jdoylespeaks. On YouTube: @JonathanDoyleSpeaks.

    God bless you, my friend! This has been the Daily Podcast. You and I are going to talk again tomorrow.

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    Jonathan Doyle


    I’m on a mission to liberate the potential of the incredible people that make up your organisation, school, or business.

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