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03/01/2020 Focus Summary - Four Minute Books

Focus Summary
 May 10, 2016 (https://fourminutebooks.com/focus-summary/)  Niklas Goeke
(https://fourminutebooks.com/author/linuscaldwell300/)  Self Improvement
(https://fourminutebooks.com/category/self-improvement/)

1-Sentence-Summary: Focus (https://amzn.to/2HOWxm6) shows you that attention


is the thing that makes life worth living and helps you develop more of it to become
focused in every area of life: work, relationships and your own attitude towards life
and the planet.

Read in: 4 minutes

Favorite quote from the author:

We’re almost a decade into the rise of the smartphone empire and among many
great bene ts, we su er one phenomenal loss as a result – our attention goes
out the window.

If your life feels like a series of quick hits and dopamine xes, it’s time to put the
smartphone on airplane mode for a while. Relying on these devices more than
on our minds has left us with an attention span that’s less than that of a gold sh
(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/humans-have-shorter-
attention-span-than-gold sh-thanks-to-smart/). Now that’s something to worry
about.

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03/01/2020 Focus Summary - Four Minute Books

Daniel Goleman aims to give you some of it back with Focus


(https://amzn.to/2HOWxm6), and calls it the hidden driver of excellence. It is a
book about mindfulness, willpower, leadership, empathy and success.

Here are 3 lessons to help you zone in on what’s important:

1. Once your brain feels fried, just let your thoughts wander.
2. You can’t do anything better for your willpower than work on something
you love.
3. Think of distant problems as immediate to better plan for the future.

Do you feel focused? If not, we’re about to x it!

If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and
read it whenever you want.

Download PDF  (https://pages.convertkit.com/ac31be0dab/057a442dc7)

Lesson 1: When you just keep staring at the screen, let your mind
wander.
The rst thing you should know about is open awareness. All kinds of attention
are valuable – not just the one that’s laser-sharp and focused. When you nd
your mind wandering a lot, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wandering in the
wrong direction.

Sometimes taking a break is exactly what we need, because it makes our mind
wander towards the thing we’ve been dying to gure out. For most of us
downtime seems to be a luxury we can’t a ord, but in reality, we can’t a ord not
to relax, because when you keep staring at the screen and can’t seem to make
any sense of what’s in front of you, you’ll only get frustrated and perform even
worse.

Especially if your work requires intense focus, which is true for engineers,
software developers, writers and mathematicians, for example, it’s important to
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let your mind roam freely and practice “mindlessness” sometimes
if you wish. Accept Reject Read More (https://fourminutebooks.com/privacy-policy/)
(http://fourminutebooks.com/the-upside-of-your-dark-side-summary/). For
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03/01/2020 Focus Summary - Four Minute Books

example, when you take a walk outside and leave your work at your desk, your
subconscious starts to come up with creative ideas based on you being openly
aware of your surroundings.

Studies have found that we can generate up to 40% more original ideas when
letting our minds rest.

Lesson 2: The best way to improve your willpower is to do


something you love.
But sometimes you really do need to work on something for several hours in a
focused manner, ideally in the state of ow (http://fourminutebooks.com/ ow-
summary/). What you need to make that happen is willpower
(http://fourminutebooks.com/willpower-summary/). You might know that
nutrition, sleep and exercise are important determinants of how much
willpower you can muster, but Daniel Goleman discovered one I bet you haven’t
heard about: doing work you love.

Studies have recently found that the psychological component of willpower is a


lot bigger than we thought (http://www.willpowered.co/learn/willpower-
research-debunked), meaning most of it actually comes from your mind, not
your body. The reason your willpower gets stronger if you do something you
love then, is that if your work re ects your goals, it becomes e ortless.

Late nights, confronting big obstacles and the patience you need until you see it
through come a lot easier when you’re 100% convinced that what you’re doing is
the exact right thing for you to do.

As an example Goleman mentions George Lucas, who, when creating the


original Star Wars, went rogue and split from his production company – an
incredibly di cult move at the time – because he was afraid his creative vision
would be compromised. In the end, because he believed in his idea, he did
everything that was necessary to make it a success.

Lesson 3: Imagine distant problems as immediate to make better


long-term decisions.
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03/01/2020 Focus Summary - Four Minute Books

I bet you have a dream. A crazy one. Something no one really cares about, but
you. And even before you knew that working on it might boost your willpower,
I’m sure you wanted to. But you didn’t.

It’s the rst 10 pages of your manuscript that are sitting inside your desk drawer
since 2012. The sca old that collects dust in your attic. The high school reunion
party you never threw. These things make life worth living, and are what we all
want to accomplish in that short time we’re here – yet we keep procrastinating
on them
(https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastin
ator?language=en), because they don’t have deadlines.

The regret of having had a shitty life is too far away to cause you to panic
now, because it’ll only come when you’re too old to change it.

But Goleman says if you imagine these problems as serious, immediate threats
(for example climate change, same thing) right now, then you can stop choosing
what makes you happy in the short-term, but doesn’t solve the problem.

Tra c jams are often solved by building new highways, but all that does is
create more room for tra c jams and therefore, actually promotes them. Focus
on the larger context and imagine the consequences of long-term issues as
happening tomorrow, not 50 years from now, and you’ll make much better
decisions in the here and now. (http://fourminutebooks.com/the-power-of-now-
summary/)

Focus Review
Focus (https://amzn.to/2HOWxm6) feels like an encompassing instruction manual
for attention. It really covers most of the relevant bases where most other books
only address speci c areas and issues, like willpower
(http://fourminutebooks.com/the-willpower-instinct-summary/) or leadership
(http://fourminutebooks.com/leaders-eat-last-summary/). The summary on
Blinkist is very long and comprehensive, I’d de nitely go for it before checking
out the full book, which of course has plenty more examples and relevant case
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studies.
if you wish. Accept Reject Read More (https://fourminutebooks.com/privacy-policy/)

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03/01/2020 Focus Summary - Four Minute Books

READ FULL SUMMARY ON BLINKIST  (HTTP://FOURMINUTEBOOKS.COM/GO/BLINKIST/)

GET THE BOOK ON AMAZON  (HTTP://AMZN.TO/1XBWDUW)

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR  (HTTP://WWW.DANIELGOLEMAN.INFO/BIOGRAPHY/)

What else can you learn from the blinks?


Why selective attention is the key to high performance
The di erence between your bottom-up and top-down minds
What the advantages of having ADHD are
The two types of empathy and how to build them
Why leaders must be attention directors
What happens when leaders don’t care more about those they lead than
themselves
How leaders successfully navigate the larger context they live in
Why meditation can help you build meta-awareness
What optimists do better than the rest of the world

Who would I recommend the Focus summary to?


The 13 year old, who just got her rst smartphone, the 62 year old community
leader with a lot of pressure to perform well, and anyone who thinks they can
always start working on that novel tomorrow.

 10% Happier Summary (https://fourminutebooks.com/10-happier-summary/)

Delivering Happiness Summary  (https://fourminutebooks.com/delivering-happiness-summary/)

Search… 

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03/01/2020 Focus Summary - Four Minute Books

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