Here’s a 16th Century Lesson on Focus

Sundays are useful touchstones for our goals.

Last week, I told you about my maniacal focus for 2012. At the beginning of the week, I stuck carefully to my plan.  But after two consecutive 15-hour days at work, I let my mind wander a little. I’m sure you know how that goes.

Well, Sunday is a great touchstone.  And who provided my guidance and support?  A 16th century saint and Doctor of the Church.  Moreover, he’s the patron saint of bloggers.  (They called bloggers “writers” in his day, though.)  And my favorite church is named after him.

Stand up and give yourself a round of applause you said, “Saint Francis de Sales.” 


A truly wonderful friend and noble warrior for liberty gave me a book by St. Francis for Christmas. I treasure it. 

And I’m thrilled to see that this great saint and Doctor of the Church agrees about focus.

I get a fair amount of requests (sometimes demands) to do more stuff. “Bill, why don’t we have a weekly protest here?”  “Why don’t you post more events on the calendar?”  “When is the Tea Party going to hold another big rally so Dick Morris can sneak Roy Blunt up on stage so people will hate you for years to come.”

The big answer is simple: if we try to chase after every opportunity, we will accomplish nothing.

Here’s what St. Francis had to say:

The enemy often tries to make us attempts and start many projects so that we will be overwhelmed with too many tasks, and therefore achieve nothing and leave everything unfinished.  Sometimes he even suggests the wish to undertake some excellent work that we would have easily completed. He does not care how many plans and beginnings we make, provided nothing is finished. No more than Pharaoh does he wish to prevent the “mystical women of Israel” – that is, Christian souls – from bringing forth male children, provided they are slain before they grow up.

That pattern sounds familiar to me. I am so easily distracted by new things.  I worry that my focus on the sails of the boat I’m on will cause me to miss some other, better ship that I’d rather sail. 

But the more shiny objects we chase, the more fools’ gold we mine. 

In 2012, let’s focus on building a network of friends. Activists friends who share a love of country, liberty, and decency.  We will work together, learn together, recruit together, campaign together, laugh together, and celebrate victory together.

In this mission of The After Party, I believe the enemy is fragmentation.  Fragmented teams, fragmented minds, fragmented projects.  So, with many other intentions, I pray now for unity of purpose, integrated effort, and singularity of purpose. 

And if you don’t believe me, just ask St. Francis de Sales.