For those whom somehow don’t know, the above picture shows Char Kway Teow food dish.
Ken, Master sales trainer and Founder of Voicesofsales has a saying which he likes to say near the beginning of any training.
“I am one person who believes that if I char Kway Teow, I char until very good. I don’t char Hor Fun and all that sought of thing. Because I feel that business today has becoming very complicated. The learning process is a very different thing. The mind-sets are very different. I am one person in my career , which mean I do this means I do this. I don’t want to do allot of things to complicate the whole thing.”
This might strike you as the most common sense thing in the world, or rather strange. If you are in the latter camp, you might think: “wait, most Kway Teow stalls do sell Hor Fun” or something similar. This is quite true, if you look at most stalls they sell a variety of items. In fact most business do cater to a variety of products/services. So how exactly does this statement compare? Is Ken out of touch of reality?
Let me address the former camp. Those who think this makes the most sense in the world, you are correct. Anyone who became rich and/or famous focused on one thing, and normally just one thing, better than everyone else to achieve their success.
To become the best in their field. Lets look at some examples.
• Michael Phelps and Joseph Schooling: Focused on swimming and became the best swimmers in the world.
• Bill Gates: Focused on bringing his operating system to every house on earth and became a billionaire because of it
• James Maxwell Clark: Focused on figuring out electromagnetic fields and became one of the most important scientist of all time.
• Bruce Lee: Focused on becoming the best martial artist possible( the films came later)
You can apply this to anyone truly successful and you will see a pattern emerge. To become successful you have to focus on something and become the best at it, or at least in a niche section of it in order to attain that success. The only reason success is attained is if you are willing to put countless hours working on something, and countless more thinking about how to become better. Mastery though repetition.
Like a business mentor once told me “You cannot compete part time against someone who is doing something full time.” We could try, and we would probably lose. I doubt it be close.
So let me start address the doubters. Back to you guys. You might think that while focus is good, multitask is possible and still be more productive. That seems to particularly true of my current generation ( 1990 onward). We try to do 5 things at the same time. We might even try to juggle several major projects at simultantously. While juggle task is essential, which would be better, learning to juggle 27 things or to prefect juggling 3?
What happens when you juggle too many items? Will you catch any? Both I and Ken have seen this happen all too often. People becoming distracted, moving from one project or interest to another, never really completing anything and always starting something new. Nothing wrong with this, I myself am guilty of jumping some ships, but I must admit to myself that I will never gain mastery if I do that.
That is the key to success. In “The dip” by Seth Gordin, he lays this principle in a very simple graph.
Most people go through an excitement period when starting something. A honeymoon phase, a 5 minute excitement before the hard work sets in. Then you really have to put in the time and energy to only get back pain and disappointment. Most people quit and move on to something else. Again. Nothing wrong with that. Those who stay and endure however, reaper the rewards. Eventually. Success is indeed hard work.
Once you reach success, as whoever you define it, then you can do whatever you want. Most people remember Bruce Lee for his films works such as Enter the Dragon. However, most people forget that he only went into films after he got great success in martial arts,and not the other way around.
Another example is Bill Gates. From 1975 till 2006, he focused all his energy on Microsoft. While he did do some small projects and got married during that time, his primary focus was Microsoft. Under his leadership Microsoft grew to become the behemoth it is today. Only in 2006 did he decide to switch is focus to his charitable works. That focus, as well as his now great wealth, has led him to almost eradicate a number of diseases, most noticeably of which was polio.
Here we come back to the Char Kway Teow stall (are you hungry yet? I am). The truth behind every successful stall is that they got very very very good at selling one thing first, before diversifying if at all. Every famous food stall is famous BECAUSE IT IT SELLS ONE GOOD FOOD! MacDonald restaurants got successful by selling hamburger. Now they sell nuggets and fish burgers and ice cream, but they started out with the hamburger and still make a plenty of money selling hamburgers.
This doesn’t mean to say you should not be doing other things. Exercises, reading about the latest trends, relaxing, going out with the family are all things you should be doing in addition to your core focus. The mistake is that people are often swayed by other to char Hor Fun when their focus should be to char Kway Teow. To know where to put your core focus. Once you get good at Kway Teow and you have a line of customers, then maybe, just maybe it is time to start charing some Hor Fun.
For those who still somehow don’t know, this is Hor Fun.