“The most dangerous distractions are the ones you love, but that don’t love you back.”
– Warren Buffett

From my primary blog here.

Distractions are nearly everywhere in today’s world. Regardless of the industry, advertisements and promotions play a major part in running a successful business. It’s no surprise, then, that we are bombarded by offers and solicitations. Worse still, the sort of fragmented mentality which has developed as a result has had a dramatic impact on productivity. How do we respond? And is there any way to insulate ourselves from these enticements?

Into the Belly of the Beast

As always, I think it’s important that we first define our terms. To me, a distraction is anything which is not my intended focus. By this, I mean to suggest that there is nothing inherently nefarious about a distraction. Sometimes, in fact, a distraction can be in our best interests – like an alarm you set so that you would remember to pick up your child from school while you’re out running errands. Your focus was the grocery shopping, but your alarm reminds you of something more important.

More often than not, however, distractions are those things which keep us from success. Every one of us maintains hobbies and habits. Thankfully, there’s nothing offensive about that at all. It becomes a problem, though, when the things we love to do are not the things which we need to do. If you focus all of your efforts into trivialities and neglect your greater responsibilities, you’ll never get anywhere. Incidentally, failure to achieve is still failure to achieve regardless of how much fun you were having at the time.

Much Ado About What Now?

Really, the best defense here is a strong offense. It has become frightfully easy — and very accepted — to wander away from your intended path. Anyone with a smartphone (so-called) knows how easily a well-intentioned afternoon of hard work can become hours of text messages and social media. While these sorts of simple distractions seem benign enough, a little can add up to a lot. It’s imperative that we be aware of our own behaviour and guard the time we have each day. Without vigilance, the years slip by with nothing to show for it.

The first step is to set goals. Unless you know just what, exactly, it is that you intend to accomplish, you’ll make little progress towards it. Take the time — without distractions — to outline your short, mid, and long-term goals. Make them reasonable, and be certain to account for reality and setbacks. Having accomplished that, set a plan for how you will achieve your goals. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: life will not hand you success.

A Life Without Distractions

When the people around you see the intensity with which you guard your time, they may think you’re out of touch or old-fashioned. Be careful whom you take advice from. If those you know don’t have a history of accomplishment, they’re unlikely to give you any advice of value. Likewise, it’s almost inevitable they’ll think you’re odd for trying so hard. Let them think as much while you go about your day with a focused intensity. Don’t let the distractions of the world keep you from your dreams.

Thank you for your time.


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