The Real Tragedy of M.

Jackson’s Death
By Robert Pagliarini – Columnist for CBS MoneyWatch

How many of your precious other 8 hours have you spent following the death of Michael Jackson in the past 12 days? Surely you've read a magazine or newspaper article about his life. Maybe you saw a special TV episode about his contribution to music or "experts" discuss how many facial surgeries he may have had. Or most recently, you may have discussed the saga over his children, Will, and debt with friends and co-workers. It has been difficult to escape the media's seemingly never ending "reporting" of all things Michael Jackson, but I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Your other 8 hours are a gift and a tool that can be used to help you learn a new skill, get closer to family, create something, achieve your goals, and start a side business. You need to protect them like your life depended on it, because it does. Most of us are sponges -- we suck up whatever is in front of us. If it's making the headlines it must be important. If it's on the cover of magazines it must be important. If people are talking about it around the water cooler, it must be important. The problem is that there seems to be an inverse relationship between importance and attention. The things that are truly banal get front page status and the things that are of great importance get buried somewhere on page 26. Don't blame the media. They don't purport to educate. Blame yourself. Stop being a sponge. Be selective about what you let in. Michael Jackson sung some truly great songs, and I'll admit I spent many hours in my youth trying to moonwalk, but stop wasting your life focusing on someone else's. The real tragedy is that you

invested your other 8 hours learning intimate details of Michael Jackson's life but could have used this time to better your own life. There's another M. Jackson we should celebrate. He wasn't the King of Pop but he did something honorable - Marlon P. Jackson served in the United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom. We don't need an autopsy or a toxicology report, because we know he was killed by a makeshift bomb in Iraq when he was only 25 years old. There are 5,013 others like Marlon P. Jackson. Bookmark Faces of the Fallen, and each day click on one face and read the life and death of our true national heroes. Headlines don't matter. Focus on what's important. (Michael Jackson image by nyki_m, CC 2.0)

For a limited time, you can download several free resources (assessment, poster, audio interview, video, and more) at and learn more about my new book, The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose.

Copyright © 2009 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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