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Focus, Entertain, or Both?




Focus, Entertain, or Both?
A Guest Post by Derek Sivers


You have a bigger audience than you had just a few years ago.

You have more people reading your updates, and wanting to hear something new.

Standing on this virtual stage, you want to be entertaining, post exciting updates, be impressive, and keep their attention. You’re so rewarded with status when you do.

But what happens when the thing you really need to do is boring to others?

The path to mastery requires months and years of practice that isn’t exciting to your audience.

Then you’ve got a conflict: What’s best for you is to shut up, sit down, and focus. What’s best for them (now) is for you to be entertaining.

You remind yourself that in the future, this will pay off. The things you’re creating and skills you’re developing will benefit everyone. But by being online, you’re still on stage. How can you not entertain?

Do you go full recluse, and completely disconnect?

Do you stay connected, but stop contributing?

Do you give up the deep work, and give in to the shallow rewards of just entertaining?

Or do you somehow keep up your obligations to entertain, while doing your “shut up, sit down, and focus” work on the side?



(No answers. Just questions, today. And yes, I’m talking to myself, but I think a lot of people are going through this, so I’m asking you, too.)




Originally a professional musician and circus clown, Derek Sivers created CD Baby in 1998.

It became the largest seller of independent music online, with $100M in sales for 150,000 musicians.

In 2008, Derek sold CD Baby for $22M, giving the proceeds to a charitable trust for music education.

He is a frequent speaker at the TED Conference, with over 5 million views of his talks.

In 2011, he published a book which shot to #1 on all of its Amazon categories.

Derek Sivers lives in Singapore, where he is creating his next company.


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