Slaying your distractions dragons!β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ β€Œ

Read time: 14 min


Good morning, Achiever! Hump day has passed and today’s the day you’re going to make things happen.

INSPIRATION

“It’s never too late to start beefing up your obituary.”

The Most Interesting Man In The World

NEXT LEVEL: Keep your success going

(Deliberate) Practice Makes Perfect


I’ve been singing in the shower almost every day for decades, and I’m still no Mariah Carey or Freddie Mercury. We’re told “practice makes perfect,” yet if all it takes is practice, why haven’t I sold-out concert venues for my vocals?

Since the early 1990s, Anders Ericsson has sought to further our understanding of how people β€” especially those who become experts β€” 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:

  • Naive practice: “I just played the piano piece ten times. I only played it correctly twice. I don’t know where I messed up, but I played it ten times.” (Sounds like my shower practice sessions.) Most people “practice” this way, but it’s ineffective. Repetition doesn’t equal practice.
  • Purposeful practice has well-defined, specific goals that are useful for each practice session. It’s focused beyond your comfort zone, and you’re receiving feedback and able to judge whether the practice session has been successful.

Principles of Deliberate Practice:

  1. The field must be well developed with clear experts and amateurs, which allow you to know the skills you will need to develop and how people have already been successful.
  2. Deliberate practice requires a teacher or mentor who can provide practice activities to improve performance.
  3. Performing at near maximal effort, continually growing out of your comfort zone. It’s not fun; it’s uncomfortable.
  4. Well defined, specific goals, not aimed at “overall improvement,” but improving particular weaknesses.
  5. Full attention and conscious action.
  6. Feedback and constant little improvements based on feedback.
  7. Adopting and adapting mental representations, “which in turn [makes] possible the incredible memory, pattern recognition, problem-solving, and other sorts of advanced abilities needed to excel in their particular specialties.”
  8. Focusing on building and improving specific skills by concentrating on intermediate goals.

For fields without deliberate “training” options often found in musical pursuits or sports, you can apply the same principles in a looser sense:

  1. Identify the experts and those with great success in the field.
  2. Figure out why they’re exceptional, what they do differently than others, and the successful training methods that led to their expertise and mastery.
  3. Develop training techniques to emulate their abilities.

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


The multitude of available options for receiving news today can make staying informed challenging. Between TV channels, websites, and print publications, it can be overwhelming to find the content you want. Furthermore, most news outlets require us to sift through advertisements and decipher actual news from paid promotions, confusing or aggravating us while we’re trying to find the bottom line. Achievers are busy people and usually prefer to consume content on their own schedule.

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.

Our personal favorite? Curio offers ad-free listening that can be done on-the-go, online, or offline. Stay informed with the latest and be smarter every day.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Master the soft skills

Fear Of Loss Hurts More


Fear of loss motivates more than the potential gain. This is different than FOMO, the “fear of missing out.” Humans are more prone to react more favorably to an avoided loss than a perceived gain.

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


Do you often find yourself working on a project one second, and then the next, you’re thinking about something completely unrelated? Blame your brain. It’s wired to be distracted.

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.

The Results:

  • Over half of all participants admitted to a significant disruption in the flow of work due to excess mind wandering
  • Only 20% said they could cope with stress during the week.
  • Younger people (uh oh) were less focused compared to more senior leaders due to a greater reliance on social media and phones.
  • From Monday to Friday, people’s focus started high at the beginning of the week.
  • On Thursday morning, however, people’s ability to regulate their focus and stress declined rapidly, with the most significant drop-off late Friday afternoon. #weekendvibes

Sleep and Mindfulness for Focus

  • More people in the study got good sleep at the start of the week, then the amount and quality declined by Wednesday night.
  • The lucky people who were able to keep a healthy sleep routine throughout the week were 15% more focused and 12% better able to manage stress.
  • People who frequently practice mindfulness were 22% more focused and 23% better able to manage stress.

You

Figure out when your distraction dragons come out for attack with these questions:

  • When are you most focused, energetic, and productive during the day?
  • When does your mind wander? Where does it go? What triggers it?
  • Do you become a grouch when you don’t sleep enough or have a restless night?

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


Self-creation, developing an identity or conception of yourself, is both painful and necessary. “Educatedis a bold memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school by her parents, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a Ph. D. from Cambridge University. Tara Westover, born to survivalists of Mormon faith in the mountains of Idaho, was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one older brother became violent.

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.”

Educatedis 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 β€” of developing a sense of self and what you think about the world.

FUN STUFF

curio

cu·​rio | noun

: something (such as a decorative object) considered novel, rare, or bizarre

NEWS BREAK: Stay informed

  • The U.S. surpassed 150,000 coronavirus deaths. Cases in N.J. are rising after four days of nearly 2,000 new cases, a total the state hadn’t seen over the past month.
  • The U.S. will bring about 6,400 troops home from Germany and shift about 5,600 to other countries in Europe, a plan that will cost billions of dollars and take years to complete.
  • The Trump admin.’s $765 million-dollar loan to the Eastman Kodak Co. (yes, the camera company) to begin producing generic drug ingredients sent shares soaring. So far this week, the stock is up around 1,150% after the news was announced.
  • A new study suggests a blood test to detect the tau protein, a hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s, is as accurate as a spinal tap or a PET scan, which are the current gold standards of diagnosis while a person is living.

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!