Making the Case

April 28, 2021 • Awareness & the Mind

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In teaching or encouraging others to learn to focus, we have to make the case. What do I mean by that? Well, let me tell you a story about how I learned this very important lesson. In 2018, I was invited to speak at the 18th World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea. The 3-day event had around 3,000 attendees and an impressive lineup of speakers that included former prime ministers and presidents of countries, Nobel prize winners and so on. 

On one of the evenings, I was invited to a private dinner with about 70 to 80 dignitaries that were attending the event. The evening started with drinks in the courtyard. I was standing and speaking to a couple of people when a gentleman walked up to me and said, “Hi, who are you and what are you here speaking about?” I introduced myself to him and shared a little about what I was speaking on. He introduced himself as Reince Priebus, Former White House Chief of Staff. I chose not to judge him by his political affiliation, instead, I talked and listened to him the way I would any person who approaches me respectfully, with an open mind and curiosity, and I’m really glad I did as I learned a lot in our conversation. In our conversation, he pointed out that the primary reason why people are not successful in making a point, or successfully conveying their message, is that they do not make their case.

I asked him to elaborate on that, and he went on to point to a speech given earlier in the day by Ban Ki-moon (the former Secretary General of the United Nations) about environmental issues in the world. Reince pointed out that he could have done a better job in making his case. He went on to say, “For example, how do we make the case to a single mother of three living in Pennsylvania who has two jobs, that she needs to care for the environment when all she can think of is caring for her kids and making ends meet. When you can make the case, you can get people to buy in. You need to connect the dots for them. When you can make the case to the single mother of three in Pennsylvania, then she will buy into doing her part for the environment. But you have to make the case.”

The phrase “make the case” was a big revelation to me and probably one of my most significant learnings that year. I have traveled the world to teach people about focus, but in this conversation with Reince, I realized that I have not really made the case as to why we need to focus. After this conversation, I started to make the case each time I spoke on focus, and I saw immediately that my message had a more significant impact on my audience. 

So, as you learn to focus and feel inspired to share and teach your children, friends, and family, or colleagues just make sure you “make the case”. Don’t just tell your children to focus, because if you do so then this will be one more thing you are telling them to do without giving them a reason. You need to make the case to them for focus, and unless you do this, there will be very little impetus for them to focus. You need to get them to buy in on why it is important to focus. 

Teaching children to focus is a topic I hope to address one day because as a child I was always told to focus, but no one showed me how to do it, and so I inevitably failed at doing so.

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