Listener Favorites: Cal Newport | Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

"So even if you say “I’m not trying to do deep work now. I”m in line at the supermarket. I’m bored let me look at something.” That actually affects your deep work the next morning or the next day when you actually want to do it. There’s this whole notion of passive training where you basically are embracing boredom. You give your mind plenty of practice in actually resisting the urge for distraction, being bored, and being present. That actually has the same sort of ramifications on your ability to focus down the line, just like smoking having to do with cardio vascular fitness. If you’re smoking outside of your practice as a professional athlete, when you get to your actual game you’re going to struggle. If your attention is constantly shifting towards things that are novel and interesting, if you can’t tolerate boredom, it’s going to be hard when it becomes time for you to focus to actually do it." - Cal Newport


Cal Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, who specializes in the theory of distributed algorithms. He previously earned his Ph.D. from MIT in 2009 and graduated from Dartmouth College in 2004.


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