focus on the the important

[“90%”, which I sent out recently in the newsletter. You can buy the print here etc.]

[Today’s guest post is from minimalist maven,  Everett Bogue.]

How to Eliminate Distractions to Focus on the Important

In the modern age it’s so difficult to focus on the important.

It’s not entirely your fault. For the last few generations the televisions told us to want everything, then Internet gave us infinite options. It’s no wonder no one can concentrate on their art, we’ve never had the ability to do everything for 30 seconds a day.

Why focus when you can spend all day hitting the refresh button on your email?

It’s important to take time to remember how to focus.

The most successful people realize that in order to create anything meaningful, they need to turn it all off. In order to do anything that matters, you need cultivate a healthy atmosphere of complete silence in order make a difference in your own life and change the world.

Leo Babauta is focused on the essentials. He’s limited his life to the minimum in order to focus on the important. Now he runs the of top 25 blog Zen Habits and published his print book The Power of Less.

Tammy Strobel is focused on using simplicity to save the world. She encourages her readers to give up their gas-guzzlers for pedal power, to exchange your stuff for the elegance of living with less.

Colin Wright is focused on living anywhere. He lives with less 51 things and moves to a new continent every 4 months. He runs a zero-overhead sustainable design and marketing studio from anywhere in the world.

Ashley Ambirge is focused on challenging the status-quo. She’s just getting started as the world’s leading rebel against mediocrity, even if that means living in a basement (for now) in exchange for the opportunity to travel to every corner of the earth.

Focusing on the important doesn’t have to be complicated.

For the last six months I’ve been investigating the implications of living with less — the minimalist existence. This journey started with quitting my day job and hopping on a plane to Portland, OR with everything I owned in a bag. This investigation continues daily as I explore the true implications of turning it all off to focus on the important in order to make work that matters.

The answer is pretty simple, everyone buys and does too much stuff. They’re over-extended to the point that no one knows what they’re doing anymore. Anyone who’s not making things (or not making good things) isn’t “not creative enough”, instead they’ve been hypnotized into thinking that junk and wasting time matters more than discovering their true purpose.

The secret to focusing on the important is simple:

  • Turn off the TV.
  • Donate your junk.
  • Turn off your smart phone.
  • Quit your day job.
  • Stop buying stuff that doesn’t matter.
  • Cultivate silence.
  • Work on your art.
  • Have your own ideas.
  • Push for change.
  • Do something that matters.

All of that nonsense they told you to buy isn’t going to make you happy.

The only thing that is important making art that matters.

The only way to make art that matters is to focus on the important.

[Everett Bogue is the author of The Art of Being Minimalist and blogger at Far Beyond The Stars.]

[The “Remember Who You Are” archive is here.]

[Download the high-res “Remember Who You Are” poster here.]

Speak Your Mind


Comment through Twitter

Are you ready to work with us?

Get More Info


Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

The New Republic
Lydia Depillis

Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

Len Schlesinger
Former President, Babson College

"There are only two daily newsletters that I look forward to opening and reading every time they show up to my inbox: Seth Godin's and gapingvoid."

Tony Hsieh
CEO, Zappos

In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
  • Seth Godin
  • The New Republic
  • Len Schlesinger
  • Tony Hsieh
  • Brian Clark