How to Have a Successful Career by Paying Attention

Pay attention

Think back to a time when someone asked you to pay attention. Maybe it was a teacher or a family member.

You may not know it, but the phrase “pay attention” is actually one of the most important lessons you can ever learn.

Allow me to explain.

Let’s talk about opportunity

Let me ask you a question. Do you know someone that always seems to be in the right place at the right time? He or she seems to always catch a break.

You might think they’re lucky. But the reality is, while luck can play a small role, something else entirely is affecting this.

Here’s an example to illustrate what I mean:

Let’s say a friend asked you to go to a business-networking event. Instead of jumping at the chance to go, you think of every excuse in the book not to go. Ultimately, you stay home.

The next day your friend sends you a text, “You should’ve went! I met Richard Branson and we chatted about business for 10 minutes!” Now you’re filled with regret. You could’ve been there.

You see, you had an opportunity right front of you. But instead of taking advantage of it, you chose to ignore it.

Of course you didn’t know Richard Branson was there, or else you would’ve went.

The point is, opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. And most of the time they’re small everyday occurrences that don’t look like they would move the needle of success.

Remember this: small things lead to big things.

Applying this concept to your career

By now you get it.

You understand the importance of paying attention. And you know the connection it has with opportunity.

Now how does this help you lead a more successful career? It’s more straightforward than you think.

Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, opportunities to impact your career are endless. In fact, I’d argue that you encounter dozens of opportunities a day if not more.

The key is to pay attention. And instead of thinking about how not to do something, think about what it can potentially do for your career. Nail this mindset and nothing that can hold you back.

I know this from experience.


The late Steve Jobs didn’t become one of the most influential technology minds of our time in his early days.

Richard Branson didn’t become one of the world’s most successful businessmen from day one.

Every successful person started small. And over time, gradually picked up momentum.

So I say to you: pay attention, get the ball rolling, build momentum, and seize opportunities.

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About Jeremy Brown

Jeremy Brown is the Founder of StartupMoxie, the insider email newsletter that sends recommended startup resources to entrepreneurs; and Startups Give Back, the philanthropy movement where startups work together to make a difference in the community.

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