Ask my parents, and they’ll tell you I couldn’t even sit through a ten-page picture book as a kid. My brother-in-law, on the other hand, was reading 1,000 page novels by the first grade.

But just because I didn't inherit the innate attention my brother-in-law has doesn’t mean I’m incapable of staying focused.

If you haven’t already, go read Alison Gopnik’s article on WSJ. The bottom line: the idea of innate talent is a farce, and you’ve probably bought the lie.

This is dangerous, and Gopnik explains why:


I am not naturally disposed to pay attention for more than a few minutes— but my fate is not sealed, and neither is yours. Our ability to stay focused might not be “innate,” but we can earn our attention. Through discipline and hard work you can grow in your ability to stay focused. This might mean taking time to pray or meditate, or maybe taking off the headphones while you work. It might mean taking time to sit in silence, or turning off that incessant smartphone. 

Your attention, your focus, your success is at stake. Do the hard things, whatever they may be, to earn your attention.