"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Thursday, September 3, 2009


If you have enjoyed watching the legendary Bruce Lee, whose fists shook the world during the 70's, in the movies, you would probably recall one of his last movies, 'Enter the Dragon' - the one just before the 'Game of Death'.

In the opening segment of the movie, Bruce Lee was seen working with a young martial arts student, who just didn't seem to get the essence of a particular move, when asked repeatedly to kick our hero.

Bruce instructed him to do it with "feeling" or rather "emotional content", but the student still had trouble getting beyond the technique to the spirit of the move.

So, Bruce provided him with what I thought was a very beautiful illustration:

"It's like a finger pointing away to the moon", while stretching out his arm & pointing towards the sky."

At the same time, the student began to stare at Bruce's finger, & Bruce gave a quick smack on top of the seemingly bewildered student's head, saying:

"Don't look at the finger, or you'll miss all of that heavenly glory."

[Amusingly, if you had paid attention to the movie: After the lesson, the student bowed, but Bruce smacked him again, & warned him that he should not take his eyes off his opponent, even when bowing.

The student bowed one last time, but this time he kept his eyes on Bruce. Bruce said: "That's better." The student then walked away with a grin.]

What Bruce Lee had demonstrated in the movie was essentially the power of soft focus.

'Soft focus' comes about when we are gazing at what's around us, or what's ahead of us, in the far horizon, rather than staring at what's directly in front of us.

That's to say, one is totally aware of what's happening around oneself, immediate as well as beyond, when in 'soft focus'.

I would even add that, with 'soft focus', one even has this gut-feel/intuitive sense of one's surroundings, immediate as well as beyond.

Especially as a martial artist, 'soft focus' is critical to personal success.

In fact, legendary Japanese combat strategist of the 16th century, Miyamoto Musashi, excelled in it too.

In today's rapidly-changing world at accelerating pace & with increasing complexity, I believe that 'soft focus' is a prerequisite for personal as well as professional success.

It's akin to wide-angle vision, as illustrated beautifully by innovation strategist Wayne Burkan in his now classic book bearing the same name, which I had already reviewed in an earlier post.

He calls it 'splatter vision'.

He explains, from the business world perspective:

"In reality, you are unfocusing your eyes, maximising your peripheral vision, sustaining a soft focus, increasing your view of the landscape with an almost 180 degree-field-of-vision, in order to avoid becoming so focused that you expect your challenge to come from a specific direction!"

I fully agree with Wayne Burkan that 'soft focus' is a useful & powerful anticipation tool, with which you can apply to constantly scan the entire business landscape in sweeping motions in order to avoid missing "unexpected gaps", which could be potential threats &/or hidden opportunities.

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