Today, I’m gonna share with you 3 essential principles to directing your attention and time that so rarely discussed, and that:
- Provide a framework for every strategy, tip and hack out there;
- Radically solve your “busy-ness” problem;
- Empower you to live the life you want, on your terms.
the one word Mike & I hear most.
It is one of the biggest pain points in peoples’ lives and sources of dissatisfaction, and sometimes outright agony and dis-ease.
“I feel like I can’t catch up with life”
It is the driving motivation behind why people choose to change, and one of the top reasons our clients sign up with us.
- be less overwhelmed by what’s keeping me busy,
- do more; accomplish more… achieve more… more,
- work through burnout,
- be more productive.
It is the excuse people use when they quit on themselves.
- I didn’t have time to meditate. You can’t believe the week I had! It was craaazy!!
- I didn’t do this week’s growthwork. I was so tired after work and putting the kids to bed.
It is one of the top reasons people give up on what they want before they even try.
- I really want to get in better shape, but I don’t have time.
- I’ve had this idea for a startup, but I can barely manage my life right now.
And in the rare breed of super achievers, it is their point of pride:
“I’m so busy, I sleep 3 hrs a night.”
And also brings their demise. It shows up in their physical, mental and emotional body when they finally burn out.
No wonder, when the average person today consumes more information a day than a highly educated person 500 years ago consumed – IN A LIFETIME!
And in case that didn’t hit home, according to Bernard Marr’s Forbes article: “How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind-Blowing Stats Everyone Should Read”,
there are 2.5 quintillion bytes (that is a million million million) of data created each day at our current pace. And over the last two years alone 90 percent of the data in the world was generated.
There’s the information we create…
Every day, more than 300 million photos get uploaded on Facebook.
- 527,760 photos are shared on Snapchat;
- 4,146,600 YouTube videos are watched;
- 16 million text messages are sent.
Then there is the information we generally try to avoid…
Digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. And every minute there are 103,447,520 spam emails sent.
So we are busy… when we choose to be, and when we don’t.
our brains are BUSY, working on overdrive when we’re at work.
And they are working almost exactly as hard when we are not!
This is a very big problem.
Because, guess what?
Time is our most valuable resource, and the ONLY resource that is irreplaceable.
And attention is the most essential mental resource for any organism.
“It determines which aspects of the environment we deal with…. millions of neurons are constantly monitoring the environment to select the most important things for us to focus on.”
DANIEL J. LEVITIN – Why It’s So Hard To Pay Attention, Explained By Science
And there is a limit to the processing capacity of our conscious mind.
In case you are wondering, it is estimated at 120 bits per second. Or more plainly put, it means you can barely understand two people talking to you at the same time!
And all this information processing?
It is costing us.
It is making us tired.
It is making us unable to tell the difference between important information (how to invest your money, spend quality time with your kids) and trivial information (why Will Smith slapped Chris Rock).
It is influencing how we feel.
It is programming our desires, our fears and our perspective about the world.
It is greatly impacting what our life is going to be like.
No wonder you feel tired, overwhelmed, and out of control.
No wonder, you are desperately looking for strategies, tips and hacks to reclaim your time and attention and focus it on what is important to you in your life.
There is so much written on this topic, from:
- Turn off any distractions and take a social media detox;
- Learn to set boundaries and say no;
- Create a vision board;
- Organize your calendar and set goals on a daily basis.
And they help… a lot.
But rarely do they actually solve the problem, at its root level, and in the long term.
Jay Shetty in his book: “Think Like a Monk” shares a story from Gauranga Das’s life. One of the senior monks led him to a neglected attic and asked him what he saw as he looked at a mirror covered with a thick layer of dust.
Gauranga Das answered: Nothing. I see dust.
The senior monk replied: as it is in life, “your identity is a mirror covered with dust. When you first look in the mirror, the truth of who you are and what you value is obscured. Clearing it may not be pleasant, but only when that dust is gone can you see your true reflection.”
The dust is:
- society’s expectations,
- your parents belief systems,
- the pains you’ve never dealt with and your insecurities,
- the media and the picture of what’s hip, hot and in fashion.
I know it sounds obvious, and yet when was the last time you actually set time aside, and actually examined where you spend your money and your time?
When was the last time you asked yourself (in the words of Jay Shetty):
Is this me or is this dust?
The biggest two pitfalls are these:
#1 Of Course I Should! – Tune Out The Obvious
“When we tune out the opinions, expectations and obligations of the world around us, we begin to hear ourselves.” – Jay Shetty – Think Like a Monk
One of our biggest two pitfalls is: the things that seem so obvious or unquestionable.
- Why am I saving up to buy a house? Because if your dream is to travel the world, then perhaps there are better investment options than owning a house.
- Why do I send my kids to school?
- Why do I live where I live?
- Why do I keep my job?
Is it me, or is it dust?
#2 My True Desires – Dig Deep for Your Own Unique Vision & Values
Ask yourself that question about your desires and what you wish you would make time for…
- Do you really want to learn guitar or are you in love with your image as an accomplished guitar player?
- Do you enjoy spending hours working with people through their stuckness, and watching them fail, quit, get frustrated, or do you think it is your ticket to making an impact?
I have a friend who is so stuck in wanting everything all the time.
She wants to travel the world, start a company, and start a family… all at the same time. She wants to become the best writer, speaker, dancer, actor, and pretty much every “sexy” skill.
It is leaving her with immense anxiety and a chronic sense of dissatisfaction.
And she is not alone.
I regularly catch myself with habits, behaviors, goals and desires that upon examination, really do not reflect my vision or what I value in my life.
See, if your life is filled with everything you think you should have or do, and then topped with every fantasy programmed into you…
you will never have the time to live the life you actually want.
And you will never be happy!
The detox, removing distractions and minimizing your life, come really handy here.
Because you will never know if your life is filled to the brim with social media messages, tasks and expectations.
Lean your life for a month, and in that time, ask yourself:
- Is this what I actually want?
- Is this what I actually believe?
- Will this make me happy?
- Do I find joy, purpose or meaning in the process of doing this, or am I in love with the image only?
WHAT IS ACTUALLY NON-NEGOTIABLE?
One of the things Mike and I hear the most from our clients is: “I don’t have time”.
Technically speaking, if we have a pulse, we have time.
Time, like money, is a value statement. And the real question is: where am I spending it?
Where is my time occupied?
Many people, when talking about not having time to get to the things they want in their life, make a big mistake: they look at what they want as an ad on.
They think: I wanna do everything in my life exactly as I have done it in the past, AND I wanna write a book.
Thinking of your vision as the thing you want to do on top of your life doesn’t work.
Because your vision is your life!
So do you have a vision that encompasses every area of your life?
Are you crystal clear on this vision? And if you are in a relationship, are you and your partner aligned on this vision?
Because if you do not, you can rest assured that your society, family, and advertising companies have one for you – one that will take up your whole life and leave you no time for anything else.
And if you do have a crystal clear vision, then there are two questions you need to be asking yourself.
The first is the one you know: what do I need to start doing that I have not been doing to attain my vision / goals?
The next question is the one you are not asking enough. And you need to get creative and radical with it.
What am I doing now that I need to stop doing to attain my vision / goals?
And this means you might stop doing things that are considered “the norm”, and God forbid, others that are considered essential – things that you may get judged or shamed for not doing:
- Watching an hour or two of Netflix each night;
- Going to every milestone and event in my friends and families’ lives, regardless of what I have going on in mine;
- Believing that being a good parent means not missing a single event for your kids and dedicating your life to driving them around, vs. committing to creating a life that balances supporting your children and having a life outside of them.
WHO IS ADVERTISING?
Digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day.
We Canadians are probably not that far off. And that is not counting the brands we are interacting with and the boatloads of spam emails we are getting.
Whether we choose it or not,
Whether we like it or not,
We are being programmed.
And those programs are responsible for how we spend our time and what we keep busy with.
I had a friend once tell me: “we are all being advertised to all the time. I just advertise the messages I want to receive to myself.”
So, what messages are you receiving every day? And are you advertising to yourself the messages you want to operate from?
If you do not have a vision board or book, now is the time to create one.
I bet you though that’s one of the tips you’ve already read many times over.
So I’ll assume you’ve created your vision already.
Even if you have a vision, it is not enough, unless you advertise it to yourself at least once or twice a day!
Because let’s face it, you are working against those 4-10k ads!
So, take 15 minutes every morning to meditate on your overall vision and your day. That is you advertising to yourself.
Put messages and pictures all around your place that remind you of what you are working towards. That is you advertising to yourself.
When you find yourself getting sucked into social media, or experiencing a roadblock, take 10 minutes to meditate on your why and infuse feeling into it. That is you advertising to yourself.
And when you come to make a decision, say yay or nay about something, take a moment to think about how this decision affects your vision. That is you converting your “vision ad” to reality.
Until next time,
Mike & Lulwa
Other content that might interest you:
- Understanding Stress and Reactivity – Part 1 of 2
- The Counter-Instinctive Way To Manifest Wealth & Wellbeing – Part 1
- The Counter-Instinctive Way To Manifest Wealth & Wellbeing – Part 2
- The Counter Instinctive Principle to Achieving Audacious Goals & Building Habits that Stick
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Blog collaboration: Mike Popovici & Lulwa Saffarini, Blog written by: Lulwa Saffarini
- Main photo licensed form Adobe Stock