Priority—Only One Focus

Priority—Only One Focus

"Nike makes some of the best products in the world...But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff." — Steve Jobs to Nike’s new CEO when seeking business turnaround advice [source]

When the word “priority” came into the English language in the 1400s it was singular. It meant the very first thing. Not things.

Priority stayed singular for five hundred years until we made it plural in the 1900s.

The usage of the word “priorities” in text was pretty much zero until around 1950. Then something happened. “Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. Somehow we would now be able to have multiple ‘first’ things,” McKeown says.

Take that meeting. Go to that event because you “never know.” Our psychology pushes us too. The fear of missing out is powerful. We don’t want someone else to grab our opportunities.

It seems counterintuitive that shutting down opportunities would be the best way to build something great, but turning them down in exchange for focus is exactly what’s required. Especially today.

It’s a new year and a time to make some changes. What fantastic opportunities are you going to turn down in order to build something great?


(photo via nick swift)