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Genius is Knowing What To

Overlook
“The essence of genius is to know what to overlook.” — William James (1842-1910)
Doctor, Psychologist, Philosopher

Consider This:

In any endeavor, you get bombarded with more information than you can handle. If you
try to focus on too much you’ll scatter your energy – and lose your effectiveness. To
succeed, sort out major issues from minor ones. Selectively disengage from some
activities so that you can powerfully engage in others.

A client of mine uses a powerful tool to get at this idea. He has each member of his
executive team keep a pie chart of where their energy is focused. When new projects
come along, they discuss how sections and percentages should shift. “You’ve got to
know where your energy should and shouldn’t go each day,” he explains. “Sometimes
it’s obvious and sometimes it’s not. We’ve found explicitly talking about it every few
months helps. Team members tend to feel more empowered in what they’re doing and
are more successful as a result.”

Try This:

1. Create a pie chart of how you currently spend your time & energy.
2. Take note of areas where you might be spending too much energy on minor issues.
3. Create a second pie chart to reflect changes you might make to improve
efficiency/effectiveness/enjoyment.
4. Like the example above, try sharing the chart with others to get useful feedback on
where you should or shouldn’t focus your energy.