How to Manage Your Attention to Dominate — It’s Absolutely Not What You Think

Art for Traena by Emily May Rose

There’s a war for your attention — and all our actions today are taken out of addiction.

We aren’t just habitual beings anymore — addiction has been transcended.

We’re all addicted to our ways, but software and the big four enablers (Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon) have made us addicted at a whole new level because they own our attention almost every second of every day.

Add Microsoft/Instagram/Snapchat and your work software and email, we’ll basically be living in our software shortly.

I want an app that let’s me live in it so I don’t have to pay $3,300 a month to live in a studio in San Francisco.

Products have been engineered for addiction forever, but in today’s mobile/screen driven world that’s getting even more competitive, the relentless need to focus on getting people addicted to products seems to have transcended the definition of addiction to a whole new level of addiction.

It’s time to fight back.

Fight back by getting addicted to the right things.

Fight back by getting addicted to the hard things.

The only way to fight back today is to use addiction to become addicted to what you want in lieu of the addictions you don’t want. That’s how addicted we’ve become.

Because the easy things are the mobile devices, notifications and snaps.

The key to succeeding at anything is just creating an environment that get’s you addicted to the right things.

If you get addicted to the right things, you’ll become a master of your attention and be in a better position to control, discipline and resist the easy things in the first place.

You’ll get in the habit of using force functions because you’ll be disciplined to know it’s exceptionally hard to forego the impulse of not taking the notification bait.

You’ll put your phone on airplane mode until Noon so you make sure you get your most important items done first.

You’ll get addicted to mindfulness presence.

You’ll get addicted to meditation.

You’ll get addicted to pain and love it to become the most resilient you.

A bit masochistic? Maybe it is but that’s what’s necessary to win the attention war and protect yours.

Habits vs. Addictions

Think about it — you use toothpaste everyday most likely, or mouth wash. Is that a habit or an addiction? I’d call it a habit.

Isn’t it crazy how the success of a product requires it become a part of your day to day existence and therefore habitual or addictive.

How about Facebook or Instagram or Amazon? How often do you check them, what triggers you to check them?

What rewards are you seeking? Love getting packages? Feel lonely so jump on Facebook?

Is it the dopamine hit of satisfying the craving of a curiosity based on the received notification (hundreds of times a day) and fear of missing out or is it controlled?

Here’s Charles Duhigg’s Habit Loop from his best-selling book the power of habit:

Art for Traena by Emily May Rose

Controlled (somewhat) is a habit, compulsive and unavoidable is addicted.

How much time and attention do you give to Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google independently? Now how much time and attention do you give them combined? Your whole day?

That gives them open season to keep hooking and hooking and feeding and feeding and getting you more addicted.

Don’t get me wrong, companies have been getting people addicted for years.

Food companies would come together and study the right amounts of salt and sugar to engineer optimal cravings so people couldn’t just eat one.

Heck that became a marketing slogan for some chip or cookie company and people even ate it up! “Hey I’m proud to be addicted to lays or oreos”

Given we’re in an attention war, the only way to win the war is by getting people addicted to good addictions — by creating products that strive to get people addicted to the right things.

At Traena, we’re trying to get people and companies addicted to learning and personal growth. “Get hooked on the process” I tell trainees over and over.

“Get hooked on the journey for the journey’s sake.”

“Embrace obstacle for growth and opportunity.”

“The best opportunities come the moment adversity hits. So look forward to it. Better yet, get addicted to adversity.”

Get addicted to learning. You have the choice to feel the exact same as the game you play or the TV you watch, why not get addicted to success instead?

You’re hooked on the game because skill level and challenge are aligned. It get’s you into a flow where happiness chemicals are firing.

Add the power of story in your mind and you’ve got a never ending and endless addiction. Stories are the downfall of mankind.

We think stories are so good but they’re not. Stories cause us to feel lonely. The reason you’re upset after the break up or the lost deal is because of the story in your mind, not because of anything else. There’s no imminent danger after the break up, but we certainly react emotionally as if it’s so.

Just because stories are effective doesn’t mean they’re good for us. “The power of story telling”. “Tell stories to sell.” etc etc

Heck because they work you should watch out for the power of story. Keep yourself in check: “is there something wrong or am I selling myself a story.”

If you aren’t where you want to be personally or professionally, all you need to do is get addicted to the things that will take you to where you want to go.

Out of shape? Get addicted to working out.

Not working hard enough? Get addicted to work. Approach it the same way as you would the game or fun activity or Netflix.

Recreate the experiences and align skill-level and challenge. Create a story around it that’s intriguing to yourself.

Heck you as a conscious person is just a story. A self created brand you’re living to uphold in the form of ego.

Make growth and learning you’re new addiction and you’ll conquer personal and professional development and dominate the competition I promise you.

Here’s What We’re Doing to Get People Addicted to Learning At Traena.

  • Mobile first — we’re going to dominate training to make your people better on a mobile device.
  • Micro-learning experiences for short hits of learning content. “Bet you can’t just do one.” One a day is a great start and is the beginning of a habit and eventually an addiction. “Take the one video challenge.”

To Managers:

  • Get your people hooked on learning with a video a day.
  • Have your leadership get addicted to sharing wins with the rest of the team to create a culture addicted to learning. This trickles down.
  • Get addicted to archiving knowledge.
  • Empower, enable and get your team addicted to a beautiful and fun mobile product that shows them you care about which addictions they’re addicted to.
  • Turn managers into mentors and get addicted to mentorship.
  • Get addicted to checking to see how addicted your people are to training
  • Get your team addicted to having me at your organization teaching people how to get addicted to the right things.
  • Get addicted to me living at your office ensuring your organization is becoming successful at becoming addicted to the right things.
  • Get addicted to a culture of learning and get your people addicted with Traena.

I’m addicted to making that happen.