“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” Mark Twain
Learning To Focus
I think it’s safe to say that many of us are finding it extremely difficult to live a sane healthy life in this day in age.
Much of our stress comes from having to deal with constant information overload; we simply have too many things vying for our precious attention.
Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing Mr. Zen Habits himself, Leo Babauta. Over the last few years Leo has made it his mission to simplify every area of his life. In the process he has learned many practical approaches, which almost anyone can implement to immediately improve the quality of their lives.
Leos new book “Focus”, goes really in depth, with how we can all learn to effectively focus on our essential external demands. Slowly we can gain enough clarity and time to be able to really focus on the most important thing, which is focusing on our inner space.
Readjusting our focus from outer to inner will help us all discover what is truly important. We learn to slow down and enjoy each moment for its own sake. Life becomes simple amidst the madness of our highly connected world.
If you are currently feeling overwhelmed, allow Leo to show that it’s not that “less is more”, but “less is better”.
Now onto our interview on finding your focus:
1. Could you please tell us about your unique method of how you wrote your latest book, did this method allow you to improve your focus?
Leo: I wrote the book publicly, posting drafts of chapters online as I finished them, and asking for people to read and comment on them. It was a great method, because not only did I get feedback during the writing process (as opposed to after the book was published), but I had a built-in accountability system. That accountability helped motivate me to focus.
2. How have your wife and kids been influenced by your approach to life? Have they embraced it in their own lives? Have there been any negative reactions?
Leo: I try not to force anything on my family, but rather set an example and start a dialogue about what I’m doing and why it’s important to me. My kids aren’t minimalists at all, but I like to think they’re influenced by me and will at least be more informed about these things than the average person when they leave my home. My wife is actually very minimalist, and has reduced her stuff down to an amazingly low level compared to before. I think my family also likes that I’ve made time for them by simplifying my work and overall life.
3. Could you give us a glimpse into what a “normal” day for you looks like now and what it was 5 years ago?
Leo: I wake up, have coffee, sit quietly, read and write. I try to do the most important stuff — the things I’m passionate about — early in the day, and the little things later. Then in the afternoon, I stop, and spend some time with the family, exercise, have fun. Five years ago, I worked long hours, including on weekends, and barely had time for my family. All my time was devoted to work, even after work, so I never had time for exercise, for the things I loved most, for anyone but my coworkers.
4. What advice would you have for me and other aspiring pro bloggers, what should we focus on to make our dreams a reality and not become a slave to the online world?
Leo: Just enjoy what you’re doing, and don’t focus so much on the numbers and goals. If you focus on the goals, you’ll miss the wonderful time you could be having right now. Every interaction with your readers is an opportunity to engage, to share, to help, to improve lives. Focus on that, and the numbers will come.
5. Where do you see blogging going in the next few years? As people learn to be very selective in the information they take in, what can we do to not get lost in all the noise?
Leo: I don’t see it changing a huge amount. People will always be looking for interesting and useful information, and while the format might change a bit, really we’ll all be doing pretty much what we’re doing now. There will just be more readers and more bloggers. That can be overwhelming, but I think slowly people learn what they like to read, who they trust, who consistently delivers good stuff, and those good bloggers/writers will rise to the top. It just takes a little while to sort through it all, but that’s always been true — there have always been way more books, magazines, newspapers than you could ever read — you just found the ones that you liked and read those.
6. Where do you see the world 10 years from now? Do you think people will be implementing the ideas from your book?
Leo: I try not to predict the future — I’m shocked that I’m where I am now, and could never have predicted that. I also try not to have expectations or hopes for what people might be doing, because even if the future turns out to be an amazing place, I’d be disappointed if my hopes didn’t come true. So I just try to focus on doing things I love now, to lead a simple but happy life now. Let’s see what happens!
7. What is the most important thing you would like to share about your new book?
Leo: That it is possible to embrace the brilliance of technology and still find the focus you need to create, to do what’s important, to find quiet for contemplation. You don’t need to reject technology, nor do you need to let it overrun your life. We are in control of how we live — it just takes a more conscious approach.
Thanks for the great interview Leo, in the age of distraction learning to focus is the most valuable asset a person can possess. Thank you for the work that you do.
Leo: Thank you, Ivan … I appreciate the chance to talk with you and your readers.
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