Living In a Financial Commercial

Most people live in the commercials, not the main event.

Data has proven that deep, uninterrupted thinking leads to great accomplishments. Unfortunately, most of us spend huge amounts of time on things that get us nowhere. Checking how many people “liked” your witty comment on Twitter is not the path to the Nobel Prize.

“It’s as if our species has evolved into one that flourishes in depth and wallows in shallowness, becoming what we might call Home Sapiens Deepensis.”

This quote by Cal Newport, author of the terrific book, Deep Work, sums up the state of our ever-dwindling attention spans.

Deep meaningful work is good for us. It’s like a protein shake for the brain. According to psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (try spelling that), “The idle mind is the devil’s workshop…when you lose focus, your mind tends to fix on what could be wrong with your life instead of what’s right.”

Your environment transforms into what you decide to pay attention to. As Science Writer, Winifred Gallagher states, “Who you are, what you think, feel, and do. What you love – is the sum of what you focus on.”

Often these types of thoughts clash with the reality of the modern workplace. Being visibly busy is often used as the standard of your productivity. The “Cult of the Internet” assumes anything computer-related will increase your efficiency.

In some instances, this could not be farther from the truth. Sitting at your desk staring off into space in deep thought might lay the seeds to disrupting an entire industry. Playing Candy Crush on your phone will not.

Turning your attention to superficial things will make it much harder to concentrate on stuff that really matters. People fight these desires all day long and often lose. The internet and television are the biggest impediments to deep thinking. Your attention willpower is finite and must be guarded as if your life depends upon it.

The same focus and deep thinking must be directed to your investments. Most investors wallow like pigs in the trough of financial shallowness. Instead of concentrating on hard data and things they can control, they jump into the financial mud. The mud pit will not include watching your taxes, investment fees, and investing based on evidence.

Investing success is not born from financial shallowness.

The following will sap your limited willpower and transform your world into investment irrelevancy. (No offense, Mike.)

  • Incessantly checking stock quotes;
  • Fantasizing about winning the lottery;
  • Investing based on monthly economic reports;
  • Constantly preparing for the next market crash;
  • Day trading;
  • Diligently clipping coupons for Pringles instead of doing a deep dive into your investment expenses;
  • Focusing like a laser on @realDonaldTrump;
  • Attending trading workshops;
  • Using “get rich quick” in any sentence regarding your portfolio;
  • Subscribing to market-beating newsletters; and
  • Listening to people who know less than you.

These items will end up destroying any chance for financial independence.  These misguided acts will affect your life in a negative way. Remember, we become what we focus upon.

Becoming a day-trading, lottery-wishing, quote-watching, and get-rich-quick-thinking person will lead to a life of financial misery.

Focus and deep thought will give you a better chance of getting to the places you want to go.

In the words of Winifred Gallagher, “I’ll live the focused life, because it’s the best kind there is.”

Focus deeply on your finances.

You will start to like what you see.


Source: Deep Work by Cal Newport