The Most Important Asset in Your Life

by Ron Potter

“The Most Important Asset in Your Life” is an article by Zat Rana. I find it a well thought out and researched article.

One of the first quotes that may strike you (at least it did me) is that “Money is a means, not an end.” All too often, people think that if they just make enough money (an end), they’ll be happy. There is way too much research and general observation to get caught in that trap anymore (although many people still do).

Research shows that money is not a motivator that keeps people in jobs. People don’t leave jobs because of money! Nor do they stay in jobs for the money.

Interviews with entrepreneurs that have become very rich indicate that it was the work, trying something new, working on something they loved that kept them going. None of them spoke of the desire to get rich, that was a by-product of doing something they loved. Of course, they also didn’t talk about being dirt poor just so they could follow their dream. The point is, money didn’t enter the interview either good or bad.

But the real zinger comes when Zat says, “The most important asset in your life isn’t time, but attention. The quality of the experiences in your life doesn’t depend on how many hours there are in the day, but how the hours have been used”.

Attention

That is the key! We still have a limited amount of time in our lives and everyone has the same 24 hours per day. It’s not how much we do or don’t have, it’s how we use it. Where do we put our attention?

Today’s world is against us

I’ve written previous blogs on the need for deep thought. Today’s world is designed to keep us from the process of deep thought. The Googles, Twitters, Facebooks, etc. that fill today’s world are designed to capture our attention and keep it as long as possible. This diverts our thinking and pulls us away from deep thought on our desired topic. They are very good at what they do and are getting better (or worse) every day.

Zat mentions three things that help us focus and keep our attention on what is important:

Mindfulness

This is what helps us from getting distracted by what the world attacks us with and helps get us into and keeps us in deep thought. Zat says “By forcing yourself to focus your mind on one thing, you train your brain to develop a sense of control over your attention.” The world (high tech) wants to distract us and keep our attention on its ecosystem.

Ruthless Single-Tasking

Studies that I came across years ago said that only fighter pilots can multi-task and only because they are highly trained to multi-task because their life depends upon that ability. Zat says that single-tasking with deep focus (thought) for extended periods helps fight the adverse side-effects that are actually harmful to the brain.

Routine Detachment

Zat says that “Every time you pull out your phone to scan your social media accounts, and every time a 10-minute internet break turns into an hour-long binge, your brain is building a habit loop that reinforces itself to encourage such behavior.”

I’m not the best at some of this but there are a few things that have worked for me:

• I stopped watching TV news over a decade ago. It’s focused on the immediate and controversial. I’m interested in the long-term and unity. All TV, be it weather, financial, or whatever category, is entertainment. Once again, it’s designed to capture your attention and keep you away from deep thought.
• I get away. I’m writing this blog today in a cabin in the northern woods. There is almost nothing here to distract me. It helps me get into deep thought.

Find what gives you routine detachment. Everyone has a different approach but it’s important that you find what your’s is and do whatever you can to make your detachment (from the distractions of the world) into a routine. Routine means you do it on a regular basis. Don’t just assume that you’ll somehow work it into your life. Make it a routine and discipline yourself to follow that routine.

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