Just how focussed are you?
Do you target all your energies on the task at hand, or do you find yourself distracted umpteen times?
Imagine what your life would be like if you were to get much more focussed in all areas of your life.
If like most people you get easily distracted in this age of distraction, then Leo Babauta has just the answer for you – his latest book, called appropriately enough – Focus.
You can read more about Leo’s new book on focus at Zen Habits
If you haven’t heard of Leo Babauta, then let me tell you a bit more about him.
Leo is the world’s leading blogger whose blog Zen Habits now has over 200,000 subscribers and is transforming the world with his message of simple productivity.
Is Leo Babuata the most focussed man in the world?!
Earlier this year, Time magazine named Zen Habits as THE number one blog for 2010. Please do check out Zen Habits today and be sure to subscribe.
Leo has become a friend and a mentor on my blogging journey – and he kindly agreed to an interview for Make It Happen readers:-
1. Leo, welcome to my blog and thanks for accepting my request for an interview.
Usually ebooks or guides are just that – a single document to read, whereas you have given us the Full Monty!
Please describe your product in more detail.
Leo: The usual ebook is available for free download, without having to give away your email address or anything. But if you want more, it’s available in a premium version: there are bonus chapters from me and five other authors, quickstart guides in PDF format, videos going further into several topics, and three expert audio interviews.
It’s a digital course in one neat package.
2. What do you think our mutual hero Gandhi would have to say about Focus?
Leo: I wouldn’t presume to know. He was brilliant, and concerned himself with matters of freedom. Even his insistence on simplicity and self-reliance were tools to greater freedom.
Focus, in that sense, is a tool for freedom as well — it’s a way to free yourself from the tyranny of digital distractions, so that you can create or do what’s important to you.
I hope he would have approved.
3. How do you let your hair down (metaphorically speaking!)?
Leo: As you know, I don’t have any hair to let down! And that’s true metaphorically speaking, too … I don’t think I have to let my hair down, as it’s always down.
I’m always doing things I love, always having fun, so there’s no division between being serious and having fun. It’s all the time.
4. Do you ever have days of being scatty, forgetful or a terror to be around?
Leo: Of course! I’m human, despite what anyone might think. I have a horrible memory — I don’t even try to improve it. I can get moody too — one of the things I should work on is letting go of bad feelings when I feel I’ve been offended. I can usually do that eventually, but until I do I can be moody.
5. You have a world class blog and a worldwide following. And yet recently you said something which I really loved and struck a chord with me deeply.
You said how little you really know and how there was so much more to learn and love.
So what’s next for you, Leo?
Leo: I never know what’s next. That’s one of the little things I’ve learned — I can’t predict or control the future, so I’ve (mostly) stopped trying.
I don’t plan that much (sometimes I do), I don’t set goals very much, I just do what I love and see what comes up.
That makes it very hard to work with me — I don’t stick very well to deadlines or plans. But I usually do something cool in the end. We’ll see what comes next.
6. If you had to share something with Make It Happen readers that you have never ever told anyone before, what would that be?
Please make it profound, earth-shaking and life-changing. Or you can just tell us your shoe size or a nasty habit that you want to shake-off.
Leo: Everything I say is bullshit!
I might sound like I know what I’m talking about, but in reality I don’t know more than the next guy — if anything I know less.
I’m making things up as I go along, just like everyone else. I’m trying things out to see what works, learning a little, making huge mistakes, failing a lot.
I know so little, but maybe my strength is that I realize that and I’m OK with that. Whatever I say, take it with a barrel of salt, and don’t take anything as gospel. Try it out yourself, but don’t think I have any answers.
At most, I’ll get you thinking about something fairly important so you can figure it out yourself.
7. Final question Leo. You are an incredibly giving and generous guy. And I know that from my own personal experience of you over the last year. So what can we, your followers, do to give something back to you?
Leo: My readers (I think of them as online friends who don’t seem to get annoyed by me) have already given me more than I’ve ever given anyone.
You have all given me the opportunity to share what I’m excited about, to learn from you, to connect with you, to make a living doing what I love, to quit a tiresome job and spend more time with my family.
You’ve shared some incredible stories about how simple articles I’ve written have touched you or changed your lives, even if I had no idea that could ever happen when I wrote the articles.
I’m profoundly touched and gratified by what my readers have given me, and I can ask for nothing more.
Thanks very much Leo for sharing your personal insights and tips. We all look forward to getting more focussed in our lives.
To download the free version of Leo’s new ebook and also to purchase the premium version, please visit:-
Focus: A simplicity Manifesto in the Age of Distraction (not an affiliate link)
If you like, you can get all three ebooks as a package:-
Three Zen Habits Ebooks Package
(these are affiliate links, but please rest assured that I only ever promote products I really believe in)
Please share below your tips on getting focussed.
What works for you? What doesn’t work for you?
I do follow Zen Habits and it is indeed a source of much inspiration, as is your blog! I laughed out loud when I read “Everything I say is bullshit!” It reminded me of the saying — If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.
Oprah writes a column on the last page of her magazine every month called “What I Know for Sure.” I blogged about that once, saying how amazed I was that once a month she knows something for sure. I’m just as sure I don’t know anything for sure, even once a year!
As for what helps me focus, I read that if we do something for 1 1/2 minutes, it is easier to then sustain our momentum. So if I need to do something I’m not very focused on, I tell myself to just try it for 1 1/2 minutes. After that, I find it easier to continue and I become more focused, or I realize that this is not what I want to be doing with my time right then and move on to something else.
Thanks Galen for putting my blog in the same category as Zen Habits!
I am sure you must be sure about something at least once a year.
I am going to try your tip about doing something for 1 1/2 minutes and see how I get on. So right now, I will have replied to all the comments on this post within just a few minutes:-)
Brilliant Arvind! Top interview here from one of my favourite people on this planet. You’ve done yourself a fine service here my friend 🙂
Thanks Stuart, Leo was very easy to interview once I managed to reduce my questions to 7 from the initial 20+!
Great interview Arvind. I love listening to Leo, though I always take anything he, and anyone else, says with a pinch of salt. Leo is so human. It doesn’t make what he has to say any less relevant. It’s the fact that he recognizes his own humanity, without getting hung up on it, that makes him so good at what he does.
By sheer coincidence, I finally found the focus yesterday to really start reading Focus. Life is good!
Well done Alison for finding the focus to start reading focus.
Now remember to apply all his teachings!
Recognising and acknowledging your own humanity is one of the most endearing things one can do.
Time for us all to be more human.
Oops, I can sense a new blog post coming up soon:-)
A wonderful interview, Arvind and Leo. I just love this: “I don’t think I have to let my hair down, as it’s always down.” This gives me the greatest inspiration. I loved Leo’s ebook. His tips are helping me to be more focused!
Thanks Sadnra, maybe we should all let our hair down all the time:-)
Glad the Focus ebook is helping you get more focussed. So the world can look forward to many more inspirational posts from you.
What a gift!
Hi Arvind (and Leo),
What a wonderful reminder that a big part of focus is freeing ourselves to do things that are meaningful to us. It’s great to hear Leo talk about just “making it up” as he goes along because there’s already too much dogma out there about the so-called “right” way to do things. I agree that the best we can do is listen, learn from each other and our own experiences and keep getting back up whenever we fall.
Thanks to both of you for doing what you do and being a great inspiration to me! 🙂
Tisha, welcome to my blog!
It’s so true that a big part of focus is freeing ourselves to do things that are really meaninful to us. It’s amazing how much energy is then freed up.
And yes, down with dogma!
Tisha, I wish you all the best on your blogging journey – and thanks in advance for the great guest post:-)
Great interview. I really liked the personal aspect of it. More of a get to know Leo kind of thing. His journey to “success” and down-to-earth way of achieving it has really been inspiring to me. In fact, I just re-read his free eBook again today to be reminded that it is possible to “liberate myself.”
Lisa, you got it!
My intention was exactly that – to show the more personal aspect of Leo whilst at the same time introduce his focus manifesto and the other books.
I had initially submitted 20+ questions and then had to get truly focussed and narrow down to the 7 questions above. Leo taught me another lesson in focus at the same time – less is more:-)
Great Interview Arvind! The questions were very unique and specific. The fact that you got him to say ‘everything I say is bullshit’ is funny!!!
Jenny, yes that was funny!
It’s given me a lot of tweeting material such as:-
Is everything that Leo Babauta of @Zen_Habits says really bulls**t ?! https://is.gd/hXhI0
I wish I could also come up with the same quality of bulls**t 🙂
Okay..this will surprise you..I am one who had not heard of Leo nor his blog. How is that possible??? I live on the boat, and I don’t follow anything mainstream..no TV, little reading of newspapers or magazines..And very limited Internet access until recently..
I’ve just learned about Leo through his recent interviews. I love that Leo lives mindfully present, enjoys life, and is creating by following his heart. No wonder there is such a following..And of course I would like to learn from the best, so here I am reading this circle of blogs. By that I mean learn personally in life, not necessarily blogging.
I like that he doesn’t have a plan and he’s making things up as he goes..much like sailing–allowing the currents and wind patterns to guide me to wonderful places beyond what others are familiar with.
Thank you, Arvind, for an excellent interview!
Joy, that’s really amazing that you have not heard of Leo before!
(I believe he is also one of the speakers in Satya’s Freedom Summit)
You are in for a treat as you work your way through Zen Habits. I also have a guest post there about Gandhi the Ultimate Minimalist:-)
Leo is a great teacher showing us how to go with the flow.
Happy flowing, Joy:-)
Quite right Arvind as Leo is a man who has made the minimalist and simplicity concepts more widespread. He is a message bringer!
Yes John – Leo’s the minimalist messenger:-)
Leo is incredible. Having met him and interviewed him for the freedom summit was one of the great joys of my life (coming next week). Yes, he is focused, but the ease and joy of his focus is really what we can learn from.
I can’t remember the exact words he used, but in my “what’s your message to the world” video for the summit, he talks about just always being open to learning from the world — his words cut through like a knife….!
I’ve learned from Leo to be grateful to life for being my greatest teacher.
Satya, it’s wonderful that you have met Leo in person – thanks for sharing your personal experience of him.
What a wonderful world it would be if we could all be open to learning from the world.
LIFE – indeed our greatest teacher:-)
p.s. when did you write that guest post… i wasn’t notified!! 😉
Satya, that guest post was in April this year – before our paths had even converged:-)
Great post. Lots of wonderful tidbits here I’ve never seen nor heard anywhere else. I’m sure part of it’s because you were able to come up with original questions. Not easy. Congratulations on that, and good job!
Thanks for sharing.
Welcome to my blog and thanks for your kind words.
I specifically set out ot be different and to ask original questions.
Wishes you all the best for your own blogging journey. May you too write a lot of bulls**t 🙂
With love and gratitude
What a nice interview. I started blogging because of Leo and Trent (simple dollar), I am in awe of him and amazed at both of them too. I loved the interview and simpleness of it. There is humility in him which is hard to find these days!
Thanks Preeti – and good to know your comments are no longer going into spam.
I wanted to keep the interview simple and different – and thanks to Leo who made it happen:-)
I am glad I came across this blog post, Arvind ! 🙂 I have subscribed to Leo’s blog and am waiting for the e mail in my box. 🙂 Besides, I just liked one statement in particular of Leo- he has never set deadlines and always does what he loves. 🙂 I think I could use this funda. 🙂 Great to read your posts as usual. 🙂
Nabanita – you are most welcome.
Leo is the #1 blogger in the world – and you are going to benefit a lot from his teachings:-)
If all of us could learn to never set deadlines and just do what we love, imagine how the world would be transformed!