Rakesh Wadhwa:

You are an entrepreneur, investor, teaches and author. In my experience, most people find it difficult to be good at one thing, but you good at everything. So what is your writing success?


Nir Eyal:

Well, I appreciate the compliment. I don't write books when I have the answer. I write books when I'm looking for the answer. So with both my books, I was looking for how to build habit. I couldn't find the book to tell me how to do that.  When I was looking for how to become indistractible, I couldn't find a book to help me do that. I read every book on the topic, including David Allen's book, and I didn't find what I was looking for. I didn't find the technique that really worked for me. And so that's why I wrote these books. I write to learn not to, to teach necessarily. If other people enjoy it then. Wonderful. That's great.

But really I write for myself first and foremost, and this hasn’t been an easy journey for me. I don't have a lot of self control. I don't have a lot of willpower. As I mentioned, I used to be clinically obese.  What I discovered is, and in interviewing hundreds of people, both people who are easily distracted and people who are indistractible, is that the people who are indistractible, they don't have a lot of self control. They don't have a lot of self discipline. What they have is a system. They have a practice in place, which makes sure that when the distraction rears its ugly head, they are prepared. And so when they plan ahead, They don't have to expend a lot of willpower. You see if there's one mantra I want you to remember from my book it's that the antidote to impulsiveness is forethought. The answer to the question to Plato's 2,500 year old question of why do we do things against better interest is It's all about impulse control. It's not a moral failing. It's not a character flaw. It's an impulse control problem. And so the good news is that our species, you see mankind has this amazing evolutionary trait, which is that we can see the future. With higher fidelity than anything. The other animal on the face of the earth, we can see what is going to happen, what is likely to happen better than any other animal. And so what that means, therefore, is that to plan ahead, because if you wait till the last moment, if you wait until the chocolate cake is on the fork on its way to your mouth, You're going to eat it. If you wait until the cigarette is lit in your hand, you're going to smoke it. If you sleep next to your cell phone on your nightstand every night, it's going to be the first thing you pick up in the morning, because you've already lost. It's too late. You have to make plans today to prevent getting distracted tomorrow, which is why you need a system. And that system affects. Every aspect of your life. And so to answer your question today I'm 42 years old. I've never been in better shape than I am today. When I was a teenager, I wasn't as physically fit as I am today.  I get more work done. I'm more professionally productive than I've ever been before.

I have a better relationship with my wife than ever before, because I'm fully present with her. Becoming in distractible is the macro skill. It's the skill of the century. And there is no area of your life that's not affected by your ability to sustain attention.