“For us, there is only the trying.
The rest is not our business.”
Well. There is a shitlaod of advice on focus but the truth is that learning what to disregard is one of the most difficult things in the world.
To be clear. This isn’t really about ignoring shit nor is this about tuning out distractions, this is more about acknowledgement of and the inevitable ‘setting aside’ of things. In other words, deciding ‘the rest is not our business.’
Simplistically, there is a huge difference between disregard and ignore.
Disregard implies a denial of attention to something because of superior knowledge or more pressing considerations.
Ignore particularly stresses that something has been rejected without any conscious consideration while disregard can suggest a more careful, conscious evaluation that results in dismissal.
So this becomes a combination of deciding what to omit and what to not omit … what is essential and what is unessential.
This is hard as shit.
To anyone who hasn’t had to deal with this on a consistent basis in business, this whole issue gets disregarded as bullshit … ‘because common sense will tell you what is essential and what is not’.
And wrong again.
And let me say again … that is really really wrong.
If it were that easy, that much common sense, we would be the most efficient sonofabitches in the world.
We are not.
Speaking personally, for a curious person like me, I can quite easily find myself going down senseless rabbit holes and teasing out useless information from … well … useless information.
Yeah. If I do this too often I become relatively useless to people. I know a lot about many things that are, frankly, not really worth knowing a lot about.
Here is what I know about recognizing something as something to be regarded and the ability to disregard the others as just ‘things’. When viewed correctly, some things show you how to interpret what is <and, I imagine, what could be>. This means that the things to disregard are the ones which will not help you in any way change ‘what is’ because, inevitably, I imagine the point of anything is to change what is. Ok. That’s just how I filter things. Ponder and choose your own filter <but have a filter>
“To develop the skill of correct thinking is in the first place to learn what you have to disregard.
In order to go on, you have to know what to leave out: this is the essence of effective thinking.”
Now. My last thought may create some disagreement with people. They may disagree that the point of things, in general, is to change what is <in other words, change shouldn’t apply to everything>.
Well. Here is my point.
This includes thoughts and thinking. Unfortunately, even a great thought declines in value the longer it remains stagnant and static.
I would point out that the mind, itself, is exactly the same <some philosopher called this ‘the principle of entropy’>. The basic principle is that while good things happen to people within events the general arc of things tends to be negative. Therefore someone or something needs to arise to prevent the natural downward arc. But that ‘thing’ needs to be refreshed or replaced because their impact is biggest initially and loses effectiveness against the downward trend over time.
What that suggests is things you should disregard will vary depending on the context and the time.
What that suggests is things you should disregard will most likely not be a replication of something in the past.
What that suggests is things you should disregard are most likely not uncovered most easily by ‘common sense.’
What that suggests is things you should disregard are most likely derived through a need to separate fact from fiction and then an assessment of the value & relevance of the facts.
Nothing in what I just shared is easy.
Nothing in what I just shared suggests identifying ‘the rest is not our business’ is easy.
I do know that being successful in business management and leadership often tilts on how well you are able to identify what is ‘not our business.’
Life is not particularly kind to people who suck at not discerning what to disregard, but it rarely kills you for this suckedness.
Business is particularly unkind to people who suck at not discerning what to disregard. Not mastering, even partially, this skill will cost you promotions and, even worse, trust in independent work. Once you are deemed a shitty assessor of ‘not our business’ type of shit you will have someone looking over your shoulder for the rest of your professional career.
I end on that last thought mostly because anyone who wants to rise in a business organization knows this and they are most likely to handle that by going to the complete other side of the spectrum, i.e., make everything their business <yeah … they are the ones who claim to be perfectionists and do everything, even the unnecessary under the guise of ‘not leaving any T’s uncrossed and I’s undotted … but it is their fear of leaving the wrong things in the ‘not our business’ bucket>. They are horrible, pain in the ass’s, to work with.
Anyway. ‘The rest is not our business’ is really hard to identify.
The only thing I can suggest is ‘practice makes perfect.’ The only way to get better at it is to do it <but you will never be perfect>.
And as long as you can navigate the inevitable mistakes in judgment along the way you will do fine and will actually become fairly good at judging what to regard versus disregard.