Found an interesting infographic to share with you.
Notebooks are the secret-weapon tool of champions. No doubt about it: The very best creative, artists, leaders and all-around-groovy people I’ve met are aficionados of the notebook.
The little notebook stays with you 24/7 and acts as an extension of your memory and your mind that is pre-formatted for creativity and idea generation and it will serve you tirelessly forever… if you do it.
Nothing fancy, it requires only that you can carry it with you everywhere and that you use it.
What goes into it? Everything you want to remember but mostly you capture all the little ideas and brainstorms that you have from time to time, and all of your observations as you about the world.
If you pre-format the notebook for the categories of observation you wish to make, then the notebook becomes an external part of your thinking.
Into the notebook goes EVERYTNING you pick up or hear or think that you like – everything.
When you need a creative idea, start with your current notebook, then search your older ones if you empty and starts flipping pages looking for information or something that inspires you.
On many occasions you will make unusual pairings between unlikely items, and then combine them into new and original ideas.
I know a graphic designer who keeps a small sketch pad with him, and he draws thousands of small pictures of many different things he sees or encounters. He won’t use a camera because “cameras lie, as they don’t have to go all the way through me”. Another great producer who really gets it.
Figure out what you need or want to track. Set it up. Make it a habit in using it and you will enjoy great benefits.
We think of “the body” and “the mind” as being two separate things because of a few metaphysical ideas from people like Aristotle and Descartes (amongst others), which were then parlayed in philosophies and then taken up as axioms (without evidence) by generations of theorists and inventors of ideas about how humans work.
We’ve reached the stage where we cannot talk about human experience or behavior without reference to these words, and allied concepts like ‘conscious’ and ‘unconscious’, spitting them out without a moment’s pause.
But the thing is… there is no evidence that “the mind” and “the body” are two different and completely separate systems, which sometimes (mysteriously) deal with each other.
There is ZERO evidence for the existence of “the unconscious mind” as some special and separate place that you have to go to visit – a place where another you is in charge who does weird things like want to have sex with your parent of the opposite gender, and mess you around to make you feel bad… because mommy took the spoon away when you were an infant.
These theoretical illusions have dominated our thinking for too long, and it’s time to leave these vestiges of another age when we kowtowed to presumed authorities no matter how drugged out or plain crazy they were.
For example, Freud with his falsifying his session notes (to bring his client’s statements more in line with his theories), addiction to injected substances, and his social phobia, which is the main reason why psychoanalytic clients lay on a sofa looking at the ceiling, or the analyst sits out of direct view of the client.
They do this because it to made FREUD comfortable…
All of these words should be understood as “explanatory labels” which may or may not reflect reality.
The fact that such a wide variety of conflicting-in-theory high weirdenesses create therapeutic benefit for some but not all, and at a rate higher than placebo success rates, suggest that there’s something beyond the theories in any of the works of therapeutic cargo cult priests and proprietary shamans by the hour, in terms of the results people achieve.
People change. Some people just go ahead and make changes without anyone else’s permission or supervision. Other people want or need someone to guide them or hold their hand. Some people want to be coerced and will wait until change is demanded by circumstance.
My key interests have been studying the people who just do things. The ones who just change.
The other people I study are the outliers – the one’s whose results skew the statistical averages, and so their results are excluded from the calculations in many studies. These are the people who know something you and I don’t know.
These are the ones who by accident, practice, or luck of the gene pool demonstrate capabilities beyond average BUT there’s still much to learn from them. The biggest pattern (which we have been addressing from different angles already; wearing different clothes, or different masks) is that body-mind is ONE and not two. The dividing line is false. Habits are trigger (external or internal is irrelevant) + habituated behavior + our reaction/comment on this “event” – they are ONE, packaged as one, stored as one, and even your “instant or not so instant replay doesn’t count as a new and different event, but as yet another example of already established pattern.
Man… that is a kick in the butt. You can’t even think about what you think and feel about the habit without your brain chalking it up as another reinforcing instance.
But this provides an unexpected benefit or angle of approach. As we seem to like to pretend that the body and mind are separate; and usually we think that The Body (“It”) is a something else, albeit one that we are mysteriously engaged with in an intimate way; by approaching pattern change through the body rather than doing something with our minds and then acting it out through our meat-puppet, we can make habit change a whole lot easier.
Many forms of body work trick us into change by doing things that we don’t expect – novel movements, removing key elements of how our somato-sensory cortex maps things (for example, removing the shearing force of gravity which is the key to our limbic system, by having us lay down on a padded surface, and activating some, but not all, of the neuromuscular patterns associated with standing, balancing, walking, etc.), and mainly by changing the relationship between our awareness of movement and other aspects of embodied experience, and the physical actions themselves.
Some body work systems are incredibly sophisticated in their “brain hacking” maneuvers.
We can use some of this sophistication ourselves.
For example, by patterning and placing our awareness on the qualities of our physical movements, or the qualities of our internal process, and then modifying those, we can stretch and even break the automatic connection between a trigger and the behavior itself.
Some experiments to try:
- concentrate on streamlining the physical components of a series of actions by releasing excess tension as you proceed.
- streamline the connections and elegance of physical or mental actions. Elegance relates to using the fewest resources to the greatest effect. For example, smoothing the links between sections of an action.
I’ve just observed my own typing behaviors and streamlined several components:
- How I move my eyes between paper documents and the computer screen
- keeping my typing speed consistent without large gaps or pauses in time
- keeping my typing continuous without pauses for “thinking”
- lightening my touch on the keyboard
- softening my breathing
All created increased speed in output but also a change in my working state, which became smoother, lighter and more comfortable.
Change the qualities of your internal process.
If you are talking to yourself in a less than helpful manner; change to writing or typing it out and engage in a dialogue with it in writing.
If you are repeating the same scenario or narrative over and over again; label it ‘Scenario 1’ in your mind. Ask yourself “What is Scenario 2?” and run out a different scene on the same material but perhaps from a different point of view, perspective or even time period e.g “their” point of view, The Kardashians and their film crew who were just around the corner point of view, your mother or father, the people in the next room. The viewpoint of before something happened, the viewpoint of 30 years from now (are you planning on still thinking this way 30 years from now? (The grudge pattern).
Carry on with Scenario 3, Scenario 4, etc. changing perspectives until you remember who are you and who is “driving the bus”. Change point of view.
Try moving, dancing, swaying and/or singing, declaiming, humming loudly on the theme of your thoughts. You can create swift and powerful changes in pattern this way as it runs all over habits and their feedback loops.
Physicalize your thinking
Take physical sensations and make them symbols by intensifying and physically enacting the feelings. If you feel “stuck”; act it out… make it bigger and intensify it… pull your shoulders in, make your arms into imprisoning bands, make it hard to breathe, enlarge it until either it can’t be intensified further or you are moved to change it somehow.
Don’t “decide” to change it, don’t “try” to do something with it, and don’t resist it… tire it out, stretch it, and play with it until it gives in.
There is deeper wisdom in working with non-verbal habits, emotions and reactions this way but we’ll need to save it for another occasion.
Add this to both your pattern design and your pattern interrupting repertoire.
You need to do some serious play with this for some time to really get it, but once you’ve got it – some resistant patterns will be toast.
We’ve spoken before about the “holes in your bucket”.
Now is the time to start focusing on the right ones.
Have a look at some of the lists you’ve created before, searching for issues that come up repeatedly, or challenges that you haven’t taken up yet.
We looking for the program that runs and does stupid things like persuading you that surfing the internet or dawdling on Facebook for hours is a better idea than making your dreams into realities. Or that running the same old comfortable routines are going to do any more than that. Or “forgetting” at strategically opportune moments to avoid doing something productive; or not taking on a relatively straightforward project that’s useful and beneficial but might involve effort because “I don’t have enough energy/time/money/etc.
Choose the one you’ve been clinging to… no doubt for very good reasons… but that is getting old fast or is well past its sell-by date and is beginning to wear thin.
Choose it now.
Imagine it sitting there in front of you. What does it look like? What is it? What color is it? How big? Does it make noise? Does it speak? What does it say? How do you feel when you look at it?
Go on and study this imaginary thing for a moment.
That behavior or set of programs, which we’ve just represented – no matter what it feels like – is not you. It is not who you are. It is not what you are.
It’s a program that you might identify yourself with but it actually isn’t your identity. It’s just another adaptation that was perfect for its time but you’ve simply let it run too long.
It’s like one of those… Yorky dogs, or a Chihuahua – a yappy purse-pup with “small dog syndrome”, that you allow to poop everywhere. It’s a good dog gone bad. And it went bad because you didn’t train it properly. Baaaaaad dog-owner. Baaaaad.
I hope that was sufficient recriminations over it for the rest of a lifetime as now is the time to take this thing seriously and deal with it. There’s a hole in your bucket… and this is it. Let’s plug the hole, and get that puppy trained, and you get freer and set up for a happier life.
Using the tools we have been working with, deal with this matter as if it is a simple project, made up of a sequence doings (because that’s what it is, and that’s all it is).
Treat your narrative(s) about it, and your defendings of suffering, and the sunk costs involved with it, and all the rest of the insanity – and deal with this as a simple matter.
That means working out what you want to be doing instead (precisely). That means thinking through how that might work. That means considering the resources that need to be brought to bear.
That means working out what made the old behavior the right one, the correct one for its time and circumstance (pattern detective time!). That means connecting the accomplishment of the new behavior up to every other part of your life and what will make it worthwhile.
It means… you use whatever other tools and insights you’ve gained to make this change happen. … or, if you don’t want to do something beneficial that will improve your life, you can do as my grandmother used to say, “kids… I want you to go out to the garden, pick a tree, and count the number of crabapples on it before you come back…”
Man, I counted crabapples for HOURS…
I do think about you. I check how you’re doing, I bump into some of you occasionally and so I try and keep a gauge on how things are going.
In speaking with a few of you, it became clear that there is still some “thinking one is thinking” going on. It’s not a crime or a personality flaw or defect; it’s part of the default settings for humans… you, me, everyone has this tendency.
As we start putting things together, though, this tendency is a destroyer when building a new system of prosperity habits. I hope you can appreciate how that might be.
I’ve been looking for a way to encourage those who think that knowing “about” is the same as “getting it into the muscle”. Actually practicing and experimenting with stuff until the brain can do it for you is critical. At the same time, I want to present a crystal clear image that will illustrate what we are aiming for as a plan to move forward.
Although we use the analogy of robot, and talk about behaviors as if they exist in the singular; we are not machines, and actually human behavior is complex.
It would be great to be able to just plug in and download any particular thing we wished at will but, no… that’s not how humans work.
Even if we could, we have demonstrated as a species that we don’t so well in the wisdom department, when new technologies or shiny new toys are in front of us.
We just jump in and imagine we can do whatever what we want and it will be okay and someone else will pick up the pieces later on.
When you want to make large shifts in your life, you need to keep in mind that the habit-in-focus – whether it’s something you are annoyed with, or something you want to nurture – is like an iceberg (most of it is hidden from view). And, like any muscular activity in the body, it is balanced and “held up” and “held together” with many reciprocal balancing and reinforcing systems.
Without those balancing systems; the muscles don’t work. In the same way, when you are building a better system of habits, you need to develop the balancing and reinforcing systems to support the changes you want to make, or you are asking for…? Trouble. Unintended consequences. Failure, even.
What? What? What? This is all sounding suspiciously like work, and so it is.
Life is not a turnkey activity and you can’t buy everything you need and get someone else to do it for you.
Even those born to wealth eventually have to acquire significant life skills to keep what they were given or they WILL lose it. Therefore, many who were given the easy start end up unhappy and dissatisfied because LIFE isn’t meeting their expectations. It’s such a worry.
No, actually; it’s not a worry. It’s merely a condition of existence. Every step is the next step and, at the same time, every step is the first.
Let’s start looking at some plans:
- Choose a habit you are working to develop, or one from one of your lists that you would like to include in your better prosperity habits system. Start at a level where you can become successful at it in a modest way, before becoming grandiose.
- Write out a small end vision for the habit – what specifically you will be doing differently when you have achieved it, how the behavior functions (what it does), and what you will get from it.
A recent trainee used “Remembering my keys” which is fine for this process.
- “I remember to take my keys with me before I close my apartment door, each and every time I leave my apartment.”
- “By remembering to take my keys every time, it means I never have to pay another locksmith and open my door late at night, saving me hundreds each year.
- I never get stuck in the cold for hours, and I never have to get a friend to take me in or loan me money in the middle of the night ever again”
- “Well, I’ve got to REMEMBER WHERE THE KEYS ARE, so it would help to PUT THEM SOMEWHERE CONSISTENT.
- But to do that, I have to DECIDE WHERE THE KEYS GO.”
- “But before I can do that, I should probably PUT MY PHONE AND WALLET AND ID NECKLACE IN THE SAME PLACE,
- So I need to LOOK FOR THE BEST PLACE FOR ALL OF THEM.
- Once I’ve found that, I need to CLEAR THE SPACE…”
As you can see he is doing what is called “thinking it through” by focusing on actions (I’m kidding a little, but it can… possibly… might… be as simple as that.)
At the point where you want to stop, go back over it and check to see if you missed anything such as, in this instance, “remember… HOW?”.
“Ah… OK. I should probably MAKE THE PLACE I’M GOING TO PUT THEM UNIQUE in some way – a bowl or a different colored mat that only those things go on…”
AH! I need to PUT THEM ON THE MAT EVERY TIME I COME BACK OR AFTER I USE THEM!”
- Look for the best place for all of them (phone and wallet and id necklace).
- Clear the space.
- Make the place I’m going to put them unique.
- Put them on the mat every time I come back or after I use them (put them somewhere consistent)
- Remember where the keys are
- Look for the best place for all of them (phone and wallet and id necklace). I should plan this in for Sunday afternoon after lunch. Clear the space. Not too difficult – I’ll grab a garbage bag and some cleaning rags, just in case. Make the place I’m going to put them unique. I already know I’m going to use my neon green place mat… and I’m going to put it on the console in the hallway. Put them on the mat every time I come back or after I use them (put them somewhere consistent). Funny, I already know that this is going to be a problem. I have to find a way to make myself put them there. Maybe I’ll use the big arrow sign I’ve got. I could mount it over the mat. It’s big… it might do the job. Remember where the keys are. If I can get them on the mat, I can remember them
This isn’t an exercise of “what to do”; it’s an exercise of how to practice. It’s for getting a rule of thumb in place. 3/4 of habit hacking is getting the right rule of thumb embedded into habit. The other quarter is art.