Slaying your distractions dragons!
|Read time: 14 min
“It’s never too late to start beefing up your obituary.”
NEXT LEVEL: Keep your success going
(Deliberate) Practice Makes Perfect
Since the early 1990s, Anders Ericsson has sought to further our understanding of how people — especially those who become experts — learn and master skills. He’s distilled many of his findings into his book “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.”
Ericsson’s research distinguishes between naive practice and purposeful practice:
Principles of Deliberate Practice:
For fields without deliberate “training” options often found in musical pursuits or sports, you can apply the same principles in a looser sense:
If true deliberate practice is not possible, try to come close to it.
For me, I think I’ll remain blissfully naive with my singing and focus my deliberate practice in other pursuits.
ACHIEVERS’ ARMORY: Equip yourself with proven tools & tactics
Curate The News You Want
Cure your curiosity with Curio. Curio is a mobile app that finds the news stories you want to hear and delivers them in an easy to listen to audio format. Curio starts by identifying what you want to learn from the news each day. They then trawl through reputable and popular news sources to curate a playlist of news articles that you want to hear.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Master the soft skills
Fear Of Loss Hurts More
Don’t think so? Imagine the money in your bank account right now. Then imagine you check your balance online, and it reads double what you thought you had. You’re confused at first and then smile to yourself, surprised you’re in better shape than you thought. Feeling pretty awesome, you go about your day. Now imagine the opposite. You check your bank account first thing after waking up and BAM, half the money you thought was there is gone. Did you spend on something you forgot? Were there bills scheduled? Where did all your money go? You scroll through the ledger and scrutinize every entry and become confused and angry that your money is gone.
Which scenario was more emotional? The loss of your money, of course! Why is this? The thought of losing something you’ve already gained is far more impactful and potent than thinking of obtaining something you don’t currently have. It hurts more to be worse off than you were than to lose something you could have had. In our example, the gain was 2x the loss, and it probably still made you sweat. Imagine if you potentially lost all your money, sheesh.
When you make decisions, negotiate, or sell, think carefully about what your reasons are. Avoiding a pitfall will often motivate more than gaining a windfall when motivating yourself or others.
MINDSET: Train your brain to win
Put Your Distraction Dragons to Bed and Focus
Distractibility is not a convenient or beloved trait when you’re trying to work or get something done. Research shows that close to half of individuals (42%) fail to focus on their tasks consistently throughout the workday.
For many, we are most focused in the morning until the distraction dragons (the distracting pull of co-worker gossip, Instagram, a last-minute sale, wedding daydreams even though you’re single) come out to play for a majority of our working hours. Towards the end of the workday, the dragons disappear, and our focus begins to recover.
Interestingly, each of us has a unique focus curve that reflects our needs and personality. Potential Project set out to create a way to help you track your mind wanderings and help you strengthen your focus over the week.
Sleep and Mindfulness for Focus
Figure out when your distraction dragons come out for attack with these questions:
If you want a detailed report of your mind flow throughout the week, check out the app Mindgrow. With Mindgrow, you track your mood, distractions, and ability to focus. At the end of 5 days, you receive a Mind Discovery Report – a personalized summary of your mind’s travels from the week.
Armor up and slay those distraction dragons.
SELF-DISCOVERY: Unleash the achiever within
The Pain of Self-Creation
After one of her brothers was accepted into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and then to Cambridge University in the pursuit of self-creation.
When Tara’s parents make a surprise visit to her in Cambridge, she knows they have only come because her father wants to warn her of the “disaster” that awaits her unless she recommits to their faith. She has been torn for years between the love she still feels for these parents and the intellectual life that engages her imagination.
Tara writes, “Everything I had worked for, all my years of study, had been to purchase for myself this one privilege: to see and experience more truths than those given to me by my father, and to use those truths to construct my own mind. I had come to believe that the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create. If I yielded now, I would lose more than an argument. I would lose custody of my own mind. . . what my father wanted to cast from me wasn’t a demon: it was me.”
“Educated” is an account of the struggle for self-invention. Tara gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
We yield to others’ opinions and expectations so often that our own potential becomes stifled. Tara’s experience is an extreme version of something everyone goes through with their parents. At some point in your childhood, you transition from thinking they know everything to realizing they are adults with limitations. As Westover writes, “My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.” Education is a process of self-discovery — of developing a sense of self and what you think about the world.
cu·rio | noun
: something (such as a decorative object) considered novel, rare, or bizarre
NEWS BREAK: Stay informed
1% BETTER: Improve each day
If you have a first aid kit, put it in your car for emergencies. If you don’t have one, order one!