Multitask Like an Octopus on Crack


Do you ALWAYS follow the bouncing ball?

Congratulations! Like me, you may already have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

And you may be on your way to becoming an Internet Millionaire!

I’ve coached thousands of entrepreneurs. Many of them have been diagnosed with ADD, but many more have not… they just think they have it. And they are using ADD as an excuse for why they haven’t succeeded in their chosen careers.

That’s a cop out. 

There’s a reason why 76 percent of the successful Internet business gurus I have coached all have ADD. (That’s 15 times the national average).

People with ADD are exceptionally suited to excel as online entrepreneurs because of — not in spite of — our so-called “affliction.” You should think of it as an advantage. Learn from people who are using ADD to grow their businesses.

Here’s why:
(Hat tip to Peter Quily, author of Top Ten Advantages of ADD in a High Tech Career”)

Hyperfocus Rules! Who says people with ADD can’t focus? Sometimes, that’s all we do. You know how to get in the zone and stay there. Sometimes for 14 hours at a time. Make it productive. While others are sleeping, you’ll be making money.

Use Your Rapid Fire and Ferocious Mind. Your brain is a cheetah. The next great idea is a rabbit. Yummy, yummy. Enough said.

Multitask Like an Octopus on Crack.  How many browsers can you keep open on your monitor and still stay productive? Push the limits and find the best research in less time.

Experience a Super High Energy Level. Is Adrenaline a vegetable? If not, I’m declaring caffeine and sugar as fruits. Vroom! Vroom! Let’s get healthy and wealthy!

Get Highly Creative. Do you look at Dalmatians and see dice with legs? Ever find a business solution at the bottom of your smoothie? You don’t just think outside the box you play in it and turn it into a multi-family dwelling when you’re done. Rock on, origami boy!

All Hail the Quick Learner. ADDers pay attention to things that interest us. If something bores you, move on. There’s plenty more to do and discover with your supercharged mind. Mix in some creativity and create a cocktail for success.

Welcome to Stimulation Nation. Your brain craves stimulation. The Web gives it a home. Turn your distraction into discovery and keep your brain juiced with something amazing.

Leave X-Ray Vision to Superman. He only used it to check out Lois Lane, anyway. You have the super ability to see what others don’t see. Find business opportunities while your competitors find despair.

You’re a Crisis Champion. You don’t just like to mix it up, you are sometimes guilty of being the instigator. You thrive on chaos and change, and you don’t shrink from intense situations. Create an environment in which you thrive that will drive your competitors crazy.

No Risk, No Reward. Take some chances, then move onto the next adventure. You have ADD. While others are still reading the directions, you’ve already made two trips around the game board. Learn as you go, but keep going! and going! and going!

Forget about making lemonade from lemons! You have ADD! Go make your millions while others are still wondering how you get everything done.

Remember, ADD is a disorder, not a cop out. It’s a physiological problem, not a psychological one. You can’t fake ADD, and you shouldn’t try.

There are good traits with ADD as you can see, but there are some bad ones, too. I know because I struggle with them everyday.

Don’t use ADD as an excuse for your fears and failures. Rather, you should be inspired by people who really struggle with ADD and have turned perceived weaknesses into business strengths.

I know because I’m one of them… but I won’t change who I am or make excuses because of it.

Simple message: Be comfortable with who you are… but be more productive.

Share your thoughts…

Do You Have A Favicon?

Did you notice?

We installed a favicon.

It’s just one more detail that scores you a few extra points in the credibility index (Can I trust you?)

Do you know what I am talking about?

It’s the little logo you see in the address bar. It’s also shows up  in bookmarks (yep, social ones too!), which means you need to get one right now!

Fortunately you can have one in a few minutes for free:

here’s a copy of ours:

 You Can Only See It On The Blog Page



You can create one too! It’s easy… Here’s how:

Go to: favicongenerator 






















Nokia Is Stalking My Wife

Take a good look at your telephone. I mean, really look at it.

Now think about how important that phone is to the growth of your online business. More on that later!

If you are like many people in the Attention Age, your cell phone is probably your primary telephone. It may also be the most important social connection tool you’ll ever own.

Whether you carry it on your belt or in a purse, your cell phone is always with you, always there. You’re never more than just a phone call away from anyone in the world from anywhere in your world.


This is a monumental development that has only occurred in the past few years. And it’s worthy of our attention because things are changing in a hurry.

It seems that the companies that manufacture our cell phones are not content with merely providing us with cool and colorful little gadgets.

Phone manufacturers want more, much more of your attention and your business.

That’s why I think that Nokia is stalking my wife and she doesn’t even know it.

My wife has developed quite an ability to send text messages on her phone. She is constantly tapping away on that phone like a woodpecker in search of a juicy meal.

What’s more remarkable is knowing that her friends are doing the same thing, at the same time, wherever they may be as they continue conversations that “just have to happen right now.

And phone companies such as Nokia are loving it.

AdWeek reports that Nokia recently purchased Enpocket as part of a larger strategy to challenge MySpace as a social networking giant.

Nokia sells about a million phones a day worldwide. The company has 850 million phone users. That’s a lot of people available for immediate social connection.

Nokia has developed something called MOSH short for mobilize and share which will allow consumers to swap photos, videos and audio files via cell phone.

Just imagine what my wife can do with this service. And she’s not alone!

Since its Aug. 9 launch, MOSH has registered more than 100,000 new users a day. The ability to connect people through voice, texting, photo images, and wireless Internet is astounding.

This brings me back to your business:

  • What impact can this type of social networking have on your online business?
  • If you could connect this easily with customers all over the world through their cell phones, what kind of success might you claim?
  • How would you become a major player in the marketplace?

But before you get carried away, really look at your phone and be honest with yourself:

You don’t have any idea how to work this thing, do you?

I mean, beyond the basics of “phone rings, I answer it. Many of our phones now have texting features, video capabilities, MP3 music enhancements, Internet connections it’s crazy.

Yet how often do you really use the phone for making connections that will help your business grow?

I ask this important question as it relates to growing and marketing your online business.

When I started my business, it all began with phone calls to the people I thought could help me the most. I called Jay Abraham. I called John Carlton. I called John Reese. I called many of the top Internet marketing, copyrighting and business minds I knew and picked their brains for ideas on success.

I set up interviews. I met them in person. I built my business on the relationships I developed, and I learned from their experiences.

My success began by overcoming my fears and picking up the phone.

cell_worldblog.jpgSo many online entrepreneurs have great ideas, but don’t have the gumption to put them into action. Perhaps you fall into this category. If so, it’s time to re-evaluate your goals.

If your ideas are so great, why can’t you pick up the phone and call someone about them? What’s holding you back? If you don’t take the risk, you won’t see the reward.

If you want to develop and market your online business, you’d better learn about social networking and get involved in some of the most influential circles that can make your business take off.

The Attention Age waits for no one. It certainly won’t wait for you to decide when you’re ready to jump into the water and start swimming for more successful shores. Whether this means making a simple phone call or commenting on the blogs of the most influential people in the blogosphere, you have to get started now. Don’t delay your success.

You have to take action yourself before your competitors do.

And if you are thinking about asking my wife to do it for you, you can forget that now! She’s already too busy texting her friends. 😉

The Nokia social networking news should be encouraging and empowering for your online business. And it serves as a helpful reminder for us all.

Take advantage of the technology tools around you, but let your own inner drive for achievement be the greatest spark for your business.

Ask yourself: Are you helping your business through social networking? What’s your favorite tool?

Success begins two days after the day before yesterday. Are you ready?

Click to comment… 

Respect or Attention? Take Your Pick

Remember Rodney Dangerfield? He was the great nightclub comedian who can’t get no respect.

Dangerfield built a persona and a lucrative career on self-putdowns about his looks, his weight, his wife, his sex-life, his career you name it:Rodney.jpg

My mother had morning sickness after I was born

I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio

With my dog I get no respect. He keeps barking at the front door. He doesn’t want to go out. He wants me to leave!

Dangerfield made it funny and profitable to get no respect. And what he didn’t receive in respect, he earned in our attention and our laughter.

He was lucky.

Many writers and artists display great talents and earn critical acclaim (respect) from their peers, but little in the way of global attention or income. They dedicate their lives to the arts while foregoing the attention necessary to make them rich and famous.

Not a bad path, if you choose to take it. But is that really what you want from your online business?

Does your business command respect? And if so, is the respect it receives paying off in attention? Or are you running a Rodney Dangerfield business that gets no respect at all?

Is your business, like so much artwork, created solely for you and your benefit, but not for capturing the attention, respect and sales of a wide audience?

Of course, I ask these questions within the framework of our discussions about the Attention Age.

We tend to give attention to those who have our respect: Teachers, world leaders, famous athletes and Hollywood celebrities just to name a few. They all have our attention and many hold it because we respect who they are or what they represent sometimes both.

For every Princess Diana, Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey there are countless other people who excel in their particular fields, but who receive far less attention. Some even have less respect because they haven’t achieved the heights of stardom as some of their counterparts.

Is this fair? No. But who ever said business or life was supposed to be fair?

When it comes to building a business, especially an Internet-based business, earning respect and earning attention are vastly different things.

Think about how much attention we pay to goofy YouTube videos.

More than 100 million YouTube videos are viewed each day by nearly 72 million individual visitors each month.

We may not respect what people are doing in these videos, but if they are outrageous and humorous enough, they earn our attention.

The attention paid to YouTube certainly caught the attention of Google.  The search engine giant acquired YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion in stock.

That’s a number that will certainly earn some respect and attention.

The success of YouTube was based purely on marketing and attention.

The viral nature of the videos and the social networking aspect of the community interaction became an explosive combination that was hard to ignore.

Sometimes marketing makes all the difference between obscurity and in-your-face success. How are you marketing your business for greater respect or attention?

Don’t Tase Me, Bro!

YouTube captured our attention early and often and still hasn’t let go.

Just this week Andrew Meyer, a University of Florida student, gained attention during a speaking event with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. After pressing Kerry on the topic of the war in Iraq and badgering the senator on other issues, Meyer was asked to quiet down. He refused and was forced to the ground by campus security and hit with a taser.

During the scuffle Meyer uttered an infamous phrase “Don’t tase me, bro!” which was seen and heard on videotape splashed on YouTube and all over the Internet.

Within 24 hours, several versions of “taser” were among the top viral videos on YouTube and other social media sites. The student’s phrase Don’t tase me, bro! appeared almost instantly on T-shirts and other online merchandise. Maybe Meyers didn’t earn our respect, but he sure got our attention. And savvy Internet marketers were able to pounce on the opportunity to cash in on the incident because they were ready.

YouTube has grown from a place to upload “frat boy” gag videos to becoming a co-host for U.S. presidential primary debates. Along the way, we’ve come to respect YouTube as a major media force in the Attention Age. It’s a Web 2.0 success story that has paid off “big time” for its creators and continues to pay off for its fans.

Respect for YouTube came after the attention. But that’s not always the case.

There is our infamous attention hog, Paris Hilton. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who respects her, yet she holds the attention of a celebrity-driven media and society. We’re still not sure why

So how does all of this apply to your online business? I’ll let you decide by considering this question.

In the absence of having both, would you rather have respect or attention?

I encourage you to give the question serious thought and share your comments with my blog readers. Respect and attention are not mutually exclusive, but if given the choice, which one would you prefer for yourself and your business?

As you think about that, I’ll leave you with another joke from Rodney Dangerfield, who died in 2004.

“My fan club broke up. The guy died.”

Who knows, with more respect and greater attention, that “fan club” may still be alive

So what would you do if 100,000 prospects turned their attention to your online business today?

Would they still respect you in the morning?

Better yet, could you convince them to become your customers?


Under the Influence of Attention influential are you? 

Tough question, isn’t it? I encourage you to give it serious thought.

First, let’s define the term to avoid confusion.

Influence is the ability to become a compelling force on others. It is an ingredient of persuasion.

Influence spreads quickly and easily among an audience.

Don’t confuse this with influenza… That’s something altogether different.

Influence can bring greater attention to the influencer as ideas and emotions are spread.

Other times, influence escapes our visible attention. Instead, it is felt –  a silent emotion. It is a feeling that pushes us or pulls us in one direction or another.

What is the greatest influence in your life? Perhaps that’s where you should place your most attention.

Our parents warned us in our childhood about bad influences. They are the kinds that lurk in the alleyways and in the deep recesses of our mind.

Now we are grown and accountable for our actions. We seek good influences, the kind that will propel our business and enrich our lives.

But who or what is providing influence on you right now? Is this influence for the good or is it steering you away from your goals?

Perhaps that’s not so easy to determine, but determine it you must.

Many people think of influence as something that comes with power or money. We see it on display in politics and celebrity culture. We often give attention to those we perceive to have great influence. This is not always wise, but it is quite common.

When we ourselves have influence on others it comes bundled with responsibility. You may feel this as a mother or father. You may know this as the owner of a business or leader of a community group.

As you create and develop your online business, think about the influence you have and what you intend to do with it.

If you have the ability to influence others, how will this realization shape your online business?

Who will you reach with your messages? How will you improve their lives?

As a business owner, each day you stand at the edge of a cliff. The cliff represents opportunity. From your vantage point, you overlook the marketplace. If you could just influence this market, you will find success.

But you are on the edge of that cliff for a reason. You know rewards do not come without risks. If you take a misstep, you will fall from the cliff. Such are the perils of entrepreneurship.

So, what will influence you to take the proper steps toward success? What is the source of influence that allows you to move forward with confidence?

Imagine me as an entrepreneurial traffic cop. I’m approaching your vehicle with this question: Is your business driving under the influence (DUI)? If so, where are you driving your business?

–  Is your goal to influence buying decisions among the marketplace?
–  Do you hope to influence others with your wisdom?
–  Are you intent on using your business influence to improve living conditions in your home and in your community?

In the Attention Age, everyone is an influencer. What makes this age special is that now all of those influencers are becoming networked.

Consider this: Just by writing a blog, I have influence. People see my name; they recognize it and give weight to my ideas and opinions, for better or worse.

By reading a blog and sharing a message with others, you have influence. By linking to this blog and encouraging others to do the same, you help spread the messages that influenced you. You are building a network of influence.

Your comments on my blog have influence, too. I read them, and so do many others. By providing us with comments, you help influence the decisions of online entrepreneurs just like you whom you may never meet.

Your words provide inspiration. Your insights deliver clarity and give others a sense of purpose.

I know they do for me.

So I’ll ask you a simple and direct question to spark some comments:

Who are the greatest influences in your life?

There may be one or there may be 100. Let me know by sharing your comments on my blog.

By becoming a source of information for others, you exhibit influence. That influence may develop into a profitable business for you. It could provide the basis of future friendships. Or, you just may be content in being a trusted conduit of attention for influential information.

Give influence your attention.

Understand its power and impact on your daily decisions.

Commit to positive influences that lead to greater rewards. Your business deserves your utmost attention.  Let the influence on your business be one that promotes growth and brings happiness.

Post your comment here… 

What Are You Trying to Accomplish Today?

coffee_1.jpgSome days, you wake up to challenges…

The alarm clock didn’t go off. The modem isn’t working. The milk has spoiled.

And yet, there are opportunities…

You awake to the feeling of sunshine streaming through a window. You read a newspaper instead of scanning news online. You drink your coffee black.

Each day brings new challenges and opportunities. But what if you could turn those challenges into opportunities for greater productivity?

It’s possible, because I do it every day.

Here’s the secret: Focus attention on the tasks that will lead to success.

Before you make your coffee… Before you butter your toast… Before you drop the kids off at school or complete any part of your morning ritual, ask yourself this question about your business day:

What am I trying to accomplish today? It’s a short question, but it packs a big punch.
Many of my coaching clients, most of whom are online entrepreneurs, are blinded by the prospect of making lots of money without spending much upfront.

The potential of having a successful online business is enormously attractive. Not only does it sound cool to say “entrepreneur,” but it’s even better when you can define the term by saying “look at me.”

Yet, the same low-cost barriers to entry can bring a low probability of profit if you can’t address the question: What am I really trying to accomplish?

You need to spend some quality time figuring out what your objective is and how you need to focus your attention to accomplish and exceed that objective.

– Do you want to become the best Internet business coach?
– Are you hoping to sell self-help books online?
– Have you discovered a way to feed the masses and end world hunger?

Whatever your goals, whatever your talents, you have to give this your full attention. Anything less will lead you in the wrong direction – closer to frustration and further from your goals.

So, ask yourself again: What am I trying to accomplish today? And continue to ask this question every day, several times a day, to maintain your focus on achievement.

I know from asking several of my coaching clients that many people struggle with this question.

It’s not because they lack confidence. It’s not because they are trying to be evasive. It’s simply because – no matter how long they have been thinking about building an online business – they just haven’t given the question sufficient, serious thought.

What are you trying to accomplish with your online business?

I am asking this question within the framework of our discussions about attention and, more specifically, our anticipated return on attention.

If you choose to give your attention to something that will become your livelihood, you should certainly know what you hope to accomplish with all of this attention, right?

Remember the examples in previous posts about Starbucks and Apple. Their corporate and critical success is about passion, customer service and paying attention to the right things.

globe.jpgYou have to find those same magic seeds and spread them among your customers.

Without a well-researched and well-executed plan for growth, you stand little chance of succeeding against a world of competitors as an online entrepreneur.

Yes, I said an entire world of online entrepreneurs.

Remember, the Internet is not located on a street corner; it’s located on the World Wide Web. Your competitors may be found anywhere on the globe. Are you ready to compete with them and win?

So, ask yourself again: What are you trying to accomplish today?

How will your focused attention translate into higher profits for your business?

If you’re struggling for an answer, it’s time to maximize your attention on the subject. Here are some tips:

Prioritize. Gain the ability to organize your tasks in a way that aligns with your goals.
Determine really clear short-term goals. Long-term goals are great, but the short-term goals provide a “scorecard” to make sure you are completing the most important things that will keep you moving forward.
Upgrade your ability to deal with information. Take a speed reading course. Discover new methods of research and study. Become informationally efficient.

I’ll have more tips on how you can accomplish these attention goals in Part 2 of The Attention Age Doctrine, which will be released later this month.

But in the meantime, I want to hear from you.

What are you trying to accomplish with your online business?

Besides trying to make lots of money…

No one knows better than you about your passion and goals. Share some of them here and build a community of fans who will cheer for you as you exceed your own business expectations.

You have my attention… Now, start accomplishing your goals.

Show me how it’s done.

Post your comment: 

Finding Treasure Among the Trash

Man, I love this blog.

I enjoy the give-and-take of this group as we hammer-out the challenges and issues in the Attention Age.

Your comments provide great material for Part 2 of The Attention Age Doctrine, which will be ready later this month. Thanks for your contributions and your patience. I promise, it’s going to be great!

As you may realize, one of the best attention-holding features of blogging is the opportunity to keep conversations alive. I do it here as often as I can.

While each blog post may survive on its own merit, it is also possible – and encouraged – to carry thoughts from one post to another as a viral thread.

After all, this is how some of the best ideas are spread.

arrow_graph.gifThat said, let’s return to the topic of Return on Attention (ROA).

Return on attention is the performance metric by which we measure the value of the attention we “pay” to other people and ideas.

You’ll remember from a previous post that I asked about the return you are receiving from the attention you freely give to others. Thanks for your comments on this topic and keep them coming. You’ll see in a moment why I asked for them in the first place.

Think of ROA as a financial transaction.

When you pay for a product or service, you expect something of value in return:

– Pay for milk. Bring milk home and drink it.

– Pay for housecleaning services. Come home to a clean house.

– Pay for business coaching. Get Rich Schefren. 🙂

The return should always be of great value, otherwise, there’s no point in making the purchase.

Yet, as I’ve noted earlier, we tend to give our attention away to many things, asking little or nothing in return. Seems strange, especially if you are trying to succeed as an online entrepreneur.

Since attention is such a scarce resource, we should recognize its value and only exchange it for something of equal worth.

It’s like bartering diamonds for gold pieces. The value of each must be measured accordingly.

Yet each day, we let our mind and our attention wander away from our own business goals. We squander our intellectual capital and waste our energies on lesser subjects and ideas.

By doing so, we take our eyes off the ball with regard to our own business goals. We divide and subdivide our own attention to our detriment, diminishing our power to achieve.

Re-read that last sentence out loud. See if it applies to your own online business situation.

Giving away attention devalues its impact. It dulls the force of our competitive nature.

It’s like giving up diamonds for rubber bands. You probably wouldn’t do it if you were of sound mind – unless you received a helluva lot of rubber bands – so why do we constantly give away our valuable attention?

ROA often comes in the form of knowledge. It’s what we receive as a benefit for having paid attention to a customer, a client, a motivational speaker, or anything else.

What we derive from that experience should have its own reward for us, either in the form of financial gain, wisdom increase or future benefit.

Our goal, as always, is to convert that knowledge into wisdom.

Entrepreneurs are the alchemists of the online world. We are innovative enough to make gold out of straw. But we can’t afford to give away our well-earned wealth – in the form of attention – without receiving greater value for our efforts.

Global business strategist and author John Hagel III has his own take on ROA. He says it is “driven by the proliferation of options available to us in all domains of our life, increasing the relative scarcity of an increasingly valuable resource – our attention.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I didn’t. That’s why I’m giving him full credit.

Hagel suggests that virtual communities, such as this blog, can be powerful conduits in delivering ROA by enhancing good fortune.

In other words, you’ll become “lucky” just by paying attention to my blog. I completely agree.

Don’t you get a rush of excitement when you “accidentally” discover a valuable, relevant resource of information that you didn’t even know existed?That’s what the web site is all about. It creates value from other sites that we “stumble upon” as we navigate our way around the Web.

As a former baseball executive said a long time ago, “luck is the residue of design.” You’ll be amazed at how lucky you’ll feel when you do things with real purpose – not just out of habit – like searching for knowledge to grow your business.

The challenge is to harness the power of these valuable resources and derive a healthy return on the attention we give during our quest.

How can you connect with others to grow? How can you take advantage of your skills for finding relevant “treasure among the trash” and use the materials as key building blocks for your success?

Your attention becomes an investment in that success. You have to mine the gems before you realize their value.

Let’s put it to the test on this blog.

treasure.jpgThink like a big shot banker… Where will your attention receive the greatest “bang for the buck?”

Share your attention wealth with my blog readers.

Tell me your top three goals for getting a great return on your attention.

It is possible to find treasure in the trash, if you know how to pay attention.

Let’s see if we can turn that attention into business gold.

Please leave your comment… 

Age of the Attention Hog

Local TV news programs often follow a very simple directive:
“If it bleeds, it leads.”

That’s why crime stories and negative news regularly top the daily newscasts. “Bad news” almost always steals our attention.

The “good news” about the church that raised $100,000 for a blind orphan comes much later in the newscast – if it makes the news at all.

attention_hog.jpgFrustrating, isn’t it? Why do the negatives often grab the spotlight from the positives? Why is our attention drawn to negative thoughts and events?

Blame it on the “attention hogs.”

Sept. 11, 2001. It got our attention. Evil terrorist attacks on the United States and the resulting, ongoing war on terrorism. It’s held our attention.

But while fear and bad news often grab the headlines,  our “good news” – perhaps your own marketing message – suffers as a consequence of dastardly “attention hogs.” By capturing and holding attention, these hogs leave little room for other more attention-worthy news.

Just who are these attention hogs?

The list is long and it grows longer by the day…

Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, the late Anna Nicole Smith and Princess Diana. They join the ranks of Monica Lewinsky, Barry Bonds, Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, global warming, Hurricane Katrina, Harry Potter, and the Apple iPhone on our impromptu list.

They are all persons or entities that have won our attention, for better or worse, in the Attention Age.

Not all will hold a treasured place in our memories. In fact, many may be fading as we speak, but they still receive attention. At least for a moment – usually more – and just long enough for us to emotionally brand our brains.

Our attention is a scarce resource, and so is the attention of the marketplace. How we allocate our own attention really matters.

But there are those “attention hogs” among us who are trying to steal more bandwidth. They want real estate in our brains, and with the help of technology and mass media, many have left their mark forever.

Attention hogs not only suck your attention, but they make it more difficult for your own marketing to be successful. In essence, we are all competing with Paris Hilton and the terrorists for attention.paris_hilton.gif

When people are paying attention to them, they’re not paying attention to you and your products.

Terrorism is clearly an instrument of attention-getting cowardice. Osama bin Laden is known worldwide as a terrorist mastermind. His name and face are synonymous with terrorism. Bin Laden’s acts of terror have made an emotional connection in our brain. He captures that much of our attention, as we hope to capture him.

Far from the only evil “hog” in this Attention Age, Bin Laden is joined by the Virginia Tech killer – no name is necessary – as having successfully seared his image and actions in our brain. The tragic events at Virginia Tech in 2007 and the 33 people killed will long be remembered, even if the name of the killer is soon forgotten.

Why do we know or care about Paris Hilton? How do we know about Lindsay Lohan’s progress in rehab? What about Anna Nicole Smith or the intimate details and tragic turns in Princess Diana’s life and death?

All are celebrity-driven drains on our attention, with two receiving more attention in death than the considerable attention they had already received in life.

Why? Because we allow them to take hold of our attention and keep a piece of it for themselves.

Barry Bonds sets a home run record, but we pay more attention to rumors of “performance-enhancement drugs.” Monica Lewinsky becomes infamous for an adulterous affair with President Bill Clinton. Her last name becomes a slang term for oral sex. Now, that’s attention.

Hurricane Katrina is a metaphor for natural disaster, hope and recovery. Global warming straddles the line between hoax and reality. Oprah is Oprah. Harry Potter is a book-selling, movie-making wizard. And the iPhone becomes the “next big thing.”

All claim attention, all are attention hogs. They hold themselves up as “winners” in the Attention Age.

The losers? Anyone who pays too much attention to any one or all of these winners. They are not all worthy of that much attention, but they get it just the same.

Remember: What we give them in attention, we can never reclaim as our own.

So let me ask you this: What are you receiving from all of the attention you freely give?


In other words… What is your “return on attention” – your personal ROA – from the attention you so willingly pay to the attention hogs?

Create a list of the “good” and “bad” attention hogs in your life.

Tell us what you demand in return from each attention hog and how you will make them earn your attention in the future.

Let’s discover new ways to channel our attention, fight off the hogs, and help our businesses grow.

Post here…

Open Thread – Attention Age Doctrine

As I toil away on research into Part 2 of the Attention Age Doctrine, a creative idea came to mind.

How about having an “open thread” on my blog that invites comments from you – my readers – about what you’d like to see in Part 2.
What are some the concerns you have about focusing attention on your business?

What are some of the top challenges you face when dealing with interruptions to your work flow?

What challenges have you come up against in getting the attention of your market?
I’ve made a commitment to have fun this weekend as well, so that may have something to do with this request. But don’t let that discourage you. If you can find time in your fun activities to give this blog some attention, I’d greatly appreciate it – and so would your fellow readers.
So, consider this an open thread… What’s on your mind regarding attention?

What kind of solutions would you like to see included in Part 2 of The Attention Age Doctrine?
Let me know and have a great weekend.

I’m anxious to see your ideas.
To Higher Profits,
Rich Schefren


Click here to provide your comment 

We Interrupt This Message…


“Interruptions are in the eye of the interrupted.”

This was a key point in The Attention Age Doctrine, and one that really struck a nerve with many of my readers.

Information that you think is important to your business, may simply be an interruption to your business goals.

Trouble is, you won’t realize whether or not the information is important until you’ve given it your attention.

Since the release of The Attention Age Doctrine, I’ve received countless e-mails and blog comments about the distinction between an “interruption” and a “distraction” as it relates to business efficiency. While there are “dictionary differences” between the two, I’ll just give you my quick analysis.

An interruption is external. It’s a break in continuity, something unexpected that “pops up” and causes you to divert your attention. Examples: Someone calling your name, an e-mail alert on your computer, a ringing phone, a raindrop falling on your head, a bowling bowl dropped in your lap. Interruptions grab our attention by diverting our focus.

A distraction is internal. It’s an emotional disturbance that requires our own compliance. It’s your mind thinking about lunch options while you are in an important business meeting. It’s a gaze out the window to watch the birds fly by or the feeling that you left your iron on in the laundry room. There’s an underlying cause for distractions that divides our attention in a subtle way. Distractions may seem like harmless “white noise,” but they can be quite, well, distracting.

Workplace interruptions and distractions serve one disturbing purpose: They take us off course. Every time we “follow the bouncing ball,” our business goals get pushed aside.Productivity Interruption

By taking your focus off the “big task” of what your business needs (more on this in a sec…), your vision becomes clouded, your message muddled, your decisions diluted and delayed.

What’s even worse is that it becomes a habit. You end up conditioning your brain to respond in a similar fashion in the future. In essence, you are re-wiring your brain to work against you [I’ll share the research that supports this notion, and how you can re-condition your attention, in Part 2 of the Attention Age Doctrine, coming out next month.]

Look, there’s a real reason why many racehorses run with blinders on. It’s so they’ll stay focused on the task at hand – winning.

So why is it so difficult for entrepreneurs to do the same? Why don’t we work with blinders on, avoiding interruptions so we can focus on growing our business and achieving our goals?

Maybe it’s because you love being in the race more than you love achieving the results. You enjoy the “busyness” of your business, but are unwilling to get serious about doing what it takes to succeed. You’re allowing distractions and interruptions to pull you away from your business goals.

My coaching clients often ask: How can I avoid the interruptions that are distracting me from my work?

An easy answer is to work in solitary confinement, but that has its own downside. A better answer comes from asking a better question: Why am I allowing myself to be so easily distracted?

No one makes us answer e-mails. There is no law, under penalty of death, to respond immediately to instant messages or a ringing telephone.

We can avoid interruptions and distractions if we want to do so. So why do we allow this to happen?

It’s always easier to blame an outside source for our troubles – a computer, a colleague, a PDA – rather than take that terrifying look inside ourselves to see what is lurking among the cobwebs.

Are we are our own worst enemy when it comes to distraction? Are we the cause of our own interruptions that take us off the path to success and down a spiraling path toward procrastination and diminished productivity?

Think about it for a moment. Each time you sit down in front of the computer you should do so with an ultimate goal: task completion. But getting from Point A to Point B in your business is rarely a direct line of progression – at least, that’s what you’ve been telling yourself.

The demands on our attention are infinite, but our attention is finite. So we have to keep focused on the goal of winning.

Every time we turn our attention away from our purpose – task completion – and toward something else (i.e., reading e-mail, mindlessly surfing the Web, chasing butterflies, chatting on the phone), we imperil our business goals and do our customers a great disservice.

We can choose to blame technology, our neighbors, family and friends, but really the blame is our own. It is our own refusal – note, I did not say “inability” – to eliminate the interruptions and distractions that cause frustration and prevent us from achieving ultimate success.

By allowing interruptions to sidetrack us – by giving in to the pull of distraction – we simply delay our primary gratification: the knowledge and pride in a job well done and the financial reward that comes with it.

Instead of doing what your business needs you to do, you end up doing what you want to do.

Let’s put that in perspective. You may not want to change diapers, but your children need you to do it. You may not want to pay taxes, but it’s probably a good idea to complete them on time each year. In both cases, you just have to hold your nose and get it done.

Successful entrepreneurs (in the right business) love their businesses. They shouldn’t “have to” do the job; they should “want to” do what is best for business development and ultimate reward.

This creates another immediate concern:

Do you know what your business really needs of you?

If not, all of the time you waste through “distraction” may really be the fault of your own “indecision.” You must decide what your business needs from you (in a step-by-step list of tasks) and eliminate the interruptions and distractions so you can get it done.

Two days ago I attended a networking event in Texas that will most likely go down in history as one of the biggest gatherings of influential men and women in business and marketing.  It was hosted by my good friend Stephen Pierce. Some of the powerful people in attendance were T Harv Eker, Jay Abraham, John Reese, and Jeff Walker; Tim Ferris, Armand Morin, Russell Brunson, and John Carlton; Mike Filsaime, Tom Beal, Jerry Clark, and Shawn Casey; Eben Pegan, Mike Litman, and Dave Lakhani; Janet Switzer, Yanik Silver, and Lori Morgan Ferraro.

At the event I had a great conversation with Internet Marketing legend John Reese. Besides getting some great marketing advice from him regarding our upcoming seminar in February, we also compared our approaches to getting our work done. And we both had a similar approach.

We both think about the goal we are trying to accomplish and list all the steps we need to do in order to accomplish it. Then, we get to work. John said (and I agreed) that often people get sidetracked or procrastinate because they haven’t taken the time to layout all the steps they need to take to accomplish their goals.

The list of steps helps grab and focus their attention.

Early radio and television programs used to be interrupted by breathless announcers with a familiar refrain: “We interrupt this message to bring you a special announcement…” The message grabbed your attention and wouldn’t let go until you absorbed it, at which time you were “returned to your regularly scheduled programming.”

It’s time to get clear about what you need to do, focus your attention and “get with the program” of working on what matters.

So, why are you not achieving your business goals faster?

Do you have an interruption problem, a distraction problem, or an indecision problem? (Share your thoughts on this here)

Sometimes introspection can be a painful journey of discovery, but one we all must take.

So do it right now, right here… Then get back to work!

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