If you believe in the so-called Law of Attraction, then you believe that you attract whatever your dominant thoughts are. This is difficult since we don’t consciously know our dominant thoughts. They happen below the level of conscious thought.
The first step in attracting the desired things, people, and events in our lives is taking inventory of invisible scripts. Things like: “I’m not worthy of…,” “I’m not very good at…” and turning them into scripts that serve you, like: “I deserve to be happy,” and “I learn quickly.”
Changing our dialogue is difficult when our energy is focused on what’s wrong. Life improves when we focus on, believe in, and conjure up the way we want to “feel” when the improvement is made. The same law works against us when we focus on and feel the thing(s) we’re unhappy about.
Once you know the fundamentals of a sport or craft, you’ll need competitive partners in 3 categories: those that are better than you, those that challenge you, and those you’re better than.
You’ll be forced to up your game and constantly strive by training with better people than you. You’ll reinforce your skill set by challenging yourself with those at your level. And you’ll be able to teach those you’re better than. And teaching reinforces your learning more than anything else.
Sometimes needing a vacation means freedom from our daily habits and responsibilities. This happens more reliably when we change our location and environment. It’s also possible to recharge by taking short daily breaks to connect with friends, watch comedy, or dedicate “me time.” Essentially, do some things that are want-to’s and not have-to’s.
I love to travel and will always want to do that. But my ultimate goal is to architect a life from which I don’t feel a need to escape or go on vacation.
This year I will improve the quality of my life by:
- Starting to, or continuing to do more of…
- Stopping, or doing less of…
- Spending 5 minutes each month/quarter assessing how I’ve done
I’m a big fan of simple mental models or thought experiments in the form of a question that immediately put things in perspective. Here’s one with many alternates that can serve to put you on the right path:
“Is what I’m about to do going to move me closer or further away from what’s important?”
Modify any of the words to get to the same version of the question. For example, “Is what I’m about to decide going to move for closer or further away from the person I aspire to be?”
One useful way to prompt intrinsic motivation is to think like an athlete. Set aside time for focused, deep work, either creating something valuable or “sharpening the saw “so that we are better creators.
At the highest level of athletics, professionals train hard in “sprints”, then rest, then reassess based on their performance on the battlefield. In our business lives, we tend to just plug away as though 10 hours of “work” is equal to 10 hours of output or value.
For many of us who are used to trading our time for money, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like our time is intrinsically valuable, but it’s only as valuable as what it enables you to create, become, or deliver on the battlefield.
We don’t judge the quality of a book by the number of hours it took the author to write it. When a friend recommends a great movie we don’t ask what the film’s budget was.
When we hire companies to do landscaping or cater a party, we don’t interrogate them about the tools they use. And we don’t evaluate their work product by asking how many years they’ve been in business. We care about and discuss the thing that matters: the outcome.
When hiring someone to do anything, you get the best result when you review their work and have a human conversation that maps their interests and past performance to the outcomes you desire. Hiring a graphic artist? Don’t ask what software they prefer or how many years they’ve done work. Discuss and review their most comparable work product to the one you seek.
Remember when you first learned about compound interest? It wasn’t intuitive that starting with a penny on day one and doubling it each day for 30 days would net so much money. Investing time and attention works in a similar way, compounding, even if it’s not exponential.
One powerful lesson from any investment that repeats and compounds is that real progress or growth isn’t immediately obvious. Knowing this allows you to adjust your expectations and stay in the game.
Citing the above penny-doubling experiment, after 10 days (1/3 of the way!) you only have $10.24. What do you have on day 30? $5.4 million.
It’s obvious to me that any long-term physical or emotional pain I’ve endured was caused by my own unwillingness to endure short-term inconvenience or discomfort.
Discomfort could manifest in obvious ways like sacrificing long-term health through a lack of proper fitness, neglecting nutrition; or less obvious ways like avoiding uncomfortable but necessary conversations.
Being negligent and making excuses for what you know you should do today just make tomorrow more difficult. The opposite is also true. Slight inconvenience today, more gratifying tomorrow.
I read about a study at Google showing that office snacks in a shared work area saw a 40% decrease in the amount taken when jars had lids on them. That means that the extra “work” of taking the lid off a jar made those M&Ms 40% less desirable.
We can laugh at the ridiculousness of these psychological and cognitive tendencies, and we can put that knowledge to good use. When I learned this, I immediately made the rule that no junk food is allowed in my house. That doesn’t mean I never eat it, it just means I have to want it that much more because the “lid on the jar” involves the hassle of going somewhere to get my fix. This happens far less.
Interesting facts like this might make you a hit playing Trivial Pursuit. But I prefer to make them actionable by asking: how can I use this?