Never underestimate the compounding effect of repeatedly doing small things that push you toward your goals. Ten minutes of daily focus for six months adds up to 30 HOURS. In six months from now you could be near functional fluency in a foreign language, looking and feeling healthier, or free of some annoying habit…
Or you can simply be a half a year older.
Pretending that you shouldn’t be upset, sad, frustrated, or temporarily despondent because “other people have it worse” is as foolish as saying that you shouldn’t feel joy, delight, or celebrate wins because “others have it better.”
Your experience need not be compared to anything to be valid.
It’s possible that we’re not so distracted and overwhelmed because of the sheer amount of stimuli we’re exposed to. There are a million possible uses of attention. Instead, we should consider this a problem of “filter failure.”
The ability to focus on what’s important depends on our ability to disconnect from the 99% of things that don’t deserve our attention, so all that’s left is our priority.
Most of today’s thoughts and activities tend to be a repeat of yesterday’s. Barring any major life disruptions — ups or downs — we’re generally on auto-pilot when we’re just living our lives. It’s not often that we act with intention.
Practicing deliberate focus on even a few things, for a few minutes each day, increases the awareness and the time spent truly paying attention to our uses of energy.
I don’t mean anything mystical when I refer to “energy.” I simply mean being deliberate and present. Taste your food when you eat, pray when you’re praying, feel your muscles when you walk, connect with loved ones when you’re with them, work when you’re working and play when you’re playing.
Sometimes we seek out alternate workouts, diets, or the 10 new marketing tactics of the year. Experimenting is great for learning what works. But once we find something that works, we can devote less time to seeking other methods.
Better to use the three marketing tactics that bring in new business consistently, than 20 tactics that sometimes work just a little bit. Better to eat the foods we love and that serve us than to try to “mix it up” purely for the sake of variety (unless variety alone brings you joy).
Experimenting allows us to figure out what few things work well. Once we identify those few things, spend less time seeking to swap them out for the next big thing.
My inspiring friend Pat started training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu after she turned 60. She was already athletic, and now she’s athletic and…not someone you want to mess with.
Sam Walton founded Walmart at age 44. Julia Child wrote her first cookbook at age 50. “Colonel” Sanders franchised his first KFC at age 62.
It’s not too late. Take action. As the Chinese proverb says: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
With some effort, perhaps we can normalize saying things like “I don’t know enough about that topic to have an informed opinion.”
One way to move in that direction is to acknowledge that, no matter your expertise, there is some aspect of any topic of which you are ignorant — limited by a lack of compelling data or maybe just a perspective you’ve been denied through no fault of your own.
My hope is that one day, an admission that someone “doesn’t know enough yet” will not only be normal, but as respected as the expert answer.