Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to DrTony@Assessments24x7.com!


Single-mindedness might also be called narrow-mindedness or tunnel vision. It's typical of the kind of person who has one goal, one topic, one cause, or only one way of doing things. It's a little like a musical instrument that can only play one note. It may be a lovely note, but it's only ONE note. And that makes for a pretty dull tune.

Single-mindedness doesn't mean that you shouldn't totally commit yourself to something you're passionate about. This negative trait means you can't see that other people have other goals, passions, causes and ways of doing things that are also perfectly valid. Not only valid, but necessary to take into account as you pursue your own direction.

I saw a graphic example of this trait in a story I read about a woman who loved birds very much and was committed to helping them in any way. That included setting out poison for neighborhood cats and squirrels. It seems rather narrow-minded to try to preserve one species at the expense of others. Her neighbors who loved cats and squirrels might have shared her love for birds as well. What could have been a neighborhood effort turned into hostile confrontations.

People who are single-minded have firmly decided what's of importance to them and tend to look for a course of action that allows them to get there. What they miss are all the allies they could have; they miss alternative ways of reaching their goals or furthering their causes. They often don't take into account that they could accomplish their objective AND the objectives of others at the same time.

If becoming single-minded to the point that ignoring the needs of others is a problem for you, then your challenge is to find creative ways of allowing for more possibilities. Again, I'm not suggesting that you give up on your own goals and dreams.

But if you intend to influence people and build support for your projects, you need to learn how to incorporate the ideas or goals of others into the picture. The key is always to look for things that connect two different ideas or goals. People often disagree over means -- the way to accomplish something.

Sometimes there can be real agreement on the positive intent of the goals. Even in the very antagonistic battle over pro-choice versus pro-life in the abortion debate, people from both sides who are willing to talk to each other find common ground in wanting to preserve family values.

When you find your mental focus becoming narrower and narrower on one issue or one approach, remember the one-note instrument. It may be attention-getting, but all by itself, it gets boring.

Here's to more personal insight,


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