Distractions are probably one of the most overlooked and insidious aspects of your life. It is undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons why you are keeping yourself from reaching your goals. I should know – I have to really work hard to keep unnecessary distractions at bay on a hourly basis. It’s easily one of my biggest challenges.

The problem with distractions is that, they are so deeply woven into our lives and daily routine that most of us might even come to believe that they do not exist – the undetectable nature is what makes it so dangerous. The majority of the populace love distractions – because it simply makes their life easier, less complicated and gives them the illusion that they are actually making progress. Unfortunately the price that you must pay at the expense of conformity is far too great to be ignored.

These are some of the biggest distractions that are constantly trying to pull your focus away from important tasks and into a giant black-hole devoid of any personal growth or productivity. Watch out for them cautiously.

Internet

Even in its infancy, the internet is probably the biggest distraction in existence today. Don’t get me wrong, the internet is immensely valuable if used correctly, but the majority of the people actually hinder their personal and business goals because of it. I’ve caught myself spending hours per day clicking one link after the other through a labyrinth of sites like a junkie rabbit chasing after cocaine pellets; only to end up back in square one dazed and confused. It’s very surreal – at the end of your time-wasting session, you could actually feel your energy being thrown away at the expense of potentially producing something great, acting on that idea, starting a venture so you could quit your shitty job.

Whatever.

One method I use to cope with this problem is to have a neutered laptop. Essentially, this is a laptop with absolutely no internet access (I actually physically remove the wireless/network card) and I will lock my self in a room with it if I need to get something done. Figure out what works for you and stick to it, because the internet will only become more of a distraction if you cannot properly manage your time. Another effective way to solve this issue is to start your day with the most important task instead of checking email, browsing the web etc. Nicholas Carr has written extensively on the subject and I suggest you check out his work to see a bit of the dark side of the internet.

Friends & Relatives

Chances are good that you weren’t even aware of this major distraction. The problem with those that are closest to you is that, due to their intimate knowledge of your demeanor: they can often do the most damage to you. Now the damage could come in the form of indirectly (or directly) encouraging you to stay in your comfort zone or talking you out of your crazy new idea, but make no mistake: overtime, your inclination to be successful will be gradually eroded by these well meaning folks.

Conformity DOES work well for most people, but know that familiarity is a recipe for a slow death. This is why I recommend spending time alone every now and then to center your self and gain some perspective and to see the bigger picture. (ie: re-assess where your heading and calibrate your mental compass) The truth is that your family and friends secretly fear that they will lose you or no longer be able to relate to you if you take certain risks and god forbid: actually succeed. This is mostly a reflection of their own inner fears and their failure to pursue their own dreams years ago. Television

Don’t get me wrong: I am a huge documentary whore. If you are however, watching useless programming on television instead of focusing your limited time and energy on much more important tasks that could potentially yield much more satisfaction in the long term, you might be cutting your self short. It’s perfectly OK to be brain-dead for a few hours a week if it relaxes you, but this should be apart of your scheduled leisure time.

Job/Career

This is easily another big problem for me. What defines a career or a job? As a good rule of thumb, in my opinion, any job or career that involves repetition and routine based work with minimal personal growth factors is considered to be a colossal waste of time and life. The problem here is that, quite a bit of traditional jobs out there will start out with the illusion of personal growth and learning but will almost always reach a plateau in which all tasks involving your position becomes almost second nature to you.

You will be just going through the motions just to reach the end of the workday to go home and repeat the cycle again the next morning. What’s a better alternative? A better question to ask is: how replaceable am I? Objectively analyze how easily you could be replaced by someone who will satisfy your position(s) requirements for lower price(s)/better efficiency. If you can be easily replaceable, I consider your job to be a waste of time and energy. (ie: shitty job). Your goal should not be to climb up that illusory corporate (or any) ladder.

Instead, work on saving some capital to start a venture on the side. With a simple internet connection, you have access to pretty much everything you need – so there’s absolutely no excuse whatsoever. Start small, even if you are not sure whether you are headed in the right direction, as long as you objectively measure your progress, you will be significantly increasing your probabilities of ending up with a successful operation. Experiment. Consistently. Becoming self sufficient is the only answer here. Instead of climbing illusory ladders (and exchanging your time for money) to please a bunch of assholes, why not build your own ladder? Remember: Most of us have no choice but to pray for dollars and work for change at some point in life, but it is ultimately up to you to choose whether you want to continue in this path.

Final Thoughts

The above summarizes some of the distractions that I have noticed in my life overtime. I still have to consciously work at them. I wish I could put a “check mark” next to each of these problems and forget about them. It’s always a good idea to perform a quick “audit” of your life and re-calibrate your goals with your actions. What are some of your distractions?