The Secret to Success in Only Five Words

One day, I was glancing at the Wall Street Journal, when 5 words grabbed my attention. “The survival of the focused.”

I forget what the article was about. But I knew those five words carried a powerful message. A message High Earners live by. But one Underearners have failed to grasp.

Without focus, it’s easy to get sidetracked by multiple distractions fighting for your attention. But with focus, conflicting objectives cease to control you, making it easier (and less stressful) to take decisive action without second guessing.

What’s the trick to getting focused? Getting crystal clear on your priorities, what’s really important to you.   All else goes on the back burner.

Sadly, most of us don’t know what our true priorities are. We carry around lengthy to-do lists, then berate ourselves unmercifully when we don’t cross everything off—a sure-fire recipe for failure.

What if, instead, you narrow down everything on your list, all those items you simply must do, to 5 items—the 5 tasks that are really truly essential, that reflect your most cherished values, what’s most important to reaching your goals.

Those 5 are your priorities. They take precedence when scheduling your time. If it’s not a priority, it’s a distraction. Each time you cross one task off, you can add another. [b s1]

Does watering your plants or cleaning the kitchen carry the same weight as working out at the gym or playing with the kids?

There’s no one right answer—only the most truthful one.

Do you think about your priorities, or do you just go through your day on autopilot? How might things change if you did start to really consider what is most important? Leave me a comment below.

Comments & Feedback

  • Katherine Boutry

    This was exactly what I needed to hear today, Barbara! Thank you. Just starting a daunting project and it’s too easy to get sidetracked rather than face the anxiety of starting something new. But this is inspiring me to focus because it’s a priority.

    • barbara huson

      I’m so delighted, Katherine, that you found this helpful. Wishing you great success on your new “daunting” project. I’d love to hear more about it.

  • Lisa

    I think about my priorities at the beginning of every year very seriously. This month I focused on contributing to my retirement fund. I did it! I knocked it out of the park!!! Now I’ve taken 10 days off work to focus on some of emotional, leisure and home priorities 💃👙👩‍❤️‍👨🍸🤸🚴🏊🛥️⚓️🧹

    • barbara huson

      Congratulations, Lisa, for knocking it out of the part with your retirement and taking time off to focus on priorities. You sound like a really smart woman. I’m so glad you shared this with me!!! Great job.

      • Lisa

        Thanks, Barbara!

        My 30’s was NOT the smartest decade for me and quite painful at times, but I wouldn’t change it, because I learned soooo much from it.

  • Susan Coleman

    Thank you Barbara! I always love your posts and the headlines of them. Right on!! With the climate change crisis upon us the way it is and the parallel issues of democracy and growing income inequality, I decided a while back that I am looking 50 years out in everything that I do. I’m not going to be around in 50 years, but my beautiful children — and many of our beautiful children — will be. It has helped me get crystal clear about my best use of self every day. Hope you are well. Sending you love and best, Susan

    • barbara huson

      I always love hearing from you, Susan. And what you wrote really moved me…what a beautiful perspective. You’re an inspiration to me…and to many. Sending big hugs!

  • Kate Frances

    ‘If it’s not a priority it’s a distraction’ – so true.
    I’m putting this on a sticky note on my screen!

    • barbara huson

      I agree…that’s a great line. Thanks for pointing that out. I’m going to put it on a sticky note too! I need to be reminded of that too.

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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