For many years Sunrise Engineering had 4 season tickets at the Delta Center for entrance to the home games of the Utah Jazz. The seats were nice and located in the lower bowel. We divided out the home games at the beginning of the Season to employees who could take key clients to the games. It was a great business development activity and employee perk.
I remember one night at the Delta Center watching the great Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls play against the Utah Jazz. The Jazz easily beat the Bulls through the first three quarters with a 12 or 15 point lead. At the beginning of the 4th quarter, Michael Jordan took the game over. It was plain to see that every possession was critical to him and he did all he could to make sure the Bulls scored the ball on each possession. The Bulls won the game pulling away.
I have thought a great deal about that experience. Michael Jordan could “compartmentalize” or “focus” his life on each possession. Professional tennis players are masters of the same attribute of “focus” on each volley. The past is over, the future never comes and the only thing that is important is the present moment. They can block everything else out and focus all their energy on the moment.
Another lesson on a slightly broader perspective of focus came while running our business at Sunrise. We recognized that everything we did at Sunrise could be segregated into of 1 of our 4 core operations. This really added clarity to doing business by focusing of all our various activities to our core operations:
1 – Production of Deliverables
2 – Business Development
3 – Employee Development
4 – Business Administration
If we ever found ourselves doing something or expending resources that could not be entered under one of these core operations, we stopped doing it.
PMG requires similar focus on core activities: “If you and your companion cannot see how a proselyting activity might help increase the numbers of people in one or more key indicators, you need to question whether the activity is worth your time.” (PMG p. 139)
The LDS Church does the same thing in its ecclesiastical work. Members of the church, “…were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.” (DC 138:56) We are also told that the Lord will, “…hasten [His] work [the work of salvation] in its time.” (DC 88:56) The question begs to be asked, “What is the Work of Salvation?” Section 5 of Handbook 2 for Administering the Church directly answers this question and explains in detail the content of the 5 core operations for the work of salvation.
1 – Member Missionary Work
2 – Convert Retention
3 – Activation
4 – Temple and Family History Work
5 – Teaching the Gospel
The rest of the content of Handbooks 1 and 2 contain instruction for consistent administrative and procedural protocol and duties for leaders in the church to accomplish the “work of salvation,” along with a short discussion of the relationship between families and church in God’s plan, priesthood principles and Church leadership principles. But, every activity in the Church can be entered into one of these 5 core operations.
Missionaries have traditionally centered their concerns on number 1 – Member Missionary Work. However, in the 2014 new mission president seminar, Elder Nelson expanded the understanding of full time missionary work.
Our missionary purpose is to: “Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.” “…enduring to the end,” gives full time missionaries responsibilities in all 5 of the core operations of the church listed above.
Among other things, missionaries are to now teach the 5th Lesson before baptism, take the lead in teaching all lessons including lesson 5 after baptism and maintain daily contact for 3 or 4 months after baptism plus remain in contact for the rest of your life. Missionaries and members will now assist new converts to prepare for temple attendance and assist new converts to do family history work. Other ways will surely be found to assist Wards and Branches in all 5 core operations.
So, there are 2 principles here. One, compartmentalizing meaning you live in the compartment of the moment and put other parts of your life, either past, future or present, into compartments that are out of mind while you focus on the task at hand. For example, if you struggle with a sin, you do not have to overcome temptation for the next 6 months, you just have to overcome right now.
Two, you understand to focus all your actions on your core operations. Understand what your core operations are and stop doing activities that do not support them.
These are 2 powerful ways to become a highly skilled missionary here and a productive responsible citizen in life. It works in all aspects of your life. To master these life skills is really a representation of your faith in God which dismisses worry and doubt. I believe compartmentalizing in the moment and focus on core operations may be part of what Christ was talking about when he said:
26 Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith.
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof. (3 Nephi 13:26-34)