I used to think that embarrassment was a bad thing — a sign that something was wrong. Now I believe it’s an important tool for personal growth.
What changed my mind? A thought from writer and philosopher Alain de Botton: “Anyone who isn’t embarrassed by who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.”
When I think back to what my “healthy diet” looked like last year, especially compared to now, I cringe. (Hint: last year’s healthy diet included ramen and hamburgers.) It’s in these moments that I understand exactly what de Botton is talking about. Continue Reading…
I have great goal tracking software. It’s expensive stuff and has done wonders for helping me manage my goals. But you know what? For motivational purposes, it doesn’t even hold a candle to a simple, $10 wall calendar.
Want to know why?
When you use a wall calendar to track your daily goals, it stares at you every day, announcing your progress loud and clear. When a goal isn’t being achieved, when a giant X or circle denoting success isn’t placed on the calendar, you have to see that every day. When you leave for work/school, and when you come home again. It’s there.
I can close software with the click of a button. I can even just shut down my laptop if I want to avoid my terrible lack of progress. But a giant calendar on the wall isn’t so easy to avoid. It requires a symbolic admission of failure if you were to take it down or hide it from sight. As long as it remains up, the calendar continues to show you, objectively, how well you’re doing. When you’re succeeding, seeing those results every day is immensely gratifying. When you’re procrastinating, the calendar shows you a stark lack of progress that gnaws at that part of you that holds yourself to your highest standards.
So next time you track goals, think about how can you can keep those goals in plain sight so that you see them multiple times a day, every day.
Jerry Seinfeld followed this very same rule to reach success.
So did this inspirational athlete.
It works. And for $10, what are you waiting for?
For those of you who have read Unlimited Drive, my e-book on motivation for top performers, you will recall that the intro chapter mentions a statistic that approximately 90% of heart patients can’t change their lifestyles for the better, even when the decision is one of life or death.
I recently have come across another article that references this statistic, but found something completely unexpected. They found that forcing patients into extreme change gave significantly better results than slow, steady, and incremental changes. Here’s the key excerpt from the article:
That’s where Dr. Ornish’s other astonishing insight comes in. Paradoxically, he found that radical, sweeping, comprehensive changes are often easier for people than small, incremental ones. For example, he says that people who make moderate changes in their diets get the worst of both worlds: They feel deprived and hungry because they aren’t eating everything they want, but they aren’t making big enough changes to quickly see an improvement in how they feel, or in measurements such as weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. But the heart patients who went on Ornish’s tough, radical program saw quick, dramatic results, reporting a 91% decrease in frequency of chest pain in the first month. “These rapid improvements are a powerful motivator,” he says.
That’s a big reason why 90% of heart patients can’t change their lifestyles but 77% of Ornish’s patients could — because he buttressed them with weekly support groups with other patients, as well as attention from dieticians, psychologists, nurses, and yoga and meditation instructors.
Huh?? Every single research study, case study, and book I’ve read on motivation and psychology shows, very clearly, that we tend to resist extreme change, which is why incremental changes are so effective for long-term goal achievement. I’ve used this step-by-step strategy multiple times in my life and it has ALWAYS worked better for long-term progress. With so much research and anecdotal evidence pointing towards incremental change, I was shocked to see Dr. Ornish’s results with his patients using extreme lifestyle changes. Was there a way to reverse engineer his process?
I decided to investigate further. Continue Reading…
Driven to a Tipping Point
“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”
In his bestselling book, “The Tipping Point”, Malcolm Gladwell discusses tipping points as they relate to trends in society. How does a seemingly silly fashion item suddenly take off? Or why does one show become insanely popular, while a clearly better show is cancelled three weeks later? While tipping points in society are very noticeable because of the scale on which they take place, personal tipping points are just as powerful an occurrence, but are seldom discussed. Tim Ferriss, a New York Times best-selling author, recently addressed the personal tipping point in his new book, “The 4-Hour Body”, which is what gave me the inspiration for this post.