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Too Focused?!



I recently came across a Latin phrase that I found very helpful. Hominem unis libri timeo, which is a warning that means "Beware the person of a single book." While the origin of this phrase is unclear, what it's basically saying is that it's possible to be too focused on singular issue, perspective or source, which can ultimately limit our view and keep us closed to other ideas and perspectives. Tunnel Vision!

For example, if I only ever listen to the same news source for all of my information, my perspective on the events of the world will quickly become jaded to that focus. Or if I only talk to the same person for advice whenever I am facing a difficult decision, my options for choices will be limited to what the two of us can come up with together - about everything! "Beware the person of a single book."


What this warning is encouraging us to do instead, is to look for multiple views and perspectives to help give us a broader understanding of life. In other words, it's possible to actually be too focused at times.


Now don't get me wrong, focus is a good thing! There are times when it's important to shut out distractions and get a laser focus on a project or the completion of a task. But there is also a place for seeking input from various sources and being curious about other perspectives. This is especially true when we are trying to make significant decisions, figure out new directions, or solve large problems. In those circumstances, limiting our sources of input only hinders our ability to see what other options may be available to us. When we make sure we aren't just reading from a single book, we can find insights and wisdom we would never have considered otherwise.

What decisions are you facing right now that you may be in danger of "reading from a single book"? Who could you reach out to (with curiosity and openness!) in order to gain a different perspective on your problem? What might need to shift inside of you or your team in order to be more open to other ideas and viewpoints?


Hominem unis libri timeo - Beware the person of a single book. Here's to reading from more than one book this week!

Be Well,

Stephen Center was created to support individuals and teams so they can live from their Purposeful Center. We specialize in executive coaching and leadership development and we’d love to support you! Click on our Services page to book a free consultation.


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