Success: Focused Intensity Over Time

According to Dave Ramsey, success in getting out of debt and in business is: focused intensity over time. This is such a powerful equation that may seem simple at first, but proves difficult to carry out in the long run. Tonight in a small group meeting, there were some college students / young adults sharing their vision for ministry. They had great ideas and wonderful passion; and if their dreams turned into reality they would surely be a force to be reckoned with. So how can they succeed in bringing these visions to pass? How does anyone succeed in achieving their long-time, lofty goals?

Whether it's getting out of debt, starting and growing a business, or completing a degree, the only way you can succeed is focused intensity over a long period of time. Many people have one or two pieces of this equation, but it's rare to see all three. Here's the breakdown.


Regardless of what you're trying to achieve, you have to start with intensity. Passion. Drive. These are words that should accurately describe the feelings you have towards your goal. You need to be fired up and ready to attack the issue or task with vigor. A lukewarm or lackadaisical attitude won't be consistent and won't get the job done. Be excited to start the process; you'll need to draw on this passion later.


Great intensity without focus creates many dreams, but few realities. To be intense is not enough. Intensity can be spread so thin that no single task is accomplished; rather many tasks will be left half-baked. Channel your passion and intensity towards a single goal.

While going on a missions trip, feeding the local homeless, starting a women's ministry and leading a home Bible study are all noble causes, attempting to accomplish all these will leave many unfinished. Choose one goal, one dream, and chase after it. Maybe when you achieve your first goal you can move onto the next, but to be effective you must focus that intensity.


This may be the hardest part. People can get excited over a new idea, and they may even focus on it for a short period; but the long haul is where success lies. That focused intensity also requires endurance. Anyone can start a business, but a thriving business requires attention and patience.

Often we see those who have achieved great things as "overnight success stories." The truth is, many times there was painstaking work behind that success, and it took a long time.

I recently listened to Alec Baldwin's podcast, Here's the Thing. The latest episode was an interview with David Letterman, clearly a successful man. It's easy to look at Letterman and think, "it must have been so easy for him." But listen to the podcast and hear his story. Success takes patience, perseverance and drive.

Focus on a goal, get excited, attack with passion, and stand the test of endurance.