You Become What You Focus On - Darius Foroux - Deepstash
Where to direct your attention

Stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote, "Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people's weakness."

This is very telling even in our age about our attention and the things we focus on. We let other people decide what to focus on and are defenceless when the media exploits our weaknesses. Instead, we should control where we direct our attention.

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If you don't choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will, and their motives may not be the same as yours.

For example, a notification from Netflix informing you that a new season of your favourite show is available may cause you to put your life on hold to watch it for a few days. Then you may watch some YouTube clips. If you don't intervene, others may control your attention and you may become a mindless drone.

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Turn off notifications for all the apps on your phone, so you don't have to put your phone in do not disturb mode. That way, you have more control over what you see on your phone.

The point is to use your phone mindfully. Consider if a specific notification will be useful to you.

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Social media can be a great tool for connecting with people, but it is not suitable to obtain information. It is not a replacement for books or articles.

Most people are unaware that they are being used on social media. They may think they're in control, but they're influenced all the time. That is why we should be mindful of how we use social media.

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Information is primarily about data and facts, while knowledge is mainly about applying information. For example, it is a fact that the average hedge fund underperformed the market over the last decade. Knowledge would be to use that information to form an investing strategy.

Most people obtain a lot of information because it's easy - a post on social media, a short video, an article, etc. However, it serves no real purpose because it lacks direction and application.

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Follow one or two people whose work adds value to you. You may not agree with everything but may like their style and perspective.

Consume content relevant to you and ignore everything else. Ask yourself:

  • Is this worth my attention?
  • Will it enrich my life?

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