Treat Thompson



This is a republishing of The Steady Fella Newsletter. Every week readers use the timeless insights on passion, productivity, philosophy, and happiness from this newsletter to build towards the life they want.

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Welcome back to the Steady Fella Newsletter!

This week's issue is about knowing what matters in your life and not getting distracted from it.


"I never sleep, because sleep is the cousin of death" - Nas

I say if sleep is the cousin of death, then distractions are the family friends.

A distraction is something that takes your attention away from the things that matter in your life.

Things like:

  • Friends, family, relationships
  • School, work, a side business
  • Hobbies, passions, dreams
  • Health, fitness

If what we do every day makes up our lives, we should do the things that matter.

Opportunity cost

When we get distracted, we unintentionally perform a tradeoff. We take one hour of YouTube and lose one hour of work. We take one hour of Instagram and lose one hour with family. We accept one person's negative opinion and lose one opportunity in life.

When you let distractions repeat week after week, month after month, and year after year, you have to ask yourself what the opportunity cost of consistently making those tradeoffs are.

What could you have accomplished with a year's worth of distracted time?

Time is our resource. If we're not committing it to things that matter, we don't build a life we want, and we miss out on potential gain.

Killing time

I started making an effort to manage distractions when I noticed that I was killing time.

I'd watch YouTube for an hour; then I'd ask myself, "what was the result?" The answer was "nothing." My life hadn't changed except for the fact that an hour went by.

I killed an hour.

I could've used that time to work on an article, study for school, or spend it with my Dad. Either of those three would give me progress in the things that matter to me.

Why kill time for no reason?

What's worse to think about is that your distractions in a week could easily total 20 hours. That's a part-time job! If someone would hire you for 20 hours a week to help achieve their goals, you could use that same time to materialize yours.

What does this mean?

We should live with intent and practice delayed gratification.

Living with intent means being aware of your actions and performing them on purpose. Your actions should match your priorities. You can live with intent and still relax too, just don't let bad habits run your world.

This quote by David Perell sums it up, "Work, play, relax - just don't kill time."

Practicing delayed gratification means resisting the temptation of an immediate reward for a later one. An example is choosing between watching YouTube or working on your side business during free time. YouTube gives the instant gratification of entertainment, but working on your business will pay off much larger in the future.

Naval said it perfectly: "All success boils down to the marshmallow test. Can the kid hold off from eating one marshmallow for 15 minutes to get two marshmallows?"

Final note

Distractions are ANYTHING that takes your attention away from what matters, like someone's opinion, social media, or a bad relationship. I can't say what your distractions are, but when you know your priorities in life, they'll be clear.

Only when you're not distracted can you launch a business, create memories with friends, and so on.

This weeks quote

"The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus." - Bruce Lee

Everyone's success is different. There are two common definitions: being happy and successfully pursuing your life goals. This quote means everyone can get there; you just need focus.

The more you limit distractions, you become less average man and more successful warrior.

Question to ask yourself

Where would I be right now if the time I spent distracted was put towards ____ ? Fill in the blank for yourself.

My answer:

This year has been up and down for me productivity-wise, making me think about this question often. I started a lot of things this year, and I'm happy with where I am. But I know if I didn't get caught up in distractions, I could be doing much better right now.

My Twitter would have more reach, this newsletter would've started earlier, and I would be further along in making digital products.