Think about it. We run almost 99% on automatic programming (our habitual behaviour). Most of us have habits that we did not choose – we just adopted them from our parents, teachers, priests, coaches, and so on. It is a safety/survival mechanism to be like those around us.
A habit is simply a decision, repeated until our brains “just do it” for us. Each repetition increases the “size” of the brain channel that does it for us. Let me repeat that:
A Habit Is a Decision You Repeat. That is All…
A metaphor is that each of your habits is the river that flows along your path of least mental resistance. To change the flow direction of flow of the river – or to remove it – there is nothing to do but divert the flow into other (chosen) river-paths. Not “dam” but “divert”.
As you think about the river metaphor – you will realize that the earlier in the river you intervene – the less water there is to divert. It easier with a little stream than with a Amazonian flow that happens downstream. So go upstream. In this example – when you get the slightest urge/trigger to desire a smoke – overlay that trigger with a preferred action – STEAL it. When it fires – do some “air squats” or a “60 second meditation” or 5 pushups or some stretches or a make a list of 5 things you are grateful for or brush your teeth or give someone a real compliment.
With enough repetitions – the new decision will OWN the old have-a-smoke trigger.
The decision to repeat your past decisions is yours. You can dominate the process if you can describe it clearly. In business I suggest process maps – what happens, then what happens, and so on. Each step has a “necessary condition” – without which the step cannot proceed. You cannot smoke a cigarette you do not have any, or if you cannot light it. You cannot smoke a cigarette without taking the rubber band of the pack. And you cannot smoke a cigarette if you have truly decided not to, and you prevent yourself doing it “automatically”.
This final perspective can have super powers. My father stopped smoking the instant he coughed up blood. A very strong motivation – reasons why – can alter the flow of your rivers instantly.
But many people still smoke while undergoing chemo or suffering emphysema. The “habit” decision is yours. Again and again and again.
The pathway to establishing new habits is the same – but you are feeding your river once you have created it. You can use triggers – like putting your work out clothes and shoes ready to go the night before. You grease the process – so your new decision just slips into place. Adapt your environment to support your new river flow. Borrow water from a friend (or personal trainer) to feed your own river.
Here are some potential habits to make decisions on:
Dude – Business Sucess is Innovation and Marketing + Delivery (that is valued and done to “standard”)
Sometimes I like to sit and think. Other times to just sit.
What recurs are simple ideas.
If your business is not growing, bro, it is stagnating. And by growing I mean in the biological sense.
Throw out a little sprout on the tree. No new shoots means you are made of old, dead wood. And decay is coming.
And when you get a nice sprout going on – unless the right people know about it, understand it as much as they need to, value it, desire it or need it – it will not draw the “sunshine of the money” to sustain it.
There are the extra shoots on your existing branches – product improvements, variations, extra options colours and flavours. And there are the new branches. And there the seeds that your success sperms across into new markets.
In my yard I have nutgrass. It is by definition a “weed”. But is has my admiration. It has the goal of total domination of my yard. It defends the areas where it is market leader, and it sends continual military forays into the areas it does not dominate. It is ruthless. It is focused. Is is winning.
My insight today is that unless your business has the clear, no fuss, no doubt, no choice mission that it is to ultimately DOMINATE whatever sandpit you define as yours – your strategic choices will be underwhelming in their success. Not matter what squishy guff you write on your documents about visions and missions and blahblahbabldioo – you have missed the point unless you the apply the Nutgrass Turbo.
It is only by deciding to DOMINATE – that the full power of strategy is able to be used.
Why nutgrass? Nutgrass is there to dominate. Everything it does is designed to ensure domination. It has these little “nuts” that it creates relentlessly. They are underground. If you pull this plant out – and miss just ONE little nut – it will come back at you. Again and again, until you give up.
Then – as well as these nuts – it has designed itself to quickly produce a missive number of seeds on a glorious stem. Hmm. Force Multiplier effect? Bring a second powerful tactic into your domination arseonal and you more than double your expansion power.
Lately I have been re-reading a lot of Deming. And thinking about processes and systems. And how there is a “code”, a set of programming under each of the experiences in our circumstances. And one of the key insights is that what happens at the beginning of a process – has a greater weight on the results. Deming said of systems to “define the first 15% of each level, 3 levels deep. Others say that this first 15% delivers up to 85% of the potential value of the sysem. I would love to see some data on this claim – but it seems a good theory to test the hell out of.
Let’s pretend just for now that the underlying programming that creates the success of your business – let’s call it your “strategic plan” – is turned on.
Sport can be a wonderful teacher, and often games DO reflect our circumstances and rules. First, let's think what happens when playing football on a nasty, cold, rainy field. The ball is wet and slippery, hard to hold onto. The ground is also hard to navigate with boots either slipping or bogging on the sometimes muddy turf.
There is no margin for error in the throwing or timing of a pass to your team, as this will lead to lost possession and a period of tough, draining defense.
But there is an upside.
Both teams are playing the same conditions. And it is here that tactical choices determine the winner in most cases. You CAN still win at sport, and in business in tough conditions.
When playing rugby (of any kind) in challenging weather - what must you do? And what does that mean to your business tactics?
1. You must cherish possession of the ball. Every pass must be secure. Every hit up and run must be arranged and implemented to both gain ground AND retain possession.
2. You must keep territory position in mind. Play the game in your oppositions half, where an error from them has most benefit for you. And a touch of genius or luck from your team rewards you most. This means tactical kicking, but not predictable kicking.
3. You must make best use of your assets. Your big men can run hard at the line at angles that allow the conditions to make it harder to stop them. And in ways that drain the energy of the opposing team. Your play-makers must avoid becoming exhausted by the conditions, and set up others more than run themselves. To do this, your team must be ORGANIZED and know what the plays and tactics for this game are.
4. Every advantage must be fully utilized. Half-gaps must be hit with full power and enthusiasm. Extra effort for bursts of speed results in either line breaks or extra exhaustion of the opposition. Your strong men must refuse to fall, every step counts. Mental toughness must supplement physical conditioning.
Your business CAN success in tough times. Business is still there to be won, although you may have to evolve and adapt to become the team whose value overpowers the desperate competition. First you must choose to accept there is a market for you that is worth dominating. It is the same as choosing to play to your hardest on a sporting field - you must decide to win. Or there is little hope of winning.
That decision - for YOUR business to dominate - is the key strategic lever to you then defining your market, creating the processes and messages that will give you advantage, and then executing in a calm, organized and ruthlessly focused program.
Bucky Fuller said: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
I have spent decades fighting existing reality. I am sure you have too. What do I mean?
How long have you been “doing battle” with things already in existence? Like storing too much fat on your belly or butt? Or having a bank balance that is too small? Or my sales are too low…
In past posts I have spoken about “choosing to struggle” – and in simple terms this is explained by my learning to swim process. When I swam I tensed every muscle, I strained every nerve and concentrated on every part of my body. Naturally I was exhausted after about 15 seconds, and then tended to gasp and sink.
After a few decades of struggle I concluded that something was wrong with my process. The answer was not to try harder or for longer. It was the opposite. I experimented with doing nothing but ‘relaxing’ and the water. Just lay there, being calm. Not try at all. I could have used a modelling strategy – you know – had lessons? But no. I was addicted to “figuring things out” – a strategy which still both rewards and punishes me.
After some floating – I found that I could make movements without tensing every muscle. Eventually that led me to realising that the key to swimming is reducing resistance in the water. Splashing is waste. And now I can swim and remain relaxed and move well through the water. So – it was when I stopped doing the things that did not work or help that I benefitted. I made the old model obsolete.
The process was to discover the process and then strategically evolve it for a clear purpose. And to enjoy the experiences as much as you can. Does that sound like your business? Your health? Or are you “working” to retain the resistance and no-purpose tension? And yes – it is like an onion (tastes great when properly cooked!)
Do we “break” habits?
No. We either replace them or disconnect them.
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Well – the new year has begun again. Like it did last year. Following the same pattern. And the pattern is the clue to the power contained in a new word I created just now in the attempt to get the concept clear enough in my own head to be able to share it with sane people.
That may be you – but it is not really me. Yesterday I was perturbed when the hairdresser who had just cut my hair described the result as “respectable”. What the hell is that? My hair now deserves respect? Perhaps it is common for people to have a goal appear respectable?
So – in the closing stages of 2016, there were a couple of different concepts about behaviour that were attempting to “mash” inside my mind. I had been working on a project that trains people to be able to greatly improve their probability of setting goals and actually achieving them.
There is a missing component to almost all goal (or target or objective) creations. Without knowing and applying this component within your goal setting process – you will likely have an almost perfect history of Goal NON-Achievement. You may even have decided that goal setting does not work (which would be true for most people).
If you are a serial goal achiever you either are doing this component by luck, or you have been applying that fictional power created in the 19th Century – called “Willpower” to brutally pound your way through your action steps.
The 3 Main Ingredients Attempting to Blend Together:
You may be wondering WHY this is important to anyone? It is important because the mashing of these concepts will give you a clear, simple process you can apply to many different levels to take your goal achievement skills to a place where you laugh out loud at your previous attempts.
Over the centuries there has been a ton of metaphysics or religious symbolism that has touched on the process. More recently the “Law of Attraction” magic was spread over the globe. It has a great story. And some people claim to have made it work for them. Probably the same people who actually set goals and achieve them. Certainly not the majority. Or we would all have won the lottery and be perfect physical specimens.
The Bible has some very potent symbolism that carries a clue to what the LawofAttractioners missed. And it has to do with the “Kingdom of Heaven”. Yep – I said it. You may not know that I am not religious at all. There has been some great content created by the original authors of each religion – which was in stated symbolically – that has been converted by vested interests into multi-layered fiction. In the Christian religion practically everything after 100 AD, is gibberish. And much before then as well.
That is fodder for a different post. The reason I raise the kingdom of heaven here and now is to do with the term “coherence”. It is the meaning in physics that is relevant. Google it if you want to go down a rabbit hole. For now – just pretend that it means getting all the “waves” that you generate in your mind (as thoughts and feelings for example) to have the same wavelength, and to be travelling the same path.
If you spout out all kinds of different thoughts at once, and bounce all over the place from your business to your sex life to the weather to a barking dog to feeling hungry to feeling annoyed at feeling hungry because you are on special supplements – you have no coherence. You are channel flicking.
Your ability to stay on one topic is minimal, and your mental power is diminished. You have trouble making decisions because your thinking is handicapped. You experience fear and probably have developed a habit or procrastinating or avoiding important actions. And with each procrastination you reinforce that particular “habit” – until you are completely oblivious to what you are doing with your thoughts.
I will break this post into different segments as it is likely your ability to follow is already shaking.
Let’s tie it up a little for today. The “Kingdom of Heaven” is the place INSIDE yourself where you have calmed your thoughts and thinking. Usually entered via a meditation process or self hypnosis – you calm yourself physically and then mentally. As you get closer and closer to the “KoH” your thoughts slow down, and you can observe them. You realize that you are NOT thinking your thoughts – you are only observing them.
As you observe them – you can, if you choose, contemplate each thought, and then choose to keep it or let it go away. Each thought (according to the theory – has an effect on the physical world – the basis of the Law of Attractionists). You can see that even just slowing your thoughts and choosing to let them take root (or not) – will have a drastic affect on how you feel and act in the world.
Your stress levels drop because you are not in constant channel flicking mental mode. And you can think for long enough to make decisions with confidence. And your FEAR is reduced because you are not constantly in emergency mode. You have time to respond to the world, and add your creation-ability to each event you experience instead of being in automatic mode. (If you want to change the results you achieve in your life and business or career – this is where you must begin. The same programming (the rules or habits in your head) as you used last year will give you the same results you got this year, and forever after barring accidents.
That is enough for today. Your job is to visit the Kingdom of Heaven – the place where you can observe your thoughts and wonder where you are that you can do that. Next we will see the fractal nature of this in your life – and experience how just changing thinking affects everything else.
Ps – the secret sauce of successful goal achievement can be turned into a mechanical process that will allow you to predictably hit your chosen targets. Accessing the KoH (which has many other names) – makes the process much more SIMPLE and more enjoyable.
Well done to Victor Makurov from Perm in Russia.
First the story (briefly).
This morning I decided I needed a haircut. I only have so much hair now, so recently I have been going to a convenient barber, that is near the coffee shop I visit sometimes. The benefit of a barber is you can usually not make an appointment, and can get a tidy up that suits my time frame rather than my hairdressers.
I used to go to hairdressers, but the event usually required a special trip, which added to the time needed. And often even with an appointment, I would be asked to wait. So, with the decreasing amount of hair, and less difference between a great haircut and a haircut – I decided to go to a barber shop.
And it was ok.
Anyway, this morning I went to the barber shop at Fairfield Shopping Centre. There was a sprout of hair on my head at a gawky angle – so I made a special trip (it is 5 mins away).
As I approach the barber shop, I see that the gate is still mostly across their shop, and the manager and apprentice are standing around chatting. “Great!” I think – I will be first. As I reach the gate the managers asks “Can I help you?”. I say “Yes, hi, I am in a hurry and would like a trim.”
“No, we are not open. We open at 9, and it is only 5 to 9. Can you come back in 5 minutes?”
“Um, No. I won’t. Good bye.” And left to walk to the hairdresser at the other end of the shopping centre.
Now this particular barber shop has cut my hair before twice. It takes only minutes to cut my hair, and on the previous occasion the junior employee did the job, and the time before that the manager did it.
Pretty riveting story, ay?
Now, about YOUR business. How certain are you that your team is not spilling clients out of your revenue by doing similar things? How is your standard greeting quality when your clients or customers visit? Do you have a PROCESS that brings a new customer into your herd by systematically encouraging the first three purchases?
Do you know the average lifetime value of your customers? Do you know that number for each of the categories of your business? If a barber shop customer is worth $700 over two years, how much is he worth if you keep him for four years? Or if you bribe him to bring his teenage son?
If you have not made these fundamental calculations – you are flying blind with your strategy. You cannot effectively budget for marketing. You are relying on intuition and luck. That can be ok for a while, but over time MATHS is what drives your profits. And the eventual value of your business when sold. (most businesses do not “sell”, they close.)
Education has the greatest leverage. Investment in learning is the most efficient way to change our lives and the world (for the better).
People choosing to invest in solar panels, inverters, storage and so on have a few fundamental things to understand before they can make a prudent decision. Because of the nature of the industry, you cannot always rely on the commission based sales people.
When purchasing anything – there are basically two groups. Those who believe they ARE ready to buy, and those who are GETTING READY. Sometimes those who believe they are ready – are just kidding themselves and would benefit from more of the actions that the GETTING READY crew take.
We will go into the significance of this for all business owners in a later post – because it can be the basis of making your entire marketing program 5 to 10 times more effective. In a nutshell:
“If you attempt to use NOW READY tactics on people who are only GETTING READY your conversion rate will be dismal.”
The example of this solar power company (who I recommend personally as being the most knowledgeable for the info you need, and trustworthy in terms of the value they deliver with solar power systems and storage) is that they know that it is different strokes for different levels of readiness. I love their course – it made my transition from GETTING READY to NOW READY short and enjoyable.
Just four words.
Deming spoke about the massive waste in the world due to our continued struggling under “wrong theory”. You know, like when your business is stuck – and your answer is to “work harder and longer”.
Just like talking louder and louder to people who do not understand your words.
My strength is in helping people move between levels. Check purpose and strategy at 30,000 feet, then deliver precise action at ground level, then review from 30.000 feet. Use power effectively.
A system cannot adjust itself, it must have external intervention. And the “power” of every system is determined by the process with which it is created.
Your coach can help you step outside, analyse, determine what to change, then step back in and move ahead.
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