Where To Focus

2015-01-23 12.03.51-1My piece on What Can Go Right prompted Mark to comment that “Worry isn’t Work.” Lots in those few words — the link is an HBR article on the subject.

Mark’s comment reminded me of two aspects of a meaningful life.

#1 – sharing experiences that require an effort to overcome ourselves

#2 – enduring positive change happens via nudges at the edge of our control


In 1993, I nudged myself out the door for a walk. My walk was the first of many micro-choices that brought me to my current life.

As a result of decades of better choices, I was able to manage through the adverse events that hit my family => addiction, divorce, fraud, obesity, excessive spending, insolvency, infidelity, death.

Your family’s list may be similar, or different, to mine. Each family has its own set of risks that repeat through time.

Note, that we didn’t avoid the risks, we managed through them.

As Mark was pointing out, we waste valuable energy on remote risks => terrorism, air travel safety, ebola, child abductions, common core. This energy is better spend on useful “work.”

Where to focus?

Focus on small nudges away from the real risks facing your family. My nudges:

  • Choose: AM/PM exercise, shared experiences with people that love me
  • Moderate: booze, sugar, calories, spending
  • Avoid: leverage, drugs, binges, investment concentration

These ten nudges (all of which I control) will give the family the resilience to manage through the setbacks that will continue to arrive:

  • Addiction/Alcoholism
  • Excessive Spending
  • Leverage & Financial Recourse
  • Fraud
  • Abuse
  • Health
  • Mental Illness

It is a surprising challenge to maintain a focus on the little things!

It is much easier to give into the habit of fear and worry.



Each year I like to try one, or two, new things.

I had a mindfulness streak going in 2013 and let that slide. Matthieu Ricard’s Jan 2015 TED talk on altruism discussed the benefits of mindfulness practices for preschoolers.

The results (for the preschoolers) kicked in after four weeks of 3×20 minutes per week.

February has 28 days so it’s a good opportunity to give it a shot.

With all the time I saved from better email management, I have the ability to try new nudges.

Today, am I spending time on the right things?

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