Welcome to the test that only 6% of people can pass. Only the most focused people are capable.


You failed. You clicked on the link. You’ve interrupted your focus and set yourself up for another 30 minutes of aimless online wondering. If you want to make $100k/year, that will cost you about $24 (you’ll see what I mean below).

It’s not entirely your fault. Countless resources have been spent studying you, the internet user, to understand what it takes to get you to stop what you were doing and click on a link. Your limited defenses are being challenged by an army of hundreds of thousands of well-educated marketing experts and computer scientists, all of whom are highly-motivated to translate your clicks into revenue. You’re bringing a cup of water to a forest fire; it’s not even close to a fair fight.

But fight you must.

One of my favorite quotes is from Tony Robbins, who said that the defining factor of success is not resources it’s resourcefulness. He’s right. The corollary is that it’s your job to be focused enough to be resourceful.

I have found three ways beyond exercise (that one is well-known) that have helped me to focus.

My “Hourly Rate”

I have a financial goal for myself for what I want to make annually. Dividing that number by 2,080 (the approximate number of hours a full-time employee works), I know the amount of money I need to make in that hour in order to reach that goal. That’s my hourly rate. From there, I’m either doing something to earn that number, or I’m “spending” that money by doing something else. Would I pay that to watch an hour of cat videos? Probably not.


After being diagnosed with some weird skin thing that flares up when I’m particularly stressed, I realized that I had to get things under control. So, I started meditating. Here’s the bottom line: it changes your brain for the better (read this and this). If you have never tried it before, check out Calm.com or one of their mobile apps. Start it today and never stop.

Learning a Foreign Language

I’ve started to re-learn Spanish, which is part unlearning some of the Spanglish that was part of my El Paso upbringing, and part simply learning the basics that I either never understood or completely forgot since middle school. In addition to a few great free learning resources (Duolingo and the Notes in Spanish podcast), I’m reading news at BBC Mundo and CNN en Español as well as watching football games in Spanish (¡Vamos a acereros de Pittsburgh!). It forces me to think about what I’m reading or hearing/seeing, rather than just passively consume. The unexpected consequence is that it has made me more focused in everything I do.

One last thing…

We’re in the early stages of what is about to be a brutal electoral season (at least in the U.S.), and it’s starting already. The only thing worse than allowing your prime attention resources to be hijacked by random quizzes and cute animals is actively sabotaging those limited resources by getting dragged into a political fight online. I call it Attention Sabotage Syndrome (ASS). Don’t be one. Quit Facebook or Twitter if you have to, but it’s just not worth it.