Success 103: Get To Changing

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Success 102: How To Start Your Own Success

Set proper goals

  • Effective goal-setting is necessary for everything success-related, and is always SMART:
    • Specific – a very specific thing, the more specific the better
    • Measurable – can be counted somehow and progress can be tracked
    • Attainable – possible to do within your time frame
    • Realistic – if your goals are too big, then you will always fail
    • Time-based – has a deadline attached to it where you’ll evaluate your progress
  • Ask what you need for your project
    • What does my project need to create a good result?
    • What skills do I still need to make the project successful?
    • What resources am I missing right now to make that project happen?
    • Out of all of this, what am I afraid of that is outside of my control?
    • With all of this in mind, what is my SWOT?
      • What STRENGTHS do I have?
      • What WEAKNESSES do I have?
      • What OPPORTUNITIES are around me or can be made?
      • What THREATS are around me or could happen?
  • Keep your goals small enough to attain within a small window of time and resources
    • Make plans for the final goal, which will create sub-goals, and make plans for that, which will create sub-sub-goals, and so on
      • Sub-divide your goals down as far as you need to where it feels comfortable to attain
    • Sometimes you may need to start new goals that are somewhat related to get to where you want
      • e.g. to become a performer you may need to become more physically active, meaning going to the gym

Change is always difficult, and discomfort is normal, but there are ways to make it easier

  • A Futures Wheel helps you anticipate changes
    • Chart everything on a graph similar to this one:
      • 1024px-Futures_wheel_01.svg
    • Identify the change you want to make
    • Identify the immediate consequences that come from that change
    • Identify the consequences that come off of those first consequences
    • Analyze the implications of everything that can happen
    • Identify immediate actions you can take to start the change
  • Successful change always has to have 5 things involved in it
    • Vision – without vision any attempts at success will lead to confusion
    • Skills – a lack of skills will create tremendous amounts of anxiety
    • Resources – not enough resources will create frustration at limitations
    • Action Plan – no plan of attack will lead to a lot of false starts that go nowhere
    • Incentive – no proper incentive will make the change take an extremely long time
  • There are proven techniques to changing habits
    • The more you avoid telling anyone about your goals, the more likely you are to get to them
      • The brain’s chemical satisfaction from merely talking about the goal is just as prevalent as actually getting to the goal
      • However, if you need to tell anyone, tell them in a way that puts your excitement and happiness on the attaining of it
        • e.g. “I can’t wait to finish my book!” instead of “I’m writing a book right now.”
    • There is a simple “Incentive-Action-Reward” that always shows up in any successful endeavor
      1. Use a current life pattern (sitting down at a desk, using the bathroom, etc.) as a reminder for your new habit
      2. Design habits with certain criteria
        • Must be easy to start doing
          • Ideally it should be so easy that it’s actually more work to do what you normally do!
        • Must be specific enough that it’s clear whether it has happened or not
        • Needs to have a reasonable deadline connected to it for followup
      3. Provide constant self-rewards for succeeding at the habits
        • The rewards should be small incentives to keep doing the habit, and many good habits have the reward already built into it!
      4. After enough time mastering it, you won’t need the reward, since the action will be its own reward
  • Pay attention to the cycle to success
    1. Idea – inspiration or motivation to do something worthwhile
    2. Brainstorming – kicking around ways to get to the finish line
    3. Planning – setting out a long-term goal, and then a short-term goal
    4. Early preparation – getting into position as quickly as possible to carry out the plan
    5. Confidence – powering forward with the full desire to succeed
    6. Failure – a natural result of the trial-and-error nature of life
    7. Discouragement – a biological reaction to the unsatisfactory results
    8. Recovery – a natural state of rest and self-forgiveness following a prior failed effort that inspires and builds confidence
    9. Early preparation – getting into position as quickly as possible to carry out the plan
    10. Confidence – powering forward with the same desire to succeed
    11. Failure – a natural result of the trial-and-error nature of life, but this time a little better
    12. Discouragement…
    13. (etc., etc.)
    14. Success – the fruit of much work, research, rest, time, patience and support from others
    • The cycle of success works, but has some special guidelines
      • Steps 1-4 are “motion” while Steps 5-8 are “action”, and it is very easy to never move into Step 5
        • Many people don’t want to make the push because they don’t feel “ready enough”
        • Most of the time, not feeling prepared is simply overthinking the situation and is just wasting time
        • If you’re caught in a “motion loop”, set an immovable date to start the actions
      • Never go back to the Planning stage from the Failure stage
        • Your emotional state will be too jarred from the new failure
        • If you need to exert energy, think about ways you could have personally done better
        • Planning again is best done after the Recovery stage
      • Recovery is actually holding yourself personally accountable for actions you take
        • There is a natural system in place to most effectively manage your own standards
          1. Recognize your actions
          2. Own up to what you have done and its consequences that unfold
          3. Genuinely forgive yourself for what you did
          4. Self-examine what you need to do better next time
          5. Learn what you can do better next time
          6. Prepare to take action again
        • Not devoting time to Recovery creates a victim mentality that make it impossible to succeed:
          1. Ignoring or complete obliviousness to any new input
          2. Denial of realities that support that input
          3. Blaming and rationalization for any negative consequences that may arise
          4. Resistance to any further pressures to change
          5. Thoughtless behavior across all spheres of life, which includes accepting old input without questioning and a loss of self-awareness
  • The “finish line” of any success is actually the “starting line” for something else
    • Don’t try to “hurry it up” or “get it done”, since it’s not the end-all to every problem you currently have
    • In fact, the goal you attain will only make your life more complex and harder to find happiness
    • In practice, the best way to aim for the goals is to aim past the “finish line”
  • Success in some ways is a lot easier to attain than you probably think it is
    • To be a success in a habit is often one of a few simple realities
      • Failing only slightly less than you do right now
      • Mastering something extremely simple
      • Working out details about what you are already doing well enough
      • There are many examples of this:
        • A small daily decision to work out intensely for 2 minutes can drastically reduce the risk of many diseases
        • Eating 200 calories less every day while keeping the same lifestyle will net losing 24 pounds over one year
        • The average MLB player’s batting average is about 28.3%, while the MLB hall of fame starts at 30.2%
        • Playing most popular music songs involves the same 3-4 chords ordered in different ways
    • It takes as few as 20 hours of intentional practice to be reasonably good at anything
      • Intentional practice is a formula
        1. Deconstruct the skill into very, very small pieces
        2. Learn enough to self-correct and self-edit as you practice
          • Get better at noticing your mistakes and changing things as you see them
        3. Remove barriers to practicing like TV, media, etc.
          • An easy way to remove barriers is to make an unrecoverable investment towards it (pay for a class, commit with a friend to going, etc.)
        4. Practice at least 20 hours to get past the frustration barrier
          • The frustration barrier is where you feel stupid and incompetent when doing the task
      • 20 hours is 30 minutes a day for 40 days
      • It may take 10,000 hours of practice to be the best of all humanity in the task, but that’s typically unnecessary for what you want
      • The major barrier to learning anything is emotional, not intellectual

Discipline yourself

  • You will need to remove some things to make room for the new things you desire, and self-discipline is the removing process
  • Self-discipline is the ability to control feelings and overcome weaknesses, and is never a bad thing
    • Without giving yourself any discipline, you will become fat, lazy and unproductive
    • It helps develop every attribute necessary for success
      • Even when self-disciplining for a hobby, there will still be permanent results for a successful life
    • The pain for restraint and moderation is almost always worth it
  • Self-discipline is simple to understand, but hard to master
    1. Analyze daily activities and understand what is halting success
    2. Commiting to remove those activities by choosing to no longer repeat them
    3. Planning ahead to make every possible way to remove the temptations that will trigger the activity
    4. Practicing a new routine in place of the old routine
    5. Persisting with the new routine until the old one is no longer desirable
  • There are ways to make self-discipline easier
    • Work on the goals one at a time, one step at a time
      • Splitting your focus will make it much, much harder to succeed
    • Learn how to exercise willpower
      • Willpower is the ability to do what matters most, even when it’s difficult or when part of you doesn’t want to
        • It is a literal competition with yourself to make a decision
      • Often the simplest way to get more willpower is to spend more time visualizing the future reward for the current pain
    • Give yourself incentives to make the new activities easier
    • Keep a journal or work diary as you go along
    • Welcome feedback whenever you can
      • Before you accept the feedback, ask whether the intentions of the one giving the feedback is focused on your best interests
    • Get involved and hold yourself accountable with others and their goals, since it is extremely difficult to make a change by yourself
  • Slow down and make your steps more purposeful
    • If you have to make a hasty decision, it is often to someone else’s benefit to create that rushed environment
    • Some of the biggest life decisions you will make will take seconds to perform
Next: Success 104: How To Persevere