How To Focus On The Important Stuff

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I sat down in his class on the first day of the semester. He strode into the small classroom – there were only 20 of us in the room – and as he arrived at the front of the room, the words were already being fired from his mouth.

It took thirty seconds for any of us to realize Professor Gary Hicks already was lecturing about the course material. He spoke with such a rapid-fire speed that no one could keep up. Bewildered looks went around the room. I wrote anything I could, as fast as I could. It went on like until he glanced at the clock, finally stopped talking, and said, “alright, enough for today.”

Enough for today, indeed. I looked down at my notebook to see most of what I had written was frantic scribbles that weren’t going to help me remember anything he’d just lectured on.

This wasn’t going to work.

But what happened over the course of that semester became a pivotal lesson for me, one that still serves me well today and that will help you be a better caretaker of your body.

This is the story of how “Microbiology 210” showed me how to find the important stuff, organize the rest of the stuff, and be able to tease out the most important aspects from the field of important stuff.

I’ll be the first to admit that this won’t be revolutionary to some. But given how many people I’ve spoken with over the years who are confused by the sheer volume of information that exists, this lesson is bound to help someone like it helped me. That’s my hope, anyways.

Sitting in Professor Hicks’ class, it was apparent after the first day that just “writing faster” wasn’t going to work. There was all this stuff he said, and it all seemed important.

“I must gather all the information,” I thought.

There have been so many clients I’ve worked with who are living examples of what I was feeling that first week of class. Trying so hard to juggle all of the stuff they have heard about exercise, frazzled by which focus points were most important, and wondering what to do with the ones that were less important.

That was me in Microbiology, until I figured out two critical concepts.

Once I learned these two things, Microbiology didn’t become an utter joy. The material didn’t get any easier, but my ability to engage with and apply the material did.

These concepts worked so well that they’re now a cornerstone for how I teach what I know, and how I learn new things myself. Once you know them, you can apply them to anything you want to learn and understand, or teach to someone else.

1. There’s always a framework, you just have to find it.

What looked on Day 1 like a mess of words being thrown at us, when I went back and took another look at my notes that day, I realized there was indeed a theme, direction, and focus to what he’d been talking about. He had organized his ideas, he just hadn’t told us what the framework that organized them was.

Once I got an idea of the framework for his ideas, I was able to take better notes – and – I took less notes. Because what I wrote down was far easier to remember, and assimilating the new info I learned into his framework made it much easier to understand.

A framework manages complexity. A framework is not a set of firm rules, but rather, an organization of concepts emphasizing the connection between the concepts.

Instead of asking a yes/no question about every single choice available to you, you can reference the framework you’re operating with and decide where, how, and if, that choice is ideal in the context of whatever else you’re doing.

2. Decide what’s most important for you, right now, in this situation – and go deeper on that.

As is the case in most areas of study, there’s a nearly infinite amount of ‘stuff you can learn’. In Prof. Hicks class, I learned that there were going to be a lot of aspects of the immune response I would need to know – but instead of trying to see the whole thing right this second, I decided to put my blinders on and ignore everything outside of the one path we were on in class at that moment.

Caring for your body is no different. If you know that this big world of “things you can do to be fit” exists – it can be tough to put your blinders on and focus on what’s most important to you right now.

However, it’s critical that you focus on the most important stuff or else you risk spreading your valuable energy around to too many goals, and never making much progress on any of them. Remember, you can’t have all of the fitness all of the time.

How To Care For Your Body: A User’s Manual

So how do you put your framework together? How do you focus on the stuff that will help you move well now and for a long time?

I’m happy to say that I’ve shown you exactly how to do that in my new book, The Movement Manifesto: Three Simple Tenets To Live By To Feel Great, Move Well, And Unlock Your True Potential.



This short book was born out of the dream I had of what the world might be like if every person had a solid understanding of how to care for their body and keep it from feeling limited by pain and held back by unnecessary hurdles standing in their path.

I dreamt of a manual you could quickly reference to help guide you as you made your plan for caring for your body both now, and in the far-distant future. I imagined an easy-to-read book that would help a person move well, feel incredible, and do awesome things in their life.

And that book is here for you now. It’s a manual you can easily read through, grasp the concepts quickly, and take on the action items you need most.

I’m very proud to see this book existing in the world, and hope you enjoy it as much as the early reviewers have. To check out more about the book, click here

(photo credit)


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