You Need Concentration and Concentrated Effort

By: Dan Kennedy on: August 6th, 2009 8 Comments

I don’t like to dawdle and I’m mystified by people who do. There are times I envy them their laissez-faire, relaxed attitude, just sort of meandering along, apparently satisfied with whatever gets done, getting done and whatever doesn’t laying around until tomorrow or next week.

It intrigues me that people live like this. I occasionally wonder what it would be like. This is not, as near as I can tell, The Renegade Millionaire Way. The RM’s that I hang out with are in full court press – when working.

It surprises people that I can shift into a mode of doing nothing. I once spent a five day vacation in a hammock. But those are the only two speeds I have: frenetic pace, maximum speed. Or comatose. When not working, I can and do shut down.

But when I work, I work hard, I work fast, I work with focused, concentrated, uninterrupted effort and intensity. And I maintain that is why I get so much more done than most. Napoleon Hill wrote about the power of concentration, and I really studied Hill and took him seriously.

A whole lot of people have read ‘Think And Grow Rich’ but darned few have taken it seriously. (Same, I guess, with my books.) I’ve actually re-read TGR over 100 times, and all of Hill’s other works at least 25 times.

So for me, ‘read’ is the wrong word. I’ve studied. And most people never really study much of anything. I study Trump. To get good on stage with humor and timing and pacing, I studied Carson and Charlie Jarvis and Zig and Tremendous Jones and Sam Kineson. I like Ron White, but I also study Ron White. To get good as a copywriter, I studied all the winners I could get my hands on. To get the opening monologue of the newsletter right, I studied Parr and Philbin, and Jerry Buchanan and Gary Halbert.

Anyway, back to the subject: concentration and concentrated effort. Convinced (initially) by Hill of its importance, I made a point of doing two things: I trained myself to be able to fully concentrate on the task at hand even under adverse, disruptive circumstances.

That’s why, for example, I could sell successfully in the last time slot of the day at the Success events, when so many other speakers tried and failed; the stampede leaving after the last famous speaker, as I took stage; the roadies dismantling their equipment behind me; nothing broke my concentration.

Second, I make a point of creating work environments conducive to maximum concentration whenever possible. That’s why I don’t take unscheduled incoming calls.

I’ve also noticed that people who actually determine to get things done are rare. Goes back to the laissez-faire attitude.

Most people just get up and go to work. I get up and go to work to get something done. Finished. Completed. Off my desk. Out the door.

This is a gigantic behavioral distinction, and I’ve only worked with relatively few people who operate like this all the time. I remember doing a recording session with Joan Rivers; she was recording eight audio sessions from scripts I’d written that she had not seen prior to that morning. At [9:00] A.M., the engineer asked what our plan was if we didn’t finish that day. She looked at him as if he’d spoken Martian. “I have a hair appointment at [4:00] P.M. We’ll be finished at [3:30] P.M.” And we were. Six hours of recording in 6-1/2 hours, one bathroom break.

Yesterday, I video-taped six ten minute “vignettes” for use by our Certified No B.S. Business Advisors in their local Kennedy Study Groups. We started as scheduled at [8:00] A.M., we finished as scheduled before [3:00] P.M. – even with me a bit under the weather with this flu. Because we did not stop. Breaks are for sissies. Because it had to be done.

Therein, the real secret. People get done what they must. So you get a lot more done if you put yourself under a lot more pressure with a lot more cement commitments. So, what is the most important minute? The last minute, of course. Without the last minute, very little would ever get done!

Of course, you can over-commit and get yourself in a little trouble with it, and I’ve done that in the past few months, and have had to take some extraordinary measures to handle it. But I’d rather be over-committed and getting a lot of things done than be perfectly caught up and on schedule with hardly anything on the list. Nobody’s perfect. I’d rather err with a lot done and a little late than little done and nothing late.

One other thing…his getting rich, living prosperously thing. Heck, just about everybody gives it casual thought and lip service. They want it enough that they resent those who have it. But not enough to study it. To take it seriously.

Next time somebody’s whining at you about how they wish they had more money or a bigger house or the price of gas or health care something like that, ask them how many times they’ve read ‘Think And Grow Rich.’ Ask them to show you their bookshelf full of books about money and prosperity that they’re studying.

I guarantee, Rohn’ll be right; they’ll have a big TV but a small library. If they had to get rich, it’d be the other way around.

I suppose they don’t even realize that the behaviors of the prosperous of which they disapprove are actually behaviors that need to be seriously studied and emulated.

There are plenty of living, breathing, walking, talking blueprints right in front of most people. Almost every family has a financial star-performer.

Every sales force has a champion. Every industry or profession has its top dogs.

So, two tips: one, assume nothing you see the successful do is accidental or unrelated to their success; assume that the success is the effect and everything else you can observe the cause. Two, set aside jealousy, envy, disapproval, past belief systems, and try copying everything you see the successful do. Study them.

Earl Nightingale said: we become what we think about most; he might better have said: we become what we study most.


Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the 'Millionaire Maker,' helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan's "No B.S." approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to

8 Responses

  1. admin Brian says:

    I’m a huge far of Napleon Hill also! Just listed to the audio version of Think and Grow Rich for the 3rd time, and have ready the book twice.
    Love the blog!

  2. Rob Anspach says:

    I found that working a 5 day work week was not productive for me… or my clients.

    I now only work 3 days a week and I am more focused, make more money and have plenty of time to spend with my kids.

  3. Right on, Rob.

    Tru Dat!

    People are confused about the so-called necessity of a 40 to 50 hour work week.

    Stage Hypnotist Simone

  4. Rob Anspach says:

    if you want to work 40-50 hours pounding out a living – more power to you…

    I for one (and I’ll be honest here) am geniunely lazy by nature… so I’d rather make all my money in the shortest time possible. And frankly, working more hours doesn’t always equate to more money. Thats just madness if you think that way.

    So, I schedule all my work in 3 days and I find I’m more productive, make more money, more creative, and have more time to enjoy the other 4 days doing whatever I want.

  5. When the 50 hours is regenade pursuit of a dream, you are congruent with your dream. At that point, it’s not work. …and it’s definately not a job. I can’t even remember what a job feeeeeeeeeels like. Thank you, God.

  6. Rob Anspach says:

    Here’s my schedule…

    I spend a few hours every Monday – working on my marketing, writing copy, and consulting

    Tues, Wed & Thursday – I spend actively engaged in my biz (not more than 7 hrs per day)

    Fri – is my personal day – to reflect and read, study or do what ever

    and the weekends and evenings are for my family

  7. Great post, Dan. Regarding your two tips at the end of this post:

    Whenever I’ve taken on a new project, job, task, whatever, I’ve read, listened to, studied everything I could get my hands on about the subject — and studied the leaders in the field and gone to them for mentoring.

    That has made me almost immediately successful over and over in new endeavors.

    But I’m always amazed how few of my peers ever ask me for advice or help. And then how many who ask don’t follow my lead.

    But it does make it easier than most people think to be #1. You’re right — most people never even try; they just complain and tear down the successful.

  8. Everyone has their own schedule. Focused time is the key. Thanks for the post Dan.


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