The Old Money Attitude: Focus

“I really don’t have distractions. I stay focused on what I’m thinking about–is it constructive, positive, and lined up with what I want to accomplish–and what I’m doing. If I find myself off track from those two, I correct immediately.

“People I know have told me I talk to myself. Well, that’s what I’m telling myself. ‘Get back to it, man. Stay on track. Let’s go.’

“The things I don’t care about are what other people are thinking (who knows if they even are), gossip in any form, or doomsday talk. Sorry, if you’re talking to me about him, you’ll talk to her about me. I don’t trust gossips. Sure, markets could collapse tomorrow, war could start. I’ve done all I can do to prepare. So I sleep at night and don’t listen to it during the day.

“I care what my wife thinks. I spend time with my friends. I’m straight in business. I’m polite to strangers as much as possible. Everybody else can go hang.”

MMC (Connecticut)

  • BGT

12 thoughts on “The Old Money Attitude: Focus

  1. This is the person I want to be, so much. I don’t believe I can though, because I am so influenced by my environment and people around me. I want to make others comfortable and am always in tune with the feelings of those around me. Is this a female trait? What I am doing is very often put aside to listen to and do what others need. My focus is almost never on myself, and these statements make me realize my lack of success is due to this, but I do not know how to change it.

    1. There are takers, and there are givers. The takers seem to be able to home in on the givers. It’s as if they have some internal radar. I have dealt with this in the past. People have ‘gotten in my face’ at work because I refused to sit there, compromise my work and my job, to listen to their woes. It will never end until you make it end, Elle.
      You do not have to be mean to stand up for yourself. Unfortunately, no matter how polite you are when you say no, the takers will always be offended. When my sister went through cancer, one ‘friend’ in particular kept expecting my sister to constantly listen to her problems even when she was trying to rest and recuperate from the treatments she was receiving. When my sister told her she could no longer do that, the woman dropped her as a friend. That woman could have been there for my sister but only wanted my sister to be there for her no matter what my sister was going through. That woman was a parasite, Elle. You can get rid of your parasites too, Elle.
      Do not apologize, just politely say, ‘I can’t.’ ‘I’m not available.’ ‘I need to leave.’. Then, turn and walk away. You do not need to justify yourself, your time, where you spend your money… NOTHING to anyone for any reason.
      You will never have what you need until you put yourself first. It’s ok to put yourself first. All of those other people are having their needs fulfilled. Do you think they feel guilty for using up your time, energy, and resources? NO!

    2. “Be noble minded! Our own heart, and not other men’s opinions of us, forms our true honor.”
      Friedrich Schiller

    3. Hi Elle, I think women are prone to this, but not exclusively. My only advice would be to find a small moment in which you were unhappy with your own behavior and say to yourself, Okay, I’m going to make not do that again, or, I’m going to make a different choice with that person or in that situation. Then be aware of it, watch out for it, and when it comes up again, do your best to stand up for yourself (politely, if possible) or prioritize yourself, however you want to phrase it.

      Another approach might be to make a list of what’s important to you to get done on a particular day. Start to work on that list before anyone else has a chance to sidetrack you. And get your stuff done, your needs met, before any distractions come up. First things first, you might say. A response to a needy person might be, “I’m happy to help you with that. Just let me finish what I’m going here first.”

      And don’t think of it in terms of ‘success/failure’. Think of it in terms of personal evolution. Hope that helps. And maybe some of our other readers have advice and/or experience. Thanks, Melissa, for sharing yours. – BGT

  2. A new resolution I have for myself is to stay focused on my work to do a good job. If negativity and gossip comes my way I will let it roll of my back like water beads on a duck. Just walk away if necessary, it isn’t rude if you chose not to participate in rudeness. I don’t have time and mental energy to get scooped up in their negativity. I’m also not buying ______ because _________(fill in your hated president of choice here) is messing up the country. I’m tired. I’m getting focused.

    1. Thank you, Dario. This is what I meant 😉
      Jay-Z’s advice to “brush that dirt off your shoulder” is so relevant.

    2. Great resolution, Dario. While I’m not in the states right now, I’ve heard similar sentiments from ‘news-weary’ friends who are trying to fend off the anger, division, etc. Hope everyone is well. – BGT

  3. “The things I don’t care about are what other people are thinking”

    The gentleman from Connecticut is right that other people’s opinion is often irrelevant. Often, but not always. Positive and negative critique can be useful, even when the opposite is true. The former makes one aware of a possible mistake, while the latter may confirm that one is on track.

    According to Plutarch, when general Phocion was applauded by the Athenian public, he turned to his friends and asked: “Have I inadvertently said something wrong?” And as Whit Stillman once said, “I find it remarkable that people hate my work”.

    Only listening to what one wants to hear is one-dimensional. It’s the curse of the middle-class: doing the same thing, listening to the same things, and being with the same people all the time.

    1. Very true, JL. It’s difficult to improve if one isn’t open to feedback. I think the balance is feedback vs. peer pressure. Loved the story: who turns from applause and asks if they’ve done something wrong? Thanks. – BGT

  4. I have read the above comments a few times now. The most interesting and rewarding times I have ever had during my working life were when my boss at the time asked for my opinion, and I asked for his. We were open and respectful. He still phones me on the quiet to air his thoughts and seek my opinion. Most satisfying is to see one’s opinion, sometimes subtlety, appearing in a document or policy and being able to quietly think – ‘ I know where that came from ‘.

    Opinions do matter, as do the time and patience taken to listen to the opinions of others.

    1. Good for you, David. That has to be very satisfying. And it is difficult if not impossible to formulate solid opinions without listening. Thank you for sharing. – BGT

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