You Become What You Repeatedly Do
28 December 2019
If you are a dreamer, like me, I want to teach you a little trick I use to overcome self-doubt. You can use it every time you feel overwhelmed, discouraged or frustrated that things aren’t going as you planned… or if progress seems extremely slow.
But before I tell you the trick, as a dreamer (or a person determined to accomplish large or life-changing goals), it is important to remind yourself of two things.
First… pursuing important life-changing goals is NOT a game.
The amount of investment in time, effort, sweat, and even money is no laughing matter. The types of sacrifices a person may need to make just to create even +1% worth of progress can be unimaginable.
Don’t just be proud to be doing something that most rational people would avoid or quit over the first couple of weeks, months or years… But also, treat it with the seriousness it deserves.
Secondly… don’t dwell in time-spaces you cannot control. The past and the future. The only moment in time you have the most control over is NOW. You can learn from your past. And you can set goals for the future. But the only way to truly shape your future is by doing something NOW.
There is a significant number of people, at this moment, that are unable to lift a pen… because of something they think about which took place over 6 years ago.
Also, there are people who are convinced TODAY that their futures cannot be altered, so why bother to even lift a pen…
Only a handful of people will not dwell in those spaces. They will use NOW to lift a pen and make 1 important goal.
“Today… My goal is to write a paragraph. Now I shall begin.”
The following day, they recite the same line.
“Today… my goal… is to write a paragraph. Now I shall begin.”
1 week later, 7 paragraphs.
If you maintain this long enough, you will develop a habit. When habits solidify… they become permanent. You will eventually become known, for this very thing you never stop doing.
This is the mindset and habit adopted by those who have set out to achieve long-term goals.
I used to dismiss this kind of simple reasoning when it came to the pursuit of goals. But the day I actually put it to the test… the day I actually sat down to write my “1 paragraph”… followed up by the second day I wrote down my second “1 paragraph”, it made sense how success was attainable.
By making actual progress and not excuses.
The number of people who THINK they cannot become software developers… is always going to be higher than the number of people actually PRACTISING how to develop software from scratch.
The thing you need to understand about the past and the future is that both rely on the present. Your history and future are determined by what you choose to do right now.
You can continue the story that has been playing for the past 5 years… and choose to be defined by it and even molded by it. Because we can obviously figure out what the next 5 years will be if your habits and choices remain the same.
Or you can stop. Change course… and begin living the first day of the rest of your life… doing what you feel you should be doing instead.
Now… about that trick!
Whenever I feel self-doubt creeping in, I take a moment to just stop.
I stop thinking about myself. About my goals.
Instead, I think of the different people who have attained what I want to attain. I think about the fact that they succeeded. And I ask myself, “If I had an hour to sit down with one of my heroes… what would they tell me, if I talked about my problems and challenges?”
But before I begin imagining what they would say… I first set some rules.
Rule #1: They will never tell me to quit if they feel that I’m determined to accomplish my goals.
Rule #2: They have the wisdom I need to help me make sense of what I am going through right now. Simply because they have been here before. They know what it’s like to be “before successful”.
Rule #3: I have to be careful with my questioning and how I arrive at conclusions during our conversation. Because I would be a strange student of success if I was to use my energy to convince someone who attained success… that it is impossible to attain success.
And with that, I begin diving into the mind of the people who have accomplished what I want to accomplish.
I don’t just have imaginary conversations in my head… but I listen to their podcasts… read their blogs… read/listen to their books… watch their interviews…
And within an hour or so… I get back to normal. Back to hustle mode.
What I have stopped doing… and I encourage you to also stop if you are doing it right now… is to complain about the hardship. Especially in the company of people who aren’t pursuing similar goals.
It will expose a weakness in you. An exploitable one.
The one thing you do not want to hear is, “then just quit. It’s not the end of the world. Just slow down”.
Such words tend to mean well, but the problem… is that they are also meant to reset you to your “original” default.
What is your “original” default?
The person you were before you began the pursuit.
I cannot find the words to properly describe the most important goal in pursuing an important goal.
But let me try.
Your number one goal is to change.
Change into a completely different version of yourself. To change your default.
There are people that cannot go a day or week without visiting the gym and working out. And if they try… they suddenly feel “off” or even get physically sick.
Their bodies and minds desire to go back to their “newer” default way of life. In this case, to be working out regularly.
But were they born that way? I doubt it. They had an “original” default that wasn’t about this life.
There was probably a time that they hated going to the gym. And would feel so relaxed if they skipped a few days.
What happened? Well, I think it’s obvious.
Long story short: With intense effort, they changed their default.
You become, what you repeatedly do.
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