‘Smile, breathe and go slowly.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh
This won’t be a long book, a detailed treatise into modern life with an exhaustive system of remedies.
It’s meant to be short, simple, concise. We’ll talk about some of the problems we face as we try to live and create in a world of overwhelming distractions. And we’ll look at some simple ways to solve those problems.
And yet, at the heart of this simple book lies the key to many of the struggles we face these days, from being productive and achieving our goals, to getting healthy and fit in the face of fast food and inactivity, to finding simplicity and peace amidst chaos and confusion.
That key is itself simple: focus.
Our ability to focus will allow us to create in ways that perhaps we haven’t in years. It’ll allow us to slow down and find peace of mind. It’ll allow us to simplify and focus on less — on the essential things, the things that matter most.
And in doing so, we’ll learn to focus on smaller things. This will transform our relationship with the world. It’s not that “less is more”, but “less is better”. Focusing on smaller things will make us more effective. It’ll allow us to do less, and in doing so, have more free time for what’s important to us. It’ll force us to choose, and in doing so, stop the excesses that have led to our economic problems, individually and as a society.
Focus. Smaller things. Less. Simplicity. These are the concepts that we’ll talk about, and that will lead to good things in all parts of our lives.
These concepts of simplicity and focus and less … they’ve been a revelation to me, in my life. In the past few years, I’ve completely changed my life by changing one thing at a time, by learning to find focus so that I can create, by simplifying and focusing on less.
I thought I’d share this because it’s an illustration of how effective these ideas are — and they’ve worked not only for me but for many of my readers.
By focusing on one thing at a time, small changes, little baby steps, I’ve been able to change a bunch of habits: I quit smoking, started running, began eating healthier, started waking earlier, and became more organized. And I’ve accomplished a lot more, taking on one project at a time and using the power of focus and the power of play to accomplish things: running a few marathons and triathlons, simplifying my life, eliminating my debt, starting up a successful blog and business, writing a few books, and much more.
This stuff works. And it’s tremendously liberating to discover that you can find focus, you can simplify, and you can change your life.
Next chapter: The Age of Distraction