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Expert Feature: How to Guard the Most Vulnerable Area in Your Life and Business

paying attention to your life or business

The Surprising Reason the City of Quebec Was Lost to the English

I want to start by telling you an interesting story that I came across about how the Canadian city of Quebec was taken from the French by the English. It’s a story that a guy named Joseph Harris once shared.

And you’ll want to pay attention, because within this story is the surprising reason for most of our greatest defeats in life.

Now listen to what Harris shared…

“Some day you may visit the interesting and historic French-Canadian city of Quebec. There you will see the Plains of Abraham, where the English forces of General Wolfe won Quebec from the French.

“When you see the steep ascent that Wolf’s men had to make up the face of the great rocky cliffs, you will be amazed that they succeeded. Mere boys should have been able to hold off a force of soldiers from scaling such cliffs and gaining the heights. Yet Wolfe and his men made the ascent and gained the citadel.

“Why? Because the overconfident defenders became careless and pleasure-loving; and one night, when they were off guard, the enemy saw his opportunity, scaled the heights, and took the city. Quebec fell because its defenders failed to keep watch.

What I want you to realize is this…

Our greatest loses in life will probably NOT happen because we couldn’t defend ourselves or we were overcome by some opposing force.

It will be because we weren’t alert and ready.

Paying Attention to Not Paying Attention

Some years back, I saw an article online called Paying Attention to Not Paying Attention by Malcolm Ritter who is an Associated Press reporter.

The article is all about our ability in life to do things while not fully paying attention.

In the article, it talked about Michael Kane, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kane sampled the thoughts of students at eight random times a day for a week.

Professor Kane found out that on average, most people aren’t thinking about they we’re doing 30 percent of the time.

But get this. For some students, it was between 80 and 90 percent of the time!

And out of the 126 participants, only ONE denied any mind-wandering at the sampled moments. Other experts have said that in general, people are on “auto-pilot” an average rate of 30 percent to 40 percent in everyday life.

Think about that.

That means for the 16 hours or so that most of us are awake, 5 to 6 ½ hours of that time we’re not paying attention to what we’re doing!

So many people are on auto-pilot for so much of their lives. They’re floating down the path of life and not really paying attention to where they’re going and what they’re doing.

They might have a destination (something they’d like to be) or maybe they have an accomplishment (an idea of something they’d like to do).

That’s great, but they have no map, no clue which way to go, and don’t even know where they are on the map.

They’re on auto-pilot just hoping, wishing things turn out ok.

They’re distracted when they should be paying attention!

You’ll never end up where you want you to be on auto-pilot, just wishing for the best. Your business will never become what you want it to be without you giving it your full attention.

You’ll only end up in a endless cycle or at a dead end in life.

Three Ways to Pay More Attention in Your Life or Business

That means you must start paying thoughtful attention to your life and business.

The only way to stop being distracted is to purposely stop and take time to take an account of your life and your business.

You obviously can’t do do this continually, but you can do it strategically. 

Here are three of the best times to strategically stop and pay attention:

1. Once a day

The two best options are at the beginning of your day or at the end of your day.

2. Once a week

Again, your two best options are at the beginning of your week or the end of your week. 

3, Once a month

A great time to do this is at the end of the month, so you can readjust your direction or activities as you enter into the new month.

You not only cannot continually pay attention, but you also can’t pay attention to everything. 

That means the question is: What are some things you should pay attention to?

Here are some ideas to help you.

5 Things to Pay Attention to in Your Life

You’ll need to come up with the things that are important for you to personally pay attention to, but this short list will get your creative juices started:

1. Your time

2. Your health

3. Your finances

4. Your relationships

5. Your talents

5 Things to Pay Attention to in Your Business

You’ll, again, need to come up with the things that are important for you to pay attention to about your specific business, but this short list will get your creative juices started:

1. Your time

2. Your cash flow

3. Your customers

4. Your employees

5, Your opportunities 


The Most Important Area of Your Life and Business to Pay Attention To

Back in the 1800’s, a man named Robert A. Watson gave this powerful insight into the most important areas of our lives to pay attention to. He said…

“Men may be on their guard against their infirmities, but unwary where they deem themselves strong.

“And just as every reader of history is familiar with stories which tell how fortresses and castles were taken by the enemy, NOT on their weak and well-guarded side, but on the side where they were deemed impregnable, and where watching was thought useless, so has it been a thousand times in the history of the human mind and life.”

This means that the most important area to pay attention to is in the area you or your business is STRONGEST.

It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Why?

Because this is the area most will overlook and it’ll be the place you’re most vulnerable, because it’s the most unguarded and most ignored area of your life.

Most people are just cruising through life on auto-pilot. And, for some reason, they end up being shocked when they don’t end up where they hoped.


Stop being like most people.

Pay thoughtful attention to your life and business.

And keep a special eye on your areas of strength.

That is the only way your’ll avoid some of the greatest loses… or at least be more prepared for them.

That way you can bounce back faster or pivot more quickly to turn a loss into a victory.


P.S. If you didn’t see it already, I wrote a completely different view of living your life on auto-pilot in the post below.

P.P.S. My The 3 Keys to Increased Focus, Efficiency, and Creativity video recording (screen capture) teaches you how to find “hidden time” in your life. You can use this time to not only pay attention, but to also to find time to be more creative, seize opportunities, and more. You can get this resource for FREE ($56 value) when you purchase my book 51 Content Marketing Hacks (only $9.99).


Photo by Yashna M

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About Scott Aughtmon (1864 Articles)
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. ===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.