I write a lot about not being average – not living an average life, and as you might imagine, I get some negative feedback about my position on this…
“Rob – Why do you always make negative comments about average people? There’s nothing wrong with being average.”
When you’re on your death bed, will you be happy having lived an average life? Or will you look back with regret knowing you could have lived a good life?
The main reason I am against being average is because average people don’t think for themselves. They go through their entire lives blindly following others and end up living lives they don’t truly enjoy.
My search for how to live a good life started when I began reading books on Stoicism. Stoicism teaches us something extremely important…
Stop worrying about things you can’t control and
invest your time and energy improving the
things that you can control.
This is actually good news because the list of things we can’t control is incredibly long. It includes the weather, the economy, the stock market, the real estate market, interest rates, traffic, all material items, deadly viruses, our health, and ALL other people.
We may be able to partially influence some of these things; however, we have no real control over any of them. I can try to influence my daughters, but I have zero control over what they do or don’t do. I can eat healthy and exercise, but I have no real control over my health.
On the flipside, the list of things you CAN control is rather short:
1. Your attention
2. Your energy levels
3. Your perspective
4. The food you eat – or don’t eat.
5. How you choose to use your time
6. Your thoughts
7. Your emotions
8. Your actions
9. Your financial situation
The crazy part is that all of these things are interconnected. Each individual thing in your can control impacts all other things in your control. This means…
If you don’t exert much control over any one of these things, it will negatively impact all things in your control.
You may notice that I listed “your attention” as the first thing we have control over. I did this because…
Your attention is incredibly valuable.
Businesses spend billions trying to get (and keep) your attention.
Why is this the case?
Because where your attention goes, you go. Whatever controls your attention ends up controlling you.
Attention —> Thoughts
Thoughts —> Actions
This means that if you don’t control where your attention goes, someone else will control it for you, and that someone may not have your best interests in mind. They will want to manipulate your attention to serve their purposes.
Really, think about this…
If big businesses will spend billions to get your attention, wouldn’t it make a little sense for you to put some thought into where you allow your attention to go?
If your attention is worth billions, wouldn’t it make sense for you to protect it? To shelter it? To care for it? To use it to your advantage?
Your attention may actually be your most important asset because it impacts everything else in your control.
Now, let’s consider all of this as it relates to average people. Average people do not exert much control over their attention… their most valuable asset. Their attention is usually controlled (manipulated) by their work, their email, their text messages, the news, social media, TV, celebrities, and other people in their lives.
Average people are NOT strategic with where they direct their attention. They allow their attention to wander from unimportant thing to unimportant thing. Their attention is controlled by everyone and everything.
This means they are controlled by everyone and everything. They are literally sheep grazing on their cell phones in the barn yard.
Now, picture a person who is doing very well financially, a billionaire, and consider if this person allows their attention to be controlled by others?
Does Warren Buffett control where his attention goes, or does he it allow it to wander freely? How about Bezos, Gates, and Zuckerberg?
Do you think they allow their attention to be hijacked and exploited?
Wealthy people are very strategic with their own attention. Wealthy people are also very strategic with YOUR attention.
Wealthy people control their own attention and they also work hard to control the attention of average people.
In fact, wealthy people invest billions of dollars in order to control the attention of average people.
One of Buffett’s businesses paid for the GEICO advertisement you watched yesterday. This means that Buffett indirectly paid for some of your attention, your most valuable asset.
Wealthy people are actually in “the attention business” because it’s the most valuable asset in the world. Money always follows attention.
This means YOUR money follows where YOUR attention goes. Control where your attention goes and you’ll ultimately control where your money goes.
There are two ways you can use all of this to your advantage:
1. You MUST be very strategic with where you direct your attention.
Stop allowing unimportant things to control your attention. Redirect the attention you’ve reclaimed into IMportant things.
Read strategically. Watch TV strategically. Listen to podcasts strategically. Use social media strategically.
Ask yourself does this book, video, podcast connect to what I’m trying to create in my life? If it doesn’t, you have to learn ignore it, eliminate it, or block it from your life.
2. Get into the “attention” business.
If money follows attention and you want more money, then you should think about getting into the “attention” business.
Truth be told, I made the most money during the years when I had attracted the most attention. I engineered this attention strategically through marketing, endorsements, testimonials, case studies, publicity and through my connection to other high-profile people.
Get attention for yourself (turn yourself into a brand). Get attention for your businesses. Or do both, which is what the wealthy do.
The good news is that it’s fairly easy to capture attention these days because average people are very easy to distract. They aren’t strategic with their attention, which makes it very easy for you to capture. 🙁