You are Your Habits
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit."
- Will Durant
Often misquoted as Aristotle, this quote is the epitome of this article's focus.
In Ray Dalio's Principles (which I recommend you read on Audible, as it's narrated by the man himself), one of the largest things that has struck me thusfar is that you are the culmination of all your habits, good and bad.
That means that the more that we do something, the more that it gets ingrained into us as a person.
So, those that are successful might just have better habits than those that aren't successful.
When you start looking at it that way, you begin to analyze everything that you do on a daily basis and ask yourself if you do it because it's what you're making yourself do, or if it's something that's ingrained into you.
"If you do something for 18 months, you will likely continue doing that thing, forever."
So, you do have to be exceptionally careful with what you are doing on a daily basis. Are you working towards where you want to go? Are you sitting around stagnant?
Inertia is the hardest thing to overcome.
Enter The 3-2-1 rule that was preached by Mel Robbins in her book 'The 5 Second Rule'.
You start to do things when you have a deadline. A 3 second deadline is all you need to get started.
I'm going to get my gym clothes on - 3,2,1 get up and put them on.
I'm going to start writing an article - 3,2,1 open up your computer and start writing.
I'm going to wash these dishes - 3,2,1 get up and start the water.
It's really that simple. Don't let anyone tell you any differently.
Procrastination is a learned habit. So is getting things done. So you start right now, and kill the procrastination within you.
In fact, I'm procrastinating by writing this article, I'll be back soon.
Okay, I'm back.
It's so cliche. 'You are your habits'
But, once you realize that you change your life with every single little decision that you make, you start to see the power in even the littlest thing you do.
You put on moisturiser after you shower everyday - in 20 years, your skin will be better than the person that didn't.
You learn a language 30 minutes a day - and in a year, you will be semi-conversational - in 5 years, you will likely be fluent.
You workout for an hour a day - in a year you won't recognize yourself.
The same shit works in reverse. If you eat a cookie everyday, in a year, you'll have gained 5 pounds of body fat.
If you don't learn that language for 30 minutes, you won't be able to converse with that really attractive girl that could be your potential wife in France next summer. I kid, but not entirely.
The greatest things are achieved through a process of Kaizen - getting a little better everyday and leveraging that over a period of time. You can't shift the world today, or tomorrow, or maybe even next year. But, in time you can.
We talk about compound interest.
We should be talking about compounding effort. Compounding change.
You're not the person you need to be yet that can move a mountain. But you could be. And that's ultimately powerful once you realize how much power you hold by making little improvements everyday.
You start to use every single minute to better yourself, and make better decisions. We are all human, we all slip up. But you start to ask yourself with every activity "Does this bring me closer to my ultimate vision of myself?"
When that answer is "no", you have created a change in yourself and your behaviour.
Since I moved to Montreal, I have envisioned myself as a person that is radically different from the Josh of today. A man that is a lot different from the man I am today. And, I know that I can get to that man. Everyday, I am either becoming him, or I am moving away from the ultimate vision of myself.
It has given me a sense of patience.
It has also given me a sense of urgency.
Now, leverage this across an entire company or organization.
You just created a rocket that delivers cargo to the International Space Station.
You just built the world's most used online marketplace.
You just build a 100 story skyscraper.
You just impacted a million people.
All because you took that step today.
And everyone pulled in that same direction over months, years, and decades of consistent improvement on a daily basis.
That's how you change the world. By deciding today you can. And then taking a little step towards that change everyday, for the rest of your life.
Until next time.