As a progression from some of my last posts, I’d like to share some thoughts on the daily habits that turn ordinary people into super achievers.
Let’s review a regular morning of an ordinary working class person and analyze:
1. You’re supposed to be getting up at 6 am, but you hit the snooze button a few times, so you end up getting up at 7 am, so now all the little achievements you planned for the morning remain in wonderland. We have to catch some breakfast, shower, iron, get dressed and leave. While this might get you to think that you will actually be doing great in the military, you are actually setting yourself up for failure. How long have you been putting off that morning meditation + 15 minute yoga session, or that healthy breakfast, or the packing of food for lunch? As Robin Sharma teaches us, if you keep practicing putting off the important things in life, you get good at putting off the important things in life.
2. You somehow managed to do all the necessities in 30 minutes and you’re ready to leave. So you rush to your choice of transportation, and you end up driving quite nervously or if you’re in public transport, you fidget all the time, hoping that the doors will close faster on the next stop. So in this case you are spending a tremendous amount of energy worrying. You already know what happens when you practice worrying every morning! But more importantly this drains your fuel and stamina.
3. After successfully winning the battle with the traffic or running from the bus stop, you get to your work place and you are feeling a mixture of feelings of relief and worry: “I finally got here alive” + “Will someone notice I’m late again”. And by the time you get to your desk you have wasted so much energy in hurry and worry that most of your productive self is ready to rest. This makes the rest of the day a nightmare, because nothing you do is going alright.
Of course the above is an exaggeration, but I’m sure most of us can relate to parts of it.
The good thing is that we can change all of that, and in order to make the change happen, we don’t actually have to move the moon out of it’s orbit. Like Tony Robbins taught us “We’re usually just a few millimeters away from victory”. We don’t have to create all the good habits in one morning. Start small – begin by waking up 5 minutes earlier, and add 5 minutes to that each week. Before you know it (in about 3 months), you’ll be waking up as early as you wish, because you’ve created a habit for it. Than just imagine the possibilities. One golden advice here:
Don’t try to hit a home run on your first day in the field! While you might succeed, the chances are you won’t. It’s a very important life lesson and you can try to use it in every aspect of your life. Keep in mind that the great businessman, the great teachers, the great sports champions, the great artists didn’t get to greatness in one day. It took them years of practice and dedication and focus. Be like them, earn your greatness. Then the victory tastes that much sweeter!!!
One great article describes the power of doing the important things first thing in the morning, after you are fully awake. You have around 2 hours of super productivity ready for you on a daily basis, and during those hours you don’t really have to do anything to invoke your productive self. Unfortunately a lot of people use those hours for activities that require little to no cognitive power like social media or reading news, or gossip. And here again, keep in mind that those things are nothing but bad habits, that you formed during the years and you just didn’t realize what damage you are doing to yourself.
There is a reason why we tend to favor the things that are easier. It is because we can see the results of those actions in the almost immediate future. That’s why we scroll Facebook and Instagram like crazy. We’re looking for that next little piece of happiness, which these activities bring us. Our brain releases dopamine and we feel happy. And like any other mood altering substance we can also form an addiction to dopamine. And soon we need bigger and bigger doses just to keep us going until the next “fix”. Unfortunately that is a path that leads to a dead end and I’m sure that many who have tried or experienced it can reassure you on that. This addiction of ours makes us replace the things we want for our future selves with the things we want right now. We want our future self to have an amazing looking body, but we also want a few donuts and a large latte. The positive outcome of the sweets and coffee is something that is much closer in the future than our future self having a fit and healthy body. Therefore we tend to replace them.
So, with the knowledge you already have, start forming the necessary habits in order to replace the “degenerate junkie” habits. In a recent Robin Sharma video, he also discussed our dopamine addictions, but he mentions that you can also shift that in a positive way. Get your dopamine from accomplishing productive things! That’s all! Dopamine makes you happy, so it is definitely not a bad thing. The way you choose to use it defines its meaning for you!
The next thing that most life coaches and business leaders can teach you is to start getting up early. Read their autobiographies and you will find out that most of them had/have the habit of waking up at 5 am. It is a great time from many points of view: you’re starting your day early and even before the rest of the world wakes up you have already prepared yourself for the day. An extra hour or two a day, may not seem like a lot of time, but wait until you try it. You will have a lot of extra time for yourself and for the things that truly matter to you. Use it for those things that you always wanted to do. Do that meditation session. Go for that 30-minute run. Do that 15-minute yoga. Write one more chapter in your book. Take some time to think about a solution of some problem you have in your work or personal life. The possibilities are endless! And because you will have enough time to prepare, you will be a lot calmer and more focused during the rest of the day.
The next and last advice from me is something I’ve been having on my list of “daily habits I want to develop” in the past two years. What brought me to it was a documentary style short film about Japan and the Japanese car culture. A few guys form the USA were traveling around Japan and visiting their most popular car shops. The ones that grew to worldwide popularity for their unthinkable quality and craftsmanship. What the few guys from the USA weren’t prepared for was something that had nothing to do with cars.
After a few days of traveling around they began to see one thing that is deeply engraved in the culture of this mystical and awesome country and the people who live there. They wake up every day with an unstoppable drive to become a little bit better in what they do when they go to bed later that day, than the day before. That simple, but brilliant idea is the main theme that separates the great from the mediocre, the masters from the rest! You can also discover it in the daily routines and habits of most of the great people. Warren Buffett adopted that practice from an early age, and he admits that this is what got him the “good routes” for delivering newspapers when he and his family moved to Washington. Because he was very good at delivering newspapers and had an entrepreneurial mindset, he was able to raise nearly $100,000 which was the foundation for one of the greatest stories of wealth creation, multiplication and preservation.