16. Focus

16. Focus

Focus is what a person actually sees. I call it their reality.  It is like a camera lens, and there are different lenses for different purposes. Some people are born with a lens that sees the ladybug crawling across a leaf. They see close-up the vivid colors, the brilliance of the micro-world. Others have a zoom lens that moves in to see the ladybug and zooms out to see the leaf, the tree and the park.  Still others have a telescopic lens and can see Saturn’s rings and the debris inside those rings.  The close-up lens that has the acuity to see the ladybug cannot count Saturn’s rings. And the telescopic lens that can see Saturn’s rings cannot focus on the ladybug. What is real for one person is not apparent to another because they naturally focus on different things.

Do you see the precious present or the bigger picture? Are you aware of your Focus? Because it is a subtle, innate characteristic, most of us are unaware of our Focus. We are also put off or quietly frustrated that others don’t see what we see, appreciate what we appreciate, or react in the same way we do.


Specific people continually focus on the present and see things vividly. We all have people in our lives who spontaneously and instantaneously change the mood, inject enthusiasm, display brilliance, and consequently alter the course of a conversation or event. The intuitive person, the existentialist, the person who celebrates living for the precious present, the synergist who shares a brilliant moment of insight – all of these are probably Specific in their Focus.

Most of us do not see or celebrate life the way a Specific person does. By continually focusing on the present, they contribute vivid insights. They can be initiators who easily change the focus of a group. Without Specific people, we’d trip over the cracks of life while we were looking at the mountains in the distance. When Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus, was she planning to alter the course of the civil rights movement? I believe she was only trying to change that moment but it became more. It inspired the entire civil rights movement to build on the momentum she provided.

For those with Specific Focus, competence and confidence come from mastering their abilities in the here-and-now.  It is difficult for them to set long-term goals.They are controlled by circumstances, and they are more susceptible than most to the tyranny of the urgent and to immediate problems of any magnitude.  Because they are easily distracted, they need a lot of help in establishing priorities and maintaining focus. They need to plan the events of their day.  It is helpful to list ten things to accomplish for the day and to prioritize them. When diverting things happen during the day, this list will give them a plan and provide the structure they need.  And it will keep them from being overwhelmed by diversions, problems and happenstance.

Because they see things so vividly, Specific people must remind themselves that most of their problems aren’t as terrible as they seem.  Their exaggerated close-up focus makes it difficult for them to gain a true long-range perspective.  Therefore, a Specific person needs external support and mechanisms that provide the larger perspective.

By assessing and limiting their distractions, they can remain focused and be more productive.


Spectrum individuals have a balanced focus, and they bring balance to others: their clients, colleagues, family and friends. They have the capability to negotiate the extremes and keep an appropriate focus.  The judge, manager, teacher, scientist, and negotiator naturally look for how the present will impact the future. Their balanced viewpoint is essential in moving us from the present into the future.

Since life is about negotiation and Spectrum people are always looking for balance, they represent a touchstone for balance in our own lives. Their participation is especially important in changing environments or situations.  As long as they are proactive with respect to change, they can help bring stability and balance to any situation.

Occasionally, their strong desire for balance may paradoxically create a temporary sense of imbalance that can cloud their thinking and immobilize them. If they can determine specifically where they feel out of balance, they can create the systems and structures needed to regain and sustain balance.


Global people have a broad perspective on the whole of life. They live in tomorrow’s tomorrow.  They gift others with hope and perspective and have the ability to calm or stabilize their peers.  They’re good at moving themselves and others toward dreams, visions and aspirations.

Where would we be without our visionaries? Economists, sociologists, architects and philosophers have the ability to see the big picture. Martin Luther King, Gandhi and John F. Kennedy all looked beyond the horizon. These people gift us with hope for tomorrow and reassure us about today. They can envision tomorrow’s tomorrow while the rest of us vicariously share the enthusiastic hope and comforting reassurance their visions generate. NASA has many Global employees; astronauts literally find their significance living in the future. Judging from the news and the reality programs on television, our society seems to thrive on existential drama. Global people represent a reality check, reminding us of the greater perspective. We need to be reminded about things that will have a long-term impact.

Today can be a nuisance for Global persons…because it’s not tomorrow yet.  They think in large orbits and land only occasionally. Those with Global focus can easily become frustrated by and disconnected from life’s immediate concerns. They’re motivated to engage in logistics only if they can see how logistics relate to the big picture. Starting with their dreams, visions, and aspirations for the future and working backward in time, Globals can generate specific action-steps to the present. This helps them remain connected to their goals, by engaging them in the process of actively working toward those goals.

Global people are not easily discouraged. When they are, the discouragement runs deep and has a profound effect on them. When they awfulize their situation, their reality becomes a virtual hell.  They’re designed to see the world with an eagle eye, soaring above their business and life. Fear can reduce them to the point of losing all sense of perspective. The inability to initiate their dreams creates hopelessness.  This in turn creates a resignation that the present discouragement is forever.  It becomes an inverted downward spiral.

However, it takes very little for their hope to be renewed. They are encouraged easily if a task at hand has a real and vital connection with one of their dreams or aspirations. They can make the connection by asking themselves, “How will ignoring this issue hinder my pursuit of this goal?” or “How can I pay attention to this issue without hindering the pursuit of my dream?” Global people need systems and structures or the help of others to manage the distracting-but-necessary details of life. This frees them up to begin implementing their aspirations in the here-and-now.

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