Even those über-humans we’ve put up on pedestals for so long — the likes of Aristotle, Einstein, and Steve Jobs, et all — have struggled with focus. 

Take a (short, wise, worthwhile) break from your work and come get motivated toward focus, with us—with them.

Counselors? Let’s hear your best advice. 


“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” — Zig Ziglar

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” —Bruce Lee

“Goals on the road to achievement cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency.” — Denzel Washington

“The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”— Frida Kahlo

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” — Alexander Graham Bell 

“Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” — Tony Robbins

“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.”— Brian Tracy

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” — Paulo Cohelo 

“Instead of focusing on how much you can accomplish, focus on how much you can absolutely love what you’re doing.”  — Leo Babauta

“The time that leads to mastery is dependent on the intensity of our focus.”  — Robert Green

“My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.” — Bill Gates

“Do it! People who succeed don’t just sit and think about what they want to do. They take meaningful, purposeful, directional action consistently and persistently. Every step they take puts them toward the outcome they’re looking for.” — Dr. Phil

“For a person to become deeply involved in any activity it is essential that he knows precisely what tasks he must accomplish, moment by moment.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

OK, all that’s great. Or maybe not so great. It’s people telling you WHAT a certain state is — this state called focus — without telling you HOW to achieve it.

Below are the five best “HOW” to focus quotes ever uttered by various geniuses. You can ignore all other “advice:”

  • “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” — Zen Proverb

Concentrate single-mindedly not only on your highest payoff task, but on whatever you’re doing, whenever you’re doing it.  That’s the definition of focus. 

  • “Focusing is about saying ‘No’”— Steve Jobs

Practice saying no to nearly “opportunity” that comes your way. Nix everything that really doesn’t matter to your big picture, that doesn’t propel you mission forward.

  • “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”— Albert Einstein

Don’t give up so quick. Your goal and purpose is worth achieving. It’s worth more effort, more time, more energy, more, more, more. 

  • “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.” –Marie Curie

Right, Madame! Focus on the future—not the past, not your “failures.”

  • “The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance — and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.” —Oprah Winfrey

The Queen of Achievement gets our top spot for a couple of reasons. It’s the counterintuitive counsel that rings our bell: So what if you’re able to tick stuff off your To Do list? Does any of it MATTER? To you. Does the stuff you’re doing matter? 

Imbue whatever do you with meaning. Ideally, you can design your life to spend the majority of it doing stuff that’s inherently meaningful to you. Your family, your calling, your spiritual self.

But what circumstances force you still to act a shill for someone else? A cubicle bunny? A puppet? A peon? What if you have to shovel shit—literal or figurative?

Then ASCRIBE meaning. Know in your bones why your part matters. How your contribution is significant. That the job you do is the best you can do for a reason. Even if the only reason is the simple and worthwhile pursuit of excellence alone in every endeavor. 

Any other quotes you like? Share with us in the comments below. We’d love to read them. And try out our new free app at focusatwill.com!

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