‘The most important thing I have learnt in life is to focus my energy on what’s important in life.‘ – Bill Gates  

It’s spring and time to clean up. And wow, how our lives have been transformed by technology. Things that took months and years are now accomplished in little more than a few days .The explosive growth of the internet is testing its very own capacity, and it’s testing ours as well. Most of us are living ‘time poor lives’. And, with speed comes complexity, so what can we do about it all ?

Yesterday, a friend pointed out to me that he does not even have time to read short blogs like this one, although he did finally relent, and said it depends on relevance. I suggested to him that he should consider a ‘to stop list’. It’s more important than a ‘to do list ‘.

What we are talking about is one word that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet both deemed of utmost importance with regards to achieving success and significance in their lives. It’s called FOCUS.

‘The most important thing I have learnt in life is to focus my energy on what’s important in life.‘ – Bill Gates  

The scary thing is, I consult with so many people and they are unable to articulate what the five most important things are in their lives. They simply cannot tell you what they value most in life. It’s little wonder then, that we fill our days with less important things and create stressed out ‘time poor lives’. The late Steve Jobs put it another way:

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

Picking carefully means knowing exactly what your personal ‘big five things ‘are in life. What you value most in life, and then aligning and executing your game plan accordingly.

‘A Game Plan is a set of strategies and tactics that one must implement to achieve a desired outcome in life and, of equal importance, a set of strategies and tactics that one must avoid to achieve that desired outcome in life.’

It all boils down to ensuring that one’s game plan is ‘made of the right stuff’. Too much of the wrong stuff is going to leave anyone disillusioned, exhausted and sometimes even ill. All the great champions of life are defined by what they know, what they choose to do, and, of equal importance, what they choose not to do. They never lose focus, and if they do, they bounce back pretty quickly to ensure their purpose, priorities and productivity are aligned. They are ruthless masters of their ‘to stop list‘. It’s the hidden secret behind sustained prosperity. Recently, we witnessed a potent example when Rory McIlroy addressed his ‘to stop list‘. He credits calling off his wedding to tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki, for his recent run of success back to World Number One.

Make sure you too have a ‘to stop list‘. You’ll find that there are too many things in your daily life that simply distract you and add no real value. They are not aligned with your ‘big five priorities’ in life. Either choose to push ‘the stop button’ or delegate these tasks. Why do them? Focus on what you do best, so that you can drive success and significance in your own life, and make a difference in the lives of others you value. Happy Spring cleaning!

‘Great Champions recognize self-interest as central to one’s human design, but count the greatest gain as the goodwill of fellow humankind.‘


*Rob Opie is a human brand specialist, brand consultant, key note speaker and author of The Game Plan, a groundbreaking book, which embraces potent game-changing methodologies derived from the great champions of life. Rob is currently touring the country sharing champion insights with corporate and sports teams: ‘Up your Game – from Good to Great to Greater’. He can be contacted at robopie@thegameplan.co.za , or please visit http://www.thegameplan.co.za

About The Author


Rob Opie, B.Bus.Sc: UCT is a Human Brand Specialist, Key Note Speaker, Author and Brand Consultant. He is the founder of THE GAME PLAN, a specialist brand consultancy Rob started his career in the vibrant SA branding environment,working for both Multinationals and South African food companies. Running in his blood are Brands, People and Turnarounds. Rob's focus has now turned to helping people to reach the next level , with a life purpose ‘ to inspire and help people to do life better ’ In 2013 , Rob published THE GAME PLAN, which embraces potent game-changing methodologies derived from the great champions of life - what the great champions know, but coaches seldom teach. Behind it lies the ground breaking The Game Plan Method, which is currently sweeping across South Africa creating extra ordinary, stories of success and significance. In 2014 Rob published a specialist E: Booklet entitled ' Cracking the Cancer Code ", a worldwide initiative to 'change the way of the world - one life at a time. Rob believes that ordinary will not change the world. And it’s just beginning.

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