Accidental Genius: Focus Changers

I’m still reading through Accidental Genius by Mark Levy, I’ll be completing some of the “Try This” sections from the book and competing them here.  Accidental Genius is about Mark Levy’s technique he calls freewriting which is similar to stream of conscious writing.  In these blog posts, I’ll be showing a cleaned up version of free writing to try to make it readable.

A few days ago, I tried Chapter Six, Redirect Your Attention.  At the end of the chapter, it suggests writing down three focus changers to keep next to you will freewriting to use when you hit a wall.  I choose the following:

  1. How can I make this exciting?
  2. What’s the worst-case scenario?
  3. What data do I need that I don’t have yet?
  4. How would I describe the situation to the CEO?

First off, I should describe what is a focus changer.  A focus changer is what Mark Levy uses whenever he gets stuck.  They help him to change directions and look at the same topic in a different view.  In the book Mark lists about fifty possible focus changers.  Here was the, “Try this,” I completed.


Reread a piece of writing, and note where a focus changing question would have led you in a different direction. Complete 10 minutes of freewriting.  Use a different focus changer if you run out of ideas before 10 minutes is up.

The focus changer I used was, “How can I make this more exciting?”  I’m going to use this focus changer on a blog post I completed last week titled, “I Love Audible.”

How can I make a story about the Audible app more exciting?  I’m not a hundred percent sure where I would try a focus changer in this blog post but it would probably be in the opening because it doesn’t grab the audience’s attention.  How could I make the story about wanting more readily available audiobooks more exciting.  I could talk about who inspired me to start repeated, semi-passive audiobook listening, Seth Godin. What I’ve listened to, what I’ve learned, what I hope to learn, and why I believe it’s beneficial?  Semi-passive audiobook listening is the goal of listening to an audiobook while completing another task like driving, walking to work, or at work.  Semi-passive audiobook listening wouldn’t normally sound like a good thing.  You’d probably think about not paying attention or been distracted, and you’d be right.  Semi-passive audiobook listening is not about listening to something once and instantly picking it up.  It’s about repeating the process.  Seth Godin talks often about Zig Ziglar saving his career by listening to Zig’s tapes over 30 times. I repeated, semi-passive audiobook listening with a few books and my collection is continually increasing.


My ten minutes of freewriting is up but I wanted to complete one more point.

Each time I listen I pick up on something new or a new point is reinforced.  Audiobooks invigorating and set my mind on the right path to start the day or reset my attitude after difficult day at work.