The answer, of course, is universal: “Magnifying glass.”
And, of course, that only answers the question, “What instrument did we use to harness the sun to kill an ant.”
When I ask the question again, “How did we kill an ant with the sun?” the most frequently occurring answer is, “We put a magnifying glass over the ant.”
This is still insufficient.
This may sound like nitpicking, but there’s an important point to be made.
When we killed an ant in the summertime with a magnifying glass, we turned the glass slightly back and forth, angling it so that the sun streaming through the glass could be directed. We needed to create a ray of light so that heat could be generated and pointed directly at the ant.
That’s how we killed an ant with the sun.
Without creating a concentrated, focused ray of light, we would not be able to kill the ant.
If I ask the question, “How can I get a promotion?” your answer might be, “Work hard.”
That’s like saying, “Magnifying glass.”
Yes, it’s necessary but not sufficient. Lots of people work hard but don’t get promotions.
We have to understand what it takes to get a promotion and then do all of the things it takes to get it.
We have to angle our work, like a magnifying glass, so that we’re reaching our clearly-stated goal with a concentrated and focused ray of energy.
We need to have the right instruments and use them as effectively as possible.
Of course, this doesn’t actually guarantee the promotion; after all, sometimes clouds pass in front of the sun, sometimes it rains and the ant won’t die.
But without doing those things, we’re pretty much guaranteed that we won’t get the promotion.
This can be applied to every aspect of our work and home life.
People who get what they want at work are tinkering with their calendars, their priorities, and their goals like a magnifying glass, deciding what activities, what efforts, will create the strongest ray of light, the highest productivity, the best performance, to optimize their outcomes.
People who get what they want at home are tinkering with their communication style, their attitudes, their expressions of love and support in order to give their families members what they need and in return they get what they want.
If you don’t know what your priorities and goals are and aren’t tinkering with the resources available to you—if you aren’t creating a concentrated, focused ray of light—the likelihood is high that you won’t generate enough heat, enough momentum, enough progress to get what you want.
Are you using your tools—your skills, your time, your talent—in the right way to create the results you want?
Take some time this week to think about your priorities, your goals, and whether the tools you’re using and the way you’re using them are giving you the results you want.
Get the Nerve!