Bring on the brilliance: How to thrive in the age of overload

Terence MauriTechnology has brought amazing possibilities, but also damaging fragmentation, overload and distraction. Attention spans are under attack.

According to a recent global survey by LinkedIn, a whopping 89% of people say they don’t achieve their daily goals and multi-tasking eats 40% of your day. The Japanese have a saying for this – Karoshi – that literally means ‘death from overwork’. This is a fate we should avoid at all costs.

Here are three shortcuts to thrive in the age of overload:

1. Focus like an F1 driver

Formula 1 is the most fascinating laboratory for leaders who want to thrive under pressure. On the face of it, F1 champions such as Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel might have nothing in common with entrepreneurs, other than the fact that they do their jobs sitting down. But in reality, their lives are very similar. Thriving under pressure, constant travelling, lack of exercise and sleep, and dealing with uncertainty can easily overwhelm the brain’s cognitive limits unless you put well-being at the core of everything you do.

What can you learn from an F1 driver? High-speed decision-making, fighting complexity with simplicity and investing time to recharge are simple rules that anyone can adopt to focus better.

2. Have a ‘no’ strategy

What’s your ‘no’ strategy? The word ‘urgent’ is one of the most overused words in the age of overload. It forces you to react rather than think. The fact is that everyone will always want you to prioritise his or her needs before yours. You lose control of your day and your agenda, making it impossible to fulfil your own priorities. If being productive sometimes means being selfish, so be it. Effective people protect their time and know the difference between busy work and their best work. Having a ‘no’ strategy helps cut through the noise and focus on what really matters.

3. Walk your ‘why’

Think of someone you admire. They could be living or dead. Chances are they know their ‘why’ – their reason for being – and match it with discipline, speed and courage. First, clarify your purpose and don’t just focus on career; focus on a legacy. Second, simplify everything – that means deleting, replacing and updating all your processes in order to be nimble and fast. Third, multiply your imagination by a factor of 10; whether it’s thinking big on vision or increasing your team’s success tenfold. Walking your ‘why’ means turning talk into action – it’s the golden thread that links all great entrepreneurs from Jeff Bezos at Amazon to Jack Ma at Alibaba.


How often do you get to be the best version of yourself? In the age of overload, it’s never been easier to lose focus and drown in the tsunami of distractions. Are you ready to survive or thrive?

Terence Mauri is a global speaker and author, and has been recognised by Thinkers50 as one of the top 30 new leadership thinkers to watch in 2019

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