The world wants you to be distracted.
There’s a fortune to be made off your distraction. Television, streaming services, movie studios, social media, apps, video games, smart phone companies, and countless other billion-dollar industries have but one goal:
To make you watch their stuff.
As Cal Newport wrote in Deep Work:
“Network tools [like social media, email, the Internet] are distracting us from work that requires unbroken concentration, while simultaneously degrading our capacity to remain focused.”
Entering into hyper-focused states and achieving top-tier results only possible through long, uninterrupted periods of deep concentration — is increasingly rare in today’s economy. As such, it has become increasingly valuable.
Shallow work — sporadic, spontaneous production interrupted by side-projects, email, and social media — is everywhere. The results are common and cheap. If you can learn how to eliminate distractions, you can do the kind of work almost no one else can — and achieve more goals than almost anyone else.
Completely Ignore Distractions and Consistently Enter Flow States
Distractions are the enemy. Distractions destroy creativity, momentum, and focus. They seek to dominate you, much like the addiction seeks to dominate the addict. They will if you let them.
If you want to cultivate a lifestyle that enables intense focus every day, where your influence is enormous and your efforts are hyper-concentrated to create incredible results…
You must remove all barriers that make this possible.
First, learn when you are primed to enter flow states, then always act during those times.
Consistently following routines creates physiological energy spikes.
Dr. Michael Breus calls this “The Power of When.” There are specific times when you are most primed for nearly every task. People are divided into 4 main chronotypes (you can take a short quiz here to see which one you most align with). Each type has a very specific timetable for entering into peak flow states.
Learn about yourself. Find out if you get your best work done at 5AM, 1PM, or midnight. Then always act during those times.
Soon, distractions will grow weaker. Flow states will become commonplace.
Operating at your peak level will become a daily routine.
This simple tweak can help you achieve literally 10x more than usual, using far less energy too.
Remove Emotional Blocks For Maximum Performance
After the first 4.5 years of my writing, I achieved practically nothing — no readers, no money. I thought more action was the answer, but I had never addressed my poor mindset and old emotional blocks that were preventing me from progress.
I started going to therapy and counseling, finally addressing the root issues holding me back. One of my biggest issues was people-pleasing, the fear of letting others down; I had been so busy saying “yes” to everyone I had no time to work on my truly important goals.
I should’ve been more selective with my time and focus. So that’s what I started to do — I said no to anything that wouldn’t help me achieve my goal of being a writer.
I was offered remote work, freelance jobs, a music role in my church, private tutoring, a youth basketball coach, seats on volunteer committee boards — I said no to all of them.
After just a year, I had begun a truly successful writer. I had a book deal, hundreds of thousands of readers, and I was making thousands of dollars a month from my work.
I had to remove the emotional blocks holding me back before I could make any real progress.
As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote in his book Flow: “It is better to look suffering straight in the eye, acknowledge and respect its presence, and then get busy as soon as possible focusing on things we choose to focus on.”
Don’t waste any more time and energy on low-level activities and behaviors that aren’t getting you where you want to go. Remove all blocks and focus on making real progress towards real goals.
Ignoring Distractions is a Conscious Choice
Distractions only exist because you allow them to.
Many of us have loud homes, full of kids and families and pets and TV and chores. It might seem impossible to have any kind of “quiet time,” away from the distractions and obligations of your life.
It might be very hard. But we can all make time for the truly important things in our life. You might have to tell those around you that you won’t be as available for a short season while you work to improve your future. Because the truth is, ignoring distractions is a conscious choice — distractions only exist because you allow them to.
More discipline equals more freedom. The more disciplined you are with your time, energy, and environment, the more freedom you’ll have throughout your day.
Your life is not unlike a business, and whether you like it or not, you are the CEO. If your business is failing, losing assets, and generally declining, it’s because of you.
Most people don’t want this responsibility. They want to blame everything around them but themselves.
But as best-selling author Hal Elrod once wrote: “The moment you accept responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life.”
It’s time to take your life back. Back from the news, your boss, the economy, your upbringing, and the president’s latest tweet. Nothing else matters; just you and your work.
Nothing can distract you.
No one can derail you.
But they can — if you let them.
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