What captures your attention?

A pretty face? A televised car chase? The smell of baking cookies wafting through the room?

It doesn’t take much.

And what holds your attention?

That’s not so easy, is it? It takes something that has a more direct impact on your life. Satellite images of a hurricane bearing down on your town, for example. Or watching your children play.

After all, a hurricane could hurt your family, your neighbors, and your friends. And you have an emotional investment in your children. Anything that involves them matters to you.

The things that capture our attention are often not enough to hold our attention. As a marketer, this is an important concept for you to understand.

Take the TV ads that run during the Super Bowl. They can make you look. But they won’t necessarily make you buy. We remember the ads, but we don’t always remember the products being pitched.

No purchases are guaranteed, yet companies take a gamble and spend millions on those ads. Why do they do it? In part because of the free media attention they are sure to attract. That attention makes future purchases possible. Without it, there is no hope. And they get that attention by making their ads interesting — not only interesting, but exciting and fun.

In many ways, attention drives our economy. And in this, the Attention Age, your sales message must first be interesting enough to warrant attention.

But to hold attention, it had better be something more. Not necessarily exciting and fun — but certainly immediate, compelling, useful, and relevant for your target audience.

In other words, it has to be about them. Not about you, your company, or your product.

If you can communicate your message in a way that makes a direct emotional connection with your prospective customers, you will get their attention — keep their attention — and succeed.

Consider Starbucks. They didn’t invent coffee. They made coffee culture “cool.”

Starbucks founder Howard Shultz doesn’t really care if we like the taste of his coffee. He wants us to enjoy the sights, the smells, the sounds, the ambiance, and the emotions that come with the Starbucks experience.

Shultz envisioned Starbucks as a “people place,” not as a coffee shop. It’s a place where “tall” means “small,” where “grande” means “medium,” and “venti” means “large.” There is something about the lexicon that makes us feel like we are members of a club. (With club locations seemingly on every street corner.)

It’s a paradox: An “exclusive” club where everyone is welcome.

Starbucks captures our attention and holds it. Customers may learn to like — even love — the coffee. But they come back to Starbucks for the culture. It’s an Attention Age success story.

Apple is another attention-getter with a passionate following. Think about it: Have you ever been around an Apple enthusiast for five minutes without hearing them mention that they are, indeed, an Apple enthusiast?

Apple has what I call the “T-shirt factor.” People are such fans of the company and its products that they want to put the Apple logo on their T-shirts, their computers, their cars… you name it. The brand evokes loyalty because Apple makes their consumers feel like part of a winning team.

The most successful companies, like Starbucks and Apple, develop an innovative culture that serves as the basis for an emotional connection with consumers. As a result, the company, its products, and its people become an attention conduit for its sales message.

You can do it, too. The question is: If 100,000 potential customers were brought to the “doorstep” of your website right now — how would you capture and hold their attention?

P.S. You can develop your own Starbucks experience with your online business and replicate the passion of Apple’s fan base. It’s just one of the strategies you’ll learn at this year’s Info-Marketing Bootcamp. I’d like to invite to join me — and a dozen other top Internet marketing experts — as we reveal the keys to online success. Find out how we are thriving… while other ventures are floundering.

No matter how high you boost your income, you won’t get rich unless you spend less than you make. For it is the money we save, not the money we make, that determines our wealth.

Mike Tyson is a great example. He must have earned several hundred million dollars during his career. But by the end of it, he was deeply in debt. He was so far in debt, in fact, he had to make a deal with his new “handlers” that turned him into an indentured servant — performing like a puppet to earn back some of what he owed.

But it’s not just Tyson and his ilk that have trouble saving money. For many (if not most) high-income earners, the desire to spend is always two steps ahead of the ability to earn. If you fall into that trap, you will have the accoutrements of wealth but never its most valuable benefits: financial peace of mind and the freedom to stop working.

Today, I want to give you one powerful trick that will give you a wealth builder’s mind-set. (It may very well transform the moneymaking side of your personality entirely.)

* First, take out a sheet of paper and tally up the value of everything you have and everything you owe. Highlight your net worth. Keep that in mind.

* Now make yourself a promise that you will increase your net worth every month.

That is a very simple promise, but it is one that few people ever make. They may promise themselves that they’ll earn more money. But as I said, that is not nearly as important as having more money.

* Recalculate your net worth on a monthly basis. Again, few people do this. They may do it once a year, but once a year is not enough.

Before I developed this little system, I had been increasing my income by 20 percent to 100 percent for several years. But at the end of each year, I was shocked to find that my net worth hadn’t grown at all. I had all sorts of “toys” in my house and garage. But they were depreciating assets. They were helping me get poorer, not richer. I was making bad spending decisions.

When I switched to calculating my net worth every month, my spending decisions changed almost immediately. I became much more conservative about investing in stocks, for example. And I began refusing to go into little businesses that I knew had very little chance of success.

I also lost my appetite for expensive toys. I started selling all those fancy cars I didn’t have time to drive. And I quashed the idea of buying a boat.

At the end of the very first month, I was several thousand dollars richer than I was the month before. At the end of the first year, my net worth was higher by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And it’s been getting higher and higher ever since.

Counting your money may seem to be an unseemly activity. You probably don’t want to tell people you are doing it. But it will remind you of the progress you’re making — and that will give you the determination to continue.

Ultimately, it will make spending less than you earn, and, thus, wealth building, automatic. And that means your future security will be guaranteed.

Total Health Breakthrough’s Editor Melanie Segala blasted cardio exercise — especially long-distance running — in her latest “Undercover.” She advocates Dr. Al Sears’s PACE program, instead, as a way to lose weight and feel great — without endless workouts that punish your body.

Some readers, especially dedicated marathon runners, were upset. They accused her of bias — even outright lying about the dangers of cardio.

It’s understandable.

What Dr. Sears is saying is that all those hours of cardio they are doing is making them less healthy and more susceptible to heart attack.

And I’m convinced Dr. Sears is right about this. I’ve been in the health publishing business for more than 20 years, and I’ve never met a doctor who is as serious about his research as Dr. Sears. Plus, it makes sense to me that cardio is bad for you. It feels bad. And people who do long-distance and/or long-duration exercise tend to have that fat/skinny look — light bodyweight but very little muscle.

It’s a fact that long-distance runners have a higher chance of dying from heart attacks than sedentary people. And there are countless surveys that demonstrate the superiority of interval training over endurance.

PACE is a big step up from interval training. It’s an amazingly effective way to lose fat, build muscles, and — most important — strengthen your heart and lungs.

Since I began the PACE program, I have lost about 20 pounds of fat and have the strength and stamina of the 20-year-olds I wrestle with. More important — I’ve had my lungs tested recently. And they are getting “younger.” I have the lungs, according to the test results, of a 24-year-old.

But don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself.

The more time you put into anything, the faster success will come to you. That’s one of the reasons I believe — as Ben Franklin did — that the most important thing you can do to advance your career is get to work early each morning. The extra time gives you a tremendous advantage over everyone you compete against. Plus, disciplining yourself to do something most people are not willing to do will pay off in just about every area of your life.

Be at your desk tomorrow morning an hour earlier than everyone else — and everything else will follow: the brilliant moneymaking ideas, the careful planning, the diligent follow-through, and the attention to detail.

Start with the easiest thing. Set your alarm. Drag yourself out of bed. Take a shower. Roll into the office. Have a cup of coffee. And start working. I promise that you’ll have an immediate and definite sense that you are on your way.

Established in 2001, Early to Rise publishes information dedicated to helping you live your best possible life. Here you’ll find effective and proven strategies to increase your health, wealth and productivity.