Chapter 5 – Stop Distracting Yourself



Some distractions are beyond one’s control, such as noise from the neighbors or one’s child needing attention. Ironically, these are not the distractions that do us in. The distractions that do us in are the ones that we control, namely, the ones we use to counter emotional pain or frustration. Although we control these distractions, in another sense they often control us.

Eliminating, or at least reducing, the second kind of distraction is crucial to discovering your inner greatness. You will have ups and downs on your journey toward doing the things that you would love to do. You will have more ups than downs, but when you have the inevitable downs, it will be easy to lapse into the lazy tendencies you thought you had overcome. This is why it is important to have a plan in place to eliminate distractions. These distractions range from the dangerous, such as inappropriate sex or drugs, to the innocent, such as watching television, sleeping, or talking to friends. But they all have the potential to undermine your success. (Conquering serious problems such as addictions to sex or drugs is beyond the present scope, but generally it is essential to swallow your pride and seek professional help. Even an addict can overcome, but it is difficult and requires commitment.)

There is nothing wrong with innocent distractions in their place. But you must develop the habit of pursuing your goals and doing what you love first.

When striving for your goals, there will be times when you question and doubt yourself. You must keep reminders of your goals present and implement measures to eliminate distractions. These measures should form a safety net to keep you focused on your greater goals and the smaller tasks needed to reach them. You must premeditate how to eliminate distractions and do what is necessary to succeed. This will help protect you in the inevitable difficult times when you are tempted to quit. It is the difference between acting versus reacting.


As you sit in silence, you will think about the ways you distract yourself. You will also think about when you have stumbled and how you responded. When things get tough, do you need a cigarette? a nap? junk food? Do you get angry? Do you quit? You’ll have to plan what to do when times get tough. Having planned, you’ll be prepared.

My personal distractions of choice are talking on the phone with friends and going on social media sites. To eliminate these distractions, I use technology. I’ve set my phone and my computer to stop me when I get sidetracked. First, I set up a very small emergency list on my phone for those who can call me at anytime. Anyone who is not on the list cannot call or text me within specific hours. During these hours, I do not get any alerts whatsoever and I focus on my work. I also put my phone out of reach so that I can’t be tempted to check if someone has tried to contact me.

The next thing I’ve done is to create computer profiles for “play” and “work.” I log on to my work profile when I am working. My work profile has parental controls to prevent me from logging on to any social media website. I block Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and all other social media platforms. I also block sports websites and any other website that only serves as a distraction. This forces me to remain focused on what I love without being sidetracked.

My phone settings, putting my phone out of reach, and my computer profiles are my distraction-eliminators.

It is very easy to get caught in small traps that take away your time. It is your job to put in place a system that will keep you focused despite who or what causes you to deviate.


As you follow the path of doing what you love and get closer to discovering your inner greatness, you will encounter obstacles. It is your job to recognize the obstacles that you create for yourself. You must analyze yourself and determine what is holding you back. After understanding your faulty behavior patterns, you must set up distraction-eliminators. This is crucial in order not to consistently fall victim to distractions as in the past. If you don’t take the time to identify what holds you back, you will inevitably fall backward. Many of us fall backward in this way, which is why we feel as if we are running on a treadmill. The distraction-eliminator strategy will solve the treadmill effect, since it forces us to remain productive. This productivity will allow us to reflect every day when we sit in silence, ensuring that our happiness is always present in our lives. Life is great when everything is going well, but it’s terrible when everything is bad. We must put a plan in place to make sure life is as good as we can make it for ourselves. The more you love life, the closer you will come to fully discovering your inner greatness.

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