Suffice it to say that whatever we want comes with a price. Wants have a nasty habit of demanding attention and, yes, attention is a price. But, maybe even more importantly, wants all demand to be felt.


Many things in life demand to be felt.

And maybe it is because of that we numb ourselves to as many things as possible figuring it is the only way to manage our way thru the onslaught of things demanding and demanding and demanding. Pay enough attention, or give them enough emphasis, and the clamor of their cries for attention seems deafening if you listen too closely.

Regardless. I imagine it depends on what one wants.


Here is where I will leave the beaten path in the discussion.

There is gobs of information and advice on how to selectively focus on the right things at the right time. Smart people, Warren Buffett, Shane Parrish, etc. have weighed in on this topic and they offer some great thoughts. But. Here’s the deal. Life for most of us every day schmucks doesn’t work like ‘selective focus.’ Oh sure, we may try. But the truth is what we want demands to be felt, even the shit you have elected to not focus on.  So therefore, the price actually comes down to emphasis, not choice.


“Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and applause of the many, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.”



Personally, I believe most of the advice ‘expert’ books/articles give people about focus/emphasis is absurd if not impractically nuts. I’m not opposed to encouraging focus nor do I dispel the notion that one can improve focus, but, for the most part, most advice ignores how wants demand attention. What I mean by that is most advice isolates a decision/choice and suggests you:

a) Tune out the unnecessary/unhelpful, and

b) Tune in on the specific contextual variables which are necessary/helpful.

Conceptually fabulous. Reality-wise absurd.

Here are 3 reasons why it is absurd:

      1. Life never stops. If you stop you inevitably have to catch up and, well, the doom loop of onslaught of the demands increases. All the while what you want gets farther and farther away. In other words. What the experts neglect to share with you is that there is a price to pay for selective focus.

Emphasis is a moving target and you must focus on the move.

2. Life never stops demanding attention. Selective focus is risky. The demands Life, and your wants within it, will put upon you do not cease simply because you have decided to focus on something or decide what you want to emphasize.

Often emphasis is managing some things while focusing on something else. that’s the gig.

3. Life never stops offering demands OUT OF SEQUENCE <capitalized for emphasis>. Life is not orderly. It may not be totally random, but it’s rarely consistent other than through its overall consistency of demands.

Life is like a restaurant with odd little waiters bringing things you don’t always like.


“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”

Lemony Snicket


None of what I just shared should suggest you shouldn’t seek to emphasize some wants versus others. In fact. I tend to believe if you don’t figure out what to emphasize you will, well, just become numb. This is where life is particularly unforgiving. If you do not choose, Life will choose to bludgeon you day in and day out with things demanding your attention, many of which are nothing even close to what you want.

That is unsustainable. For anyone.

Make some choices. Choose things to emphasize over others. You may not always get it right, but my own experience suggests even your poor choices, while painful, are survivable. And maybe that’s my point. What you want demands to be felt. If you do not choose what to emphasize and Life emphasizes everything, I fear that will insure anything you want will not survive. All that said. Remember. There’s always a price for what you want.


Written by Bruce