A model to think deeper

[This post is part of a series on “Mental models and beliefs: an exercise to identify yours.” If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]
Have you gotten to consider and tackle the important things in your life? Do some important issues still elude you? Do you still spend time in the unimportant parts of life? Or even when on the important parts, do the urgent fires take more of your time than you want?

Importance Important, not urgent Important, urgent
Unimportant, not urgent Unimportant, urgent

Today’s belief helps you get to those topics.

A model to think more deeply: You think on the time scale of what distracts you.

When you’re thinking about an idea that takes five minutes to understand it but something distracts you every two minutes, you’ll never fully get that idea. The distractions could be email, kids, colleagues, or anything. Most television shows keep you from thinking about anything at all.
The most important distraction is how much your mind wanders. If you can’t keep your mind still for more than a few minutes, the most complex ideas you’ll be able to understand will be few-minute ideas.
Distractions aren’t always a problem. When you’re riding a roller coaster or playing sports you’re living in the moment and probably don’t want to think about complex ideas. No problem.
But if you never take any time to free yourself from distractions and slow your mind down, you’ll never tackle or even understand some important issues. Your life will lack richness and complexity.
Can you sit still without any distraction for ten minutes? Five?


This belief leads you to realize how distractions and an unfocused mind limits you from understanding important things. It leads you to

Identify and limit your distractions. Then learn to slow your mind down.

Meditation, yoga, rock climbing, hiking, walking, and things like that give you the chance to think beyond few-minute ideas.

When I use this belief

I use this belief when I realize I haven’t thought about rich, complex ideas in a while. If my schedule feels busy and I feel like I’m doing a lot of work but not getting a lot done, it usually means I’ve gotten distracted from important things by unimportant things.

What this belief replaces

This belief replaces distraction with focus, unimportant things with important things, reactivity with leadership, and busy-ness with relaxation and flow.

Where this belief leads

This belief leads to a life with more meaning, value, importance, and purpose (MVIP).

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