Do you remember the scene from “The Last Jedi” when Luke appears before Kylo Ren on the red salt earth of Crait? You watch as Kylo Ren and Luke begin their explosive battle. Kylo gets the upper hand, stabs Luke with his lightsaber, and *spoiler alert* something miraculous happens — Luke is totally fine. Suddenly we realize, just as Kylo Ren does, Luke isn’t on Crait. He’s using the focus of his Jedi mind to project his image in front of Kylo. Talk about the Force.
What if you could create a force like that for your business? One so powerful that nothing, and no one, could escape it? A force so strong that anything in its gravitational field would be pulled in? That’s the force Isaiah Hankel wants to help you harness in “Black Hole Focus.”
An Irresistible Pull
Nothing can escape a black hole. Nothing. Not even light. Physicists used to think that objects entering a black hole would be destroyed. Not anymore. Now they understand that an object sucked into a black hole is transformed.
When you cultivate “Black Hole Focus,” your entire business will be transformed. It will be pulled in the direction of your purpose.
Using stories from his own life, real-world examples, and numerous studies, Hankel shows us how to start with the end in mind to create “Black Hole Focus.”
Don’t Be A Sheep
Hankel grew up in rural Idaho and worked on a sheep farm. He observed how steadfastly the sheep under his care followed each other. If he tempted one with a carrot, the rest of the sheep would unfailingly follow their peer. If he chased one with a stick, the rest would — you guessed it — unfailingly follow.
Years later, nearing the end of grad school, Hankel had a scary realization: he was acting just like the sheep he’d herded as a kid. He was really good at chasing carrots. He was really good at avoiding sticks.
He’d been chasing a hazy idea of what his future might look like, but he didn’t have a purpose. In that moment, Hankel realized he needed to define his purpose or risk being stuck a sheep forever.
Start With The End In Mind
If you want to succeed, don’t be a sheep. Instead, consider your purpose by assessing where you are and where you want to end up. Don’t just circle around it. “Ruthlessly evaluate your current position,” instructs Hankel.
You probably already have a good idea of what your purpose is. It might be what drove you to start your business in the first place. But it might be something different. Maybe you’ve lost your purpose.
For Hankel, that end point turned out to be entrepreneurship. Considering that he’s a Fortune 500 consultant and the owner of three multinational companies, it looks like his strategy is working.
Once you’ve recognized your end point, make sure it’s crystal-clear. Hankel uses the example of his first car to illustrate how to become hyper-aware of our goals.
When he bought a car in college, Hankel got an affordable, practical navy blue Nissan. It wasn’t anything special, but suddenly, he began to see his car everywhere. The whole world was driving navy blue Nissans.
Had the sales of Nissans suddenly skyrocketed? Nope. As Hankel explains, his reticular formation — the part of your brain that makes you aware of things — was activated by the sight of this car. The number of those cars hadn’t increased, but his awareness of them had.
Use The Focus, Luke
Imagine that same strategy applied to your company’s purpose. Suddenly, you see that the navy-blue Nissans of your business are all around you. They’re the tools you need to make your endpoint a reality. When you map out your end point on paper, you start to see opportunities that will help move you towards it.
“End point props,” as Henkel calls them, might help you tap into that focus. These include tools like vision boards that put your goals on constant display for your brain.
Just consider the rise to stardom of one of our favorite funny guys and most successful actors, Jim Carrey. Back in 1985, Carrey was a struggling comedian working odd jobs to make ends meet. Each night at the end of his shift, he’d drive up to Mulholland Drive to remind himself what he was working for.
One night as he sat in the Hollywood Hills, Carrey wrote himself a $10 million check for “acting services rendered,” dated 10 years in the future. Despite being so far from it, he put his end goal of becoming a successful comedian down on paper. In 1994, almost 10 years later, Carrey found out he would be making $10 million for his part in “Dumb and Dumber.”
Carrey’s story might sound like Jedi mind tricks, but there’s a proven reason his far-out dream became a reality. Hankel brings in the big numbers to tell us why. Virginia Tech researchers found that people who write down their goals are 33% more likely to achieve them. Oh, and they also make 9 times as much as people who don’t.
Those are the amazing results you get when you apply the strategies in “Black Hole Focus” to your life. By starting with the end in mind and defining your purpose, everything around you starts to fall toward your goal — like a black hole.