The Most Important Skill for 2014…and Beyond

The scarce resource for most people used to be money.

But when we came back to the U.S. four years ago, we noticed something. Money was still important, of course, and lots of people would say they needed more. But in reality, there was a resource much more scarce—time.


We were surprised at how busy people were, how intentions to get together took a long time to fulfill, if ever. (Read my piece “The Friendship Crisis” for more on that.)

Now, though, I think neither money nor time is the scarce resource.

Today, the scarce resource is attention. (Click to tweet this.)

  • We are overwhelmed with information because of Google.
  • We are overwhelmed with relationships because of Facebook.
  • We are overwhelmed with interruptions because of our phones.
  • We are overwhelmed with videos because of YouTube.
  • We are overwhelmed with music because of iTunes.
  • We are overwhelmed with TV because of Netflix.
  • We are overwhelmed with options because of Amazon.

In 2014, in our hyper-overwhelmed, affluent, media-saturated culture, the scarce resource is attention. (Click to tweet this.) So we need to learn a new skill…

The most important skill for 2014 is deciding what you will pay attention to.

We each need to make thousands of choices every day of the next year.

What will you read? Watch? Do? Buy? Think? Plan?

Who will you spend time with? Teach? Follow?

Where will you live? Work? Shop? Worship? Travel?

What will you pay attention to in the next year? (Click to tweet this.)

That’s is what all New Year’s resolutions boil down to anyway, right? You will pay close attention to some area of your life, something you want to be different.

But this doesn’t just happen today or on January 1st.

We do this every day of every year, whether we think about it or not.

And the scary part is that most of us act as if we don’t have a choice.

In our book, I quote Napoleon:

“Nothing is more difficult and therefore more precious than the ability to decide.”

What will you decide to pay attention to in 2014? Please post a word or two as your comment below.

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  • Britany

    I’m a Social Media Editor for a small company that works with startups, so it’s my job to be constantly engaged with social media. The information overload is exhausting. There are times when I have 10 windows open at a time and I’m switching between them before fulfilling tasks in the one I’m already on. I’d like to start paying more attention to creating quality content through social media and aiming to tell stories, engage readers, and offer useful information. This takes more focus, and less jumping around. I will focus less on quality and more on quantity, and stop trying to multitask so much.

    I will also pay more attention to shutting down my computer and getting outside, because everyone should do more of that these days.

  • Meredith B.

    The Lord who gives wisdom generously and without reproach (James 1) is who I will strive to pay attention to.

  • Pierre Queripel

    More books, as opposed to blogs (yours excluded!). More books that will outlive us.

  • acjeske

    Oh, Pierre–that’s a great line: “books that will outlive us.” Thank you!

  • Carlos Miller Jr.

    Excellent blog post and something to ponder. Tim Challies brought me here!

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  • Clay

    Adam – I saw a post you made about male friendships via twitter almost a couple of weeks ago and I was intrigued. Relationships are key – my family and my friends the few (male) I really have… I need to nurture these and grow them and perhaps balance will occur – right one I feel out of balance because my time is in short supply. But really how I choose to use it. Thanks – I look forward to following along.

    • acjeske

      Good stuff, Clay. Keep me posted on how this goes.

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