By June 14, 2011 Read More →

Focus Quotes

focus quotes

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential." — Bruce Lee

While I’m focusing on focus as a skill,  I thought it would be helpful to do a roundup of quotes all about focus.  If we stay curious, we can always learn a lot from the wisdom of the ages and our modern sages.

One of my all time favorite quotes about focus is …"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." It’s often attributed to Aristotle, but as I understand it, it’s actually Will Durant as he explains Aristotle’s words.

You’re the Director of Your Life

You’re the director of your life – you choose where to put the focus.  Focus is a funny thing — it changes everything.  For example, your focus shapes your life.  So if you want to re-design your life, reshape your focus.

What I find the most interesting about focus, is where people put their focus.  I included a wide variety of examples below so you can see the array of options:  yourself, other people, the greater good, how you feel, how you look, how you think, how you act, the past, how you respond, how you react, the present, the future, what’s wrong, what’s right, what’s black, what’s white, the spirit of the law or the letter of the law, the forest or the trees, the pain or the gain, etc.

Narrow the Focus

Narrow the focus to change your frame and change the game.  Your focus is really unlimited.  The irony is that the real power comes when you narrow it.

Now let’s wander through our garden of  gems … all about focus  …

BTW – If you happen to notice a quote below that seems just right for you, it might be by design.   I chose to focus on some of you while drawing the quotes, to see if I could find a special quote that just might sing to your soul.

Top 10 Focus Quotes

  1. "A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power." — Brian Tracy
  2. "A man should never be appointed into a managerial position if his vision focuses on people’s weaknesses rather than on their strengths." — Peter Drucker
  3. “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” – Buddha
  4. “Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.” – Aesop
  5. “Do whatever you do intensely.” — Robert Henri
  6. "I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants." — Zig Ziglar
  7. "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
  8. "My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things." — Bill Gates
  9. “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” — Bruce Lee
  10. "You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." — Mark Twain

Focus Quotes at a Glance

  1. "90% of every art form is garbage – dance and stand-up, painting and music. Focus on the 10% that’s good, suck it up, and drive on." — Patton Oswalt
  2. "A business leader has to keep their organization focused on the mission. That sounds easy, but it can be tremendously challenging in today’s competitive and ever-changing business environment. A leader also has to motivate potential partners to join." — Meg Whitman
  3. "A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power." — Brian Tracy
  4. "A corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin. Methods have to change. Focus has to change. Values have to change. The sum total of those changes is transformation." — Andrew Grove
  5. "A major stimulant to creative thinking is focused questions. There is something about a well-worded question that often penetrates to the heart of the matter and triggers new ideas and insights." — Brian Tracy
  6. "A man should never be appointed into a managerial position if his vision focuses on people’s weaknesses rather than on their strengths." — Peter Drucker
  7. “A person who aims at nothing is sure to hit it." – Anonymous
  8. “Act the part and you will become the part.” — William James
  9. “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” – Buddha
  10. "Along with a strong belief in your own inner voice, you also need laser-like focus combined with unwavering determination." — Larry Flynt
  11. "And I kind of said to myself if I get my voice back I’m not going to take back the old anxiety about it and just focus on the limitations. I’m really going to enjoy it." — Rosanne Cash
  12. "And so if your competitors aren’t growing, if there isn’t a competitive reason to grow, and you want focus and discipline to add customers to existing stores, you adjust your strategy." — Jim Cantalupo
  13. "Any artist that’s involved in their work is inevitably going to have a focus in what they do." — Jock Sturges
  14. "Are your thoughts worthy of you? If not – NOW is the time to change them. You can begin right were you are right now. Nothing matters but this moment and what you are focusing your attention on." — Rhonda Byrne
  15. "As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around." — Oprah Winfrey
  16. "Be dramatically willing to focus on the customer at all costs, even at the cost of obsoleting your own stuff." — Scott Cook
  17. “Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.” – Aesop
  18. "But when you’re beginning, you should try to focus on something you love and your own way of doing things." — Jerry Harrison
  19. "Champions get what they want because they know what they want. They have a vision that keeps them motivated and efficiently on track. They see it, feel it, and experience it in their minds and hearts. What is success for you? You won’t get there without knowing what it feels and looks like." — Dr.Phil
  20. “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” — Alexander Graham Bell
  21. “Concentrated attention is the collection of units of power on a chosen point of intention.” — James Arthur Ray
  22. "Concentration can be cultivated. One can learn to exercise will power, discipline one’s body and train one’s mind." — Anil Ambani
  23. "Discovering what you really want saves you endless confusion and wasted energy." — Stuart Wilde
  24. "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
  25. “Do whatever you do intensely.” — Robert Henri
  26. "Do you want to be an artist and a writer, or a wife and a lover? With kids, your focus changes. I don’t want to go to PTA meetings." — Stevie Nicks
  27. "Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer." — Denis Waitley
  28. "Each of my records has a different focus, a different theme." — Mark Edwards
  29. "Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you’re going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus." — Oprah Winfrey
  30. "Focus 90% of your time on solutions and only 10% of your time on problems." — Anthony J. D’Angelo
  31. "Focus in on the genre you want to write, and read books in that genre. A LOT of books by a variety of authors. And read with questions in your mind." — Nicholas Sparks
  32. "Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do." — John Carmack
  33. "Focus on giving smiles away and you will always discover that your own smiles will always be in great supply." — Joyce Meyer
  34. "Focus on remedies, not faults. " — Jack Nicklaus
  35. "Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it." — Greg Anderson
  36. "Focus on your problem zones, your strength, your energy, your flexibility and all the rest." — Jack LaLanne
  37. "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
  38. "For me, the focus are songs, which really get the audience moving." — Joe Cocker
  39. "Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy." — Denis Waitley
  40. "Good performance is about the capacity to focus and concentrate." — Betty Buckley
  41. "I believe that as much as you take, you have to give back. It’s important not to focus on yourself too much." — Nicole Kidman
  42. "I do what I do, and I do it well, and focus and take it one moment at a time." — James Caviezel
  43. "I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants." — Zig Ziglar
  44. "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” –  Bruce Lee
  45. "I finally learned to live in the present and focus only on what I want rather than what I don’t want." — Darren L. Johnson
  46. "I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe." –Dalai Lama
  47. "I focus on the writing and let the rest of the process take care of itself. I’ve learned to trust my own instincts and I’ve also learned to take risks." — Sue Grafton
  48. "I just saw the emotion in everything, so I got to feel everything that was going on and that I was viewing, but I couldn’t think in terms of structure, which is the whole point of deep focus." — Gil Kane
  49. "I just want to focus on one thing at a time." — Josh Silver
  50. "I lived my life one way for 35 years, for me. And then the focus came in on what I really was." — Pete Maravich
  51. "I only want to do better work. That’s the focus of my life." — Ajay Devgan
  52. "I think being a competitive diver for years helps you focus and dedicate yourself to what’s needed." — Jason Statham
  53. "I think everybody’s got different methods of working which suit the particular individual. Mine is to sort of play the part, and give 100%, to concentrate and focus on it while I’m actually working, but then leave it behind until the next day." — Sean Bean
  54. "I think fantasies are for the birds. Anything I wanted to do, I did. If there’s something I want, nothing stops me." — Calvin Klein
  55. "I think the lack of precision and deep focus is why it took me years to build up my work." — Gil Kane
  56. "I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That’s where the fun is. And if it can’t be fun, what’s the point?" — Donald Trump
  57. "I wasn’t losing my focus but I was getting tired of focusing. What I was focusing on was becoming too routine, too ritual, not something that was interesting, new and exciting." — Picabo Street
  58. "I’m aware of my audience in a way, and I do try to engage with them while I’m trying to go about my business of thinking. I believe they help me by providing a focus." — David Antin
  59. "I’m someone who loves to enjoy life and tries to focus on real things and real friendships. That’s why I live very simply." — Cameron Diaz
  60. “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential." — Bruce Lee
  61. "Instead of focusing on that circumstances that you cannot change – focus strongly and powerfully on the circumstances that you can." — Joy Page
  62. "Instead of focusing on the world’s problems, give your attraction and energy to trust, love, abundance, education, and peace." — Rhonda Byrne
  63. "It has been the way of Rotary to focus thought upon matters in which members are in agreement, rather than upon matters in which they are in disagreement." — Paul Harris
  64. "It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light." — Aristotle Onassis
  65. "It is really hard to do comedy; it takes a lot of energy and focus. It’s rather like music: It’s a lot of hitting notes precisely." — Christine Baranski
  66. "It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world. The great man or woman is the one who never steps outside his or her specialty or foolishly dissipates his or her individuality." — Og Mandino
  67. "It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses." — William Arthur Ward
  68. "It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them." — Steve Jobs
  69. "Like sheep that get lost nibbling away at the grass because they never look up, we often focus so much on ourselves and our problems that we get lost." — Allen Klein
  70. "Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive." — Matt Cameron
  71. "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
  72. "My ego is controlled enough that I don’t have to be the focus." — Herbie Mann
  73. "My focus is not on solving nature’s deeper mysteries. It is on using nature’s deeper mysteries to solve important societal problems." — Philip Emeagwali
  74. "My focus is to forget the pain of life. Forget the pain, mock the pain, reduce it. And laugh." — Jim Carrey
  75. "My sole focus as far back as I can remember was all about my dream to become a singer." — Sheena Easton
  76. "My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things." — Bill Gates
  77. "One of the keys to thinking big is total focus. I think of it almost as a controlled neurosis, which is a quality I’ve noticed in many highly successful entrepreneurs." — Donald Trump
  78. "One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am." — Michelle Obama
  79. "One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular." — Tony Robbins
  80. "One very important aspect of motivation is the willingness to stop and to look at things that no one else has bothered to look at. This simple process of focusing on things that are normally taken for granted is a powerful source of creativity." — Edward de Bono
  81. "Organize as much as possible around teams, to achieve enhanced focus, task orientation, innovativeness, and individual commitment." — Tom Peters
  82. "Our aim was to insure repeat business based on the system’s reputation rather than on the quality of a single store or operator." — Ray Kroc
  83. "Our focus is on outputs rather than inputs." — Stephen Cambone
  84. "Our thoughts create our reality – where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go." — Peter McWilliams
  85. "People who consistently win have a clear and thoughtful strategy. They know what they need to do and when they need to do it. They write it down so they stay on course, and avoid any alternative that does not get them closer to the finish line." — Dr.Phil
  86. "School, I never truly got the knack of. I could never focus on things I didn’t want to learn." — Leonardo DiCaprio
  87. "Singing was the big focus and outlet for me." — Debra Wilson
  88. "So I think instead of focusing on the competition, focus on the customer." — Scott Cook
  89. "The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention." — Alan Watts
  90. "The focus and the concentration and the attention to detail that flying takes is a kind of meditation. I find it restful and engaging, and other things slip away." — Harrison Ford
  91. "The Great Secret of Life is the law of attraction that says like attracts like, so when you think a thought, you are also attracting like thoughts to you." — Rhonda Byrne
  92. "The more a person feels skilled, the more her moods will improve; while the more challenges that are present, the more her attention will become focused and concentrated." — Mihaly Csikszentmihaly
  93. "The news anchor is exactly that – an anchor, a center, a focus." — Jessica Savitch
  94. “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” — Bruce Lee
  95. "The three pillars on which I believe any business success is based are: Persistence, Enthusiasm and Focus." — Max Markson
  96. "There is nothing wrong with dedication and goals, but if you focus on yourself, all the lights fade away and you become a fleeting moment in life." — Pete Maravich
  97. "The future is finally something that we can now put into focus." — Lou Gramm
  98. "The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear."
    Brian Tracy
  99. "The only way to advertise is by not focusing on the product." — Calvin Klein
  100. "The secret to success is focusing on what will work, and seeing it through." — Max Markson
  101. "To attract money, you must focus on wealth. It is impossible to bring more money into your life when you are noticing you do not have enough, because that means you are thinking thoughts that you do not have enough." — Rhonda Byrne
  102. "To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail." — Giorgio Armani
  103. "To hate is to show you still care, who needs that, focus on what’s really important." — Henry Rollins
  104. "To me, living in the present means being aware of your conscious choice to focus on the past, present or future – it is not necessarily having to focus on the present." — Bo Bennett
  105. "Ultimately, we wanted Nike to be the world’s best sports and fitness company. Once you say that, you have a focus. You don’t end up making wing tips or sponsoring the next Rolling Stones world tour." — Phil Knight
  106. "We believe this combination of excellence in operations and strong execution of our strategy is critical to achieve our vision. We will continue to focus on both in future as well." — Azim Premji
  107. "We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus on what’s right." — Marianne Williamson
  108. "We don’t focus as much in schools on educational knowledge which requires thinking and application, as we do on acquiring facts." — William Glasser
  109. "We each focus on what we’re going to buy, but that’s an incorrect focus. Focus instead on why you want to spend the money on this or that. What feeling in you does it satisfy?" — Suze Orman
  110. "When I worked with Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies, she told me, You need a plan B, because when you have six months to a year off, you can go nuts. You need to have another focus." — Eliza Dushku
  111. "When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous." — Wayne Dyer
  112. "When there is a voice in a piece of music, we tend to focus on the voice. That is probably something from when we were babies and we depended on hearing our mother’s voice." — Robert Wyatt
  113. "When exercising, be sure to focus your attention on what you are doing." — Lee Haney
  114. “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” — Zen Proverb
  115. "When you do not know how to focus your thoughts effectively, they can become scattered, miscellaneous, and fixated on "stuff"-negative notions, toxic relationships, and situations from the past." — Darren L. Johnson
  116. "When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance." — Joel Osteen
  117. "Whenever your mind is totally absorbed in whatever activities you are performing, your mind will remain calm and content." — Chin-Ning Chu
  118. "You cannot help the world by focusing on the negative things. As you focus on the world’s negative events, you not only add to them, but you also bring more negative things into your own life." — Rhonda Byrne
  119. "You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." — Mark Twain
  120. "You have got to have discipline and focus – on the customer and how you run the business." — Jim Cantalupo
  121. "You have to figure out what that is, and you have to make a plan to get to it. And the plan has got to have a timeline. You have to choose something that you can afford to do and then lock it in and passionately do it." — Dr.Phil
  122. "You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions." — Steve Case
  123. "Your current conditions do not reflect your ultimate potential, but rather the size and quality of goals upon which you currently are focusing." — Tony Robbins
  124. "You’ve just got to focus on excellence and try not to be distracted by the news and the rumors and the absurdities of the stories that were coming out." — James Daly

If you have a favorite quote on focus that I don’t have in my list, please share in the comments.

Photo by UggBoy/UggGirl.

16 Comments on "Focus Quotes"

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  1. Evelyn Lim says:

    You’ve certainly compiled an awesome list on quotes about focus. Well done!

    It’s easy to get distracted in this day and age. One of the greatest challenges in modern times is staying focused on what truly matters. Focus and persistence is something I’m working on. Your post is greatly appreciated!

  2. alik levin says:

    HAHA!!!
    7.“A person who aims at nothing is sure to hit it.” – Anonymous

    I remember in another post you outlined Steven Covey session where he asked to close eyes and point to the north star… when people opened their eyes everyone was pointing to a different direction.

    That simple exercise would save so much lives and money wasted for nothing.

  3. Jk Allen says:

    What a list J.D…
    Wow!

    I will say that it was hard to find a favorite amongst so many, but one that really stuck out to me was by Tony Robbins:
    “The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.”

    Focuson the right thing!

    Thank you J.D.

  4. JD says:

    @ Evelyn — Thank you! When you put it like that, focus is an extreme advantage, maybe even more so than in the past.

    @ Alik — Know where your Noth Star is, and check your ladder is up against the right wall … I like it.

    @ Jk — Thank you. Focus on the right thing nails the point.

  5. Dia says:

    Hi JD,

    Very nice list of quotes. Quotes are excellent to read as they help to inspire and motivate us.

    One of my favorite of these quotes is number 120 “You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions.” — Steve Case

    This is a great quote. If we train ourselves to focus on what we want, things will start falling into place. Thanks for sharing my friend :)

  6. vinod shalgar says:

    J.D.

    77.“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.” — Michelle Obama

    What a great thought,this is very much true.

    Thanks J.D. for your inspiring quotes.

  7. JD says:

    @ Dia — Thank you. Yes, quotes are a great source of motivation and inspiration. I’m a fan of thinking *exceptionally* ;)

    @ Vinod — I really like the way she cuts to the chase and decides to spend her energy on better things.

  8. Great list.
    Focus is something we all need.
    I hear it a lot from people I work with that they have problems focusing.

  9. JD says:

    @ Daniel — Thank you. The more I focus on focus, the more I have to say that it really is a key to exponential results.

  10. Mark T. says:

    I would add Bruce Lee:

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

    It’s best from my top 10 quotations :)

    BTW. Focus and self-confidence – these two are keys to achieve any goals.

  11. JD says:

    @ Mark — I like it — and I’m a fan of Bruce Lee. I added it to the list. Thank you.

  12. I love all Bruce Lee quotes. He’s like an epitome of hardwork, smart work, focus and acheivement for me! Thanks for adding to my list of Bruce Lee quotes! :)

    I focussed after reading this!

  13. Satish says:

    This is an awesome collection. Great effort and thank you very much for sharing.

  14. Thank you for the awesome and inspiring list of quotes! Well researched and thought provoking.

    Domo Arigato.

  15. Nanabanyin says:

    This compilation is just awesome …The Mind is a very powerful tool, we need to utilize it.

  16. nez says:

    wonderful collection.
    thank you