From the “The Principles and Patterns of Building… Everything!”
A BEAUTIFUL LIVING, LLC Masterclass Series
The Principle of Focus
The third principle of the Law of Organization, in the overarching theme of “The Principles and Patterns of Building…Everything!,” is the Principle of Focus. In my last blog post “Part II: The Law of Organization and The Principle of Vision,” we talked about the role of vision, clarifying your vision, strategies for adapting vision, and character traits that support and sustain a vision. This post builds on that foundation. After you have clarified your vision: 1.) you know what you want to become, 2.) you know what you want to have, 3.) you know what you want to accomplish, it’s time to focus. Some of these vision elements may take a few years--these are goals; some may last a lifetime--these are objectives. Focus allows us to direct our available resources to their most important applications. We’ll talk at length about resources when we discuss the next law: The Law of Preparation, but for now, let’s study the nuts and bolts of how to focus.
Our lives are filled with distractions; in some instances, we’ve become inattentive. The Marketing Rule of 7 has become the standard. This rule says that “a prospect needs to ‘hear’ the advertiser's message at least 7 times before they'll take action to buy that product or service.” And explain, “It's a marketing maxim developed by the movie industry in the 1930s” (kruscontrolinc.com). With digital marketing, that rate has increased to 7 times per day. Overstimulation numbs sensitivity. With these levels of bombardment, we have to actively learn the art of focus. Zig Ziglar, the famous and early self-help guru, said, “I don’t care how much power, energy, or brilliance 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.” Focus is a key to measured growth.
Organize Your Vision into Focus Areas
If you did the activity from The Principle of Vision in last week’s blog, you should have a brainstorm list that lists your vision. LEt’s bring these into focus. Look at what you wrote about what you want to become, want to have, and want to accomplish. Let’s organize these elements and look at them more carefully. At the core of the BEAUTIFUL LIVING, LLC system of growth are the 7 Focus Areas with accompanying symbols and colors that make each focus area more easily identifiable. We will call these The 7 Pillars of Beautiful Living, and they include:
My Inner Life:
This pillar is the first and most fundamental. This pillar encompasses all our beliefs, desires, fears, and awareness. It houses our thoughts and understanding--the origins of all our reactions, desires, and motivations. It is the origin center of all our actions and reactions. It includes not just what we process in our minds and hearts, but how we process them or interpret them, and why we do it that way. Inner dialogue and debates, prayer, pondering, and meditation are all hallmarks of this intrapersonal pillar. The spiritual intelligence quotient (S.Q.) grows or languishes in this pillar. Goals and objectives centered in The Inner Life Pillar address what it means to live a life of awareness, principle, and agency.
This pillar is considered by the greatest statesmen, athletes, and poets to be the ultimate battlefield of life. Consider the following quotes:
“The greatest battles of life are fought out daily in the silent chambers of the soul.” ―David O. McKay
“The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself, the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us, that’s where it’s at.” ―Jesse Owens
“A spiritual practice is a constant battle within, replacing previous negative conditioning or habituation with new positive conditioning.” ―Dalai Lama
“All of the truly important battles are waged within the self.” ―Sheldon B. Kopp)
The mind most certainly is where the battles of our lives have been either fought and won, or foundered and lost. Past victories and scars are omnipresent in our memories from those skirmishes, and they can have great power to influence our present and guide our futures. The laurel wreath is the ancient Roman symbol of victory. In BEAUTIFUL LIVING, LLC, it represents the final victory: victory over self.
You know you're working in The Inner Life Pillar when your goals and objectives seek to answer questions such as these: How am I developing better spiritual intelligence? How do I think about and respond to the various conditions of my life? How accountable am I to myself? What motivates me? Why? What do I value and to what degree? What is this based on? What do I believe? Why? What is my life’s purpose? What does my life mean? Am I becoming a better person regarding both character and behavior? What does that look like?
Red, the color that livescience.com refers to as “the ‘life-force’ that drives,” is the color of this pillar. The symbol is the laurel wreath. Anciently, the laurel wreath is a symbol of mastery and victory. Originally formed by the Greeks from olive branches, it also represents peace.
What items on your brainstorm list fit into this pillar? On your list, make note of this by writing “My Inner Life.”
My Connected Life:
This social, interpersonal pillar often stands as a mirror or reflection of our inner lives. However, it is not always accurate because our ability to communicate clearly is imperfect, and therefore, our ability to be understood accurately can travel beyond our circle of influence. We can’t control whether or not others interpret us fairly but we can improve by looking for patterns of reactions in others, seeking feedback from those we respect and trust, and observing others whose skills exceed our own. The emotional intelligence quotient (E.Q.) grows or languishes in this pillar. Goals and objectives centered in The Connected Life Pillar address the fundamental need to live a life of love and support through healthy and vibrant human connection.
You know you're working in The Connected Life Pillar when your goals and objectives seek to answer questions such as these: How am I developing better emotional intelligence (an educated conscience)? How effectively am I able to communicate my needs and ideas? How often am I understood or misunderstood? Why? How loving and supportive are my closest relationships? Can this be improved by me? To what degree am I loving and supportive of others? Can this be improved by me? How do others see me generally? What is my reputation and why? What criticisms and compliments have I received as feedback? Are they accurate reflections of how I see myself or want to be seen as being? What, if anything, can I do about it? Are there patterns in my relationships that reveal challenges I create for myself including personal deficiencies or habits? What, if anything, should I do about it?
Orange is the color that represents safety. Orange also is the color we associate with warnings. Our interpersonal connections can be both. The love and support, which relationships ideally foster, give us emotional safety. The failings or hiccups of our connected lives can warn us of our blind spots or point to opportunities for change, especially when pain of any kind is present. The symbol is a silhouette surrounded by offshoots.
What items on your brainstorm list fit into this pillar? On your list, make note of this by writing “My Connected Life.”
My Health and Personal Care:
Our bodies are not the same; from birth, we inherit genetic codes that affect our health positively and negatively. Other times, accidents and other unfortunate events lead to health challenges. This pillar focus deals with making the best of what we have to work with as far as our physical bodies are concerned. It does not deal in extremes or fads; it looks for balance and wisdom with what we consume. This pillar is associated with the physical intelligence quotient (P.Q.): our ability to use our bodies as tools for accomplishing our plans. This pillar includes not only our physical health and its hygiene but also addresses how we dress and physically present ourselves to others. It emphasizes self-respect and self-care in physical maintenance, hygienic practices, style, and clothes. It doesn't have to be expensive but it does stand as a physical witness of how we see ourselves. This was hotly debated in the 1980s and perhaps it’s still controversial. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” we are told. And yet, I guarantee you, writers and publishers fret and debate over the covers of their books for precisely this reason: people judge by their eyes. It’s logical and reasonable. We know it, and we do it. Additionally, we acknowledge the old saying most commonly associated with the Roman, first-century gourmand, Apicius, that “we eat first with our eyes.”
Like the color orange, yellow has both positive and negative connotations. On one hand, yellow represents light and truth, happiness and warmth. When it’s balanced and strong, our health is literally enlivening. When our health is up to par, it enables us to act more efficiently and productively. On the other hand, however, yellow can also represent both cowardice and deceit--a false front--a lie. The image we present to the world is the most easily manipulated: how we make ourselves appear, how we use and create our public image to communicate values, and how we shape perception even if it’s a deception, hypocritical, or untrue. There are innumerable examples of this. The symbol is a silhouette surrounded by arrows flowing circularly. The arrows represent the continuous attention needed to nurture health.
What items on your brainstorm list fit into this pillar? On your list, make note of this by writing “My Health and Personal Care.”
My Physical Environment:
The Physical Environment Pillar addresses all the physical places we spend time over which we have direct influence. I’ve recently discovered the designer Shea McGee based out of Draper, Utah. She and her husband Syd run an Interior Design Company and have recently produced the Netflix series, “Dream Home Makeover.” They recently wrote their story in a book called, “Make Life Beautiful.” I love that her entire design philosophy is centered around the idea that a beautiful home and living environment, even at work, is a major contributor to having a beautiful life. I agree! Whether we live in cottages or castles, and everything in between, a clean, comfortable, well-managed and thoughtfully appointed home can be a refuge--a source of renewal, comfort, and beauty--in our often overstimulated, anxiety-ridden world.
You know you're working in The Physical Environment Pillar when you create places of living and working of order, cleanliness, safety, and aesthetic beauty. The symbol for this pillar is the front door flanked by fresh, potted greenery.
Green is the color of this pillar. It represents nature and has a strong emotional correspondence with safety. It also represents healing power and is the most restful color for the human eye. Green also suggests stability. All these attributes have the potential to describe our living environments and can be worked toward.
What items on your brainstorm list fit into this pillar? On your list, make note of this by writing “My Physical Environment.”
The Education Pillar is closely associated with I.Q. or the way we measure one’s intellectual intelligence quotient. Here are a few incredible thoughts about education by women and men much smarter than me:
“Learning is by nature, curiosity.” —Plato
“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” —Mae Jemison
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. —Albert Einstein. “Old Man's Advice to Youth: 'Never Lose a Holy Curiosity’.” LIFE Magazine (2 May 1955) p. 64.
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
Aren’t they amazing?!
You know you're working in The Education Pillar when you want to have a life of increased awareness that leads to an increased capacity; when you experience a curiosity for new knowledge.
The color of this pillar is blue. According to color-wheel-pro.com: “Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability” and is associated with “wisdom,” “intelligence” (meaning the intellectual intelligence quotient, I.Q.), and “truth.” The end of all learning should be to find truth and apply it correctly--which is wisdom. The symbol is an open book symbolizing that learning is a life-long pursuit and a reminder that we are open to avenues of learning, both formal and informal, constantly.
What items on your brainstorm list fit into this pillar? On your list, make note of this by writing “My Education.”
My Work and Career:
I love to work. I really do. It fills me with purpose and gives me the motivation to push into new directions, study new things, and develop new talents. New is awesome! “Work is not a matter of economic need alone; it is a spiritual necessity.” There is emotional fulfillment in getting good at something, and having someone else value your abilities so much that they are willing to hire you to serve on their behalf. How cool! I especially love entrepreneurship. In early entrepreneurship, the possibilities feel endless. Every day is discovery. Decisions can be made and acted on quickly because there is no entrenched bureaucracy. Creativity is the norm. Change doesn’t require a lot of red tape and no glass ceiling yet exists. The clients who take the leap of faith and hire you are priceless. I love it.
Indigo is the color of this pillar. The color, according to buildingbeautifulsouls.com, represents power, dignity, and deep sincerity. The color meaning of indigo reflects great devotion, wisdom, and justice along with fairness and impartiality. What an incredible combination of traits that could govern our work and careers. Work connects us to each other. The symbol of this pillar is the combination of gears working in unison. Each gear has its own unique property but its value shows through best when it’s working with other gears to get things done. How cool is that?
What items on your brainstorm list fit into this pillar? On your list, make note of this by writing “My Work and Career.”
My Wealth Creation and Management:
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
The original definition of wealth was not associated solely with money but with abundance of all kinds. Modern society has peg-holed the meaning to assume money. The pillar of Wealth Creation and Management is not about hoarding and accumulating for selfish or fear-based ends; it is about nurturing an abundance mentality that embraces the spirit of generosity. I was recently reading a blog post by Stephen Dela Cruz at medium.com who tells a story about the difference between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. They are both linked by the Jordan River. The Dead Sea takes. It feeds nothing. No other source benefits from it’s giving, and it’s dead. Whereas the Sea of Galilee both receives and gives and is alive. Cruz says the “Sea of Galilee is the lake that nourishes most of Israel, it is filled with life and in turn, it also gives life to many.” Those who spend their lives taking and hoarding experience a type of living death, but those who wisely cultivate their resources in order to give are fully alive. Their legacy will continue to give even after they are long gone. To be comfortable is wonderful, but to give comfort is divine.
Through our business enterprises, James and I have come across all sorts of people, many of them have been kind, warm, and generous souls who supported the vision and purpose of our companies, who wanted and needed us to help them. We also met their opposites, those who wanted us to discount everything for their benefit through threats, deception, temper tantrums, etc., but would turn around and demand other people pay them exorbitant prices for their own services then brag about their conquests. Miserable.
Purple is the color of this pillar. It represents royalty. Regarding the history of this color, livescience.com says:
Purple's elite status stems from the rarity and cost of the dye originally used to produce it. Fabric traders obtained "Tyrian purple," as the dye was called, from a small mollusk that was found only in a region of the Mediterranean Sea near Tyre, a Phoenician trading city located in modern-day Lebanon. More than 9,000 mollusks were needed to create just one gram of Tyrian purple, and because only wealthy rulers could afford to buy and wear fabrics dyed with the color, it became associated with the imperial classes of Rome, Egypt, and Persia.
History is full of examples of different approaches to being royal. Some use its perceived platform to abuse, oppress and gather gain for their own comfort. Those who are wiser serve those under their influence and use their gain to enrich others. They focus the energy of their lives for the benefit of others. They are truly wealthy because their wealth doesn’t corrupt their souls.
The symbol is an outstretched hand which represents both receiving and giving. This includes generosity. In his book, The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran writes, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
What items on your brainstorm list fit into this pillar? On your list, make note of this by writing “My Wealth Creation and Management.”
Meaning of the Seven Point BEAUTIFUL LIVING, LLC Symbol
Each of the 7 pillars are intertwined in the BEAUTIFUL LIVING, LLC seven-point flower. Seven is the number of completion and fullness--a full series of creation. Each point is a pillar and each pillar weaves into another. This is true of all growth. When we work to develop more healthy and rewarding relationships in The Connected Life Pillar, we find new ways to be generous and serve others encouraging our Wealth Creation and Management Pillar to expand. When we nurture our deeply spiritual natures in the Inner Life Pillar, we begin to want our physical home and work environments to reflect the order and peace within our minds and we are also developing, unconsciously perhaps, the Physical Environment Pillar. The 7 point symbol of BEAUTIFUL LIVING, LLC represents the interconnected nature of all personal growth. Don't be worried about lapsing into imbalance by choosing just one focus. All growth, even if it’s focused in one pillar, spreads naturally into all other pillars.
Illustrations of the 7 BEAUTIFUL LIVING Pillars and the 7 Point Symbol
These are cheatsheets I created to help me keep organized. Maybe they will help you, too, to visualize what we’ve been discussing:
Pick a Single Focus Area--a Pillar--to Work in
Now that you’ve identified what you want to become, have, and accomplish, and you’ve identified which pillar each best fits in, it’s time to get focused. Look at everything you’ve written down and ask yourself important questions: What one pillar if focused on specifically, would make the greatest difference in my life? Where will my focus best be spent?
Write it down and include why you think this. This will strengthen your resolve as you review it periodically and choose to develop it as needed.
Strengthen Your Focus by Creating a Vision Board
Life puts a lot of demands on us. Focus does not mean we neglect those other demands, it means we order them, prioritize them based on our chosen value systems, and find ways to measure our growth step-by-step through the filter of the 7 Pillars of BEAUTIFUL LIVING discussed earlier. When we involve more senses in our goal creation--like visualization--we are closer to materializing that goal.
On my BEAUTIFUL LIVING Vision Board, I pick one pillar to work in and get as specific as possible about what I want to become, have, or accomplish and write it at the top. Next, I answer the following questions to clarify my focus:
What I want (specifically)
What I will see (as I accomplish what I want)
How I will feel (as I accomplish what I want)
What I will do (to accomplish what I want)
Because I’ve had impactful life change through the process of visualization, I try to find pictures that represent the answers to these questions after choosing a focus area to work in. I have to start small when I’m starting new habits. This is one of mine:
The Power of Focus
Remember, no matter what pillar you choose to work in, it will feed other pillars. Start small and grow into your most important objectives one step at a time. Ralph Marston says it well:
Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting, and joyful. Your life is always moving toward something.
I absolutely agree!
The Principle of Focus fits into the greater Law of Organization. Please remember that I have workshops that teach all these principles and patterns in greater depth with printable, in-depth workbooks that invite greater personalization through participation. It can be done in either a do-it-yourself formula or live through ZOOM, or at a conference or school gatherings. Please email me for more information to suit your personal needs, the needs of your family, or of your group or organization at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help you, and those you influence, learn principles that help us all enjoy greater levels of fulfillment, connection, and productivity, and learn to...
Heather Roberts Butler
Founder and CEO of BEAUTIFUL LIVING, LLC
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