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Silly small steps(DW #825)

One of my teachers/mentors like to hammer in this point: when we planning a new habit or a change in behaviour, we need to make it EASY TO WIN.
 
When we are designing our new behaviours (yes DESIGNING – acting on purpose and with intention), we need to plan for days when we have the LEAST motivation.
 
This is not how most of us plan for change though.
 
We plan on change and new habits when we are the height of inspiration and motivation. And think we can take on the world.
 
WE ARE SO INSPIRED! We commit to huge goals – meditating for an hour, walking 10,000 steps, never eating sugar again etc., etc., etc.
And then real life hits. We have a sleepless night. The kids are being …. Children! We are tired and cranky and the last thing on our minds and within our energetic bandwidth is to work on self-improvement.
 
And when we fail to meet our goals, we think there is a big problem with us.
In his EXCELLENT book, Tiny...
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You and your chisel(DW #824)

Yesterday we spoke about how Michelangelo used his chisel to expose the latent beauty in a block of marble. And how we can also chip away at the barriers which stand between ourselves and the best versions of ourselves.
 
Interestingly, the English word character comes from the Greek word that means "chisel" or  more accurately, "the mark left by a chisel."
 
How cool is that!
Ourcharacteris formed by achisel. Just as the chisel is a small instrument, which can chip away at that block of marble in tiny tiny movements, our character is formed by the small choices that we make in the moments of our lives.
 
At any given time, we are chipping away at positive choices and harming our character OR we are chipping away at poor choices and creating a character worthy of ourselves.
 
Character is formed by the small choices that we make moment by moment by moment. Our choices add up over time to form and reveal our character.
 
So, let us ask...
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Learning from Michelangelo(DW #823)

opinion self development Oct 21, 2020
Have you heard the story of how the Italian artist and sculptor Michelangelo worked?
 
Legend has it that when he saw a block of marble, Michelangelo couldseethe latent statue within that block of marble.
 
"All" that he had to do, he said, was to remove the bits that did not belong in the finished piece of work.  In other words, he would patiently work with his chisel to chip away at that which did not belong in the statue.
 
Amazing right? But how does this apply to our lives?

All of us have within ourselves, a masterpiece. A best version of ourselves. Some great and hidden potential.
 
Our job, like that of Michelangelo, is to remove the that which is hiding the best version of ourselves.
 
So, what little habits do we need to chip away at to reveal the most beautiful version of you hidden within that marble?
 
And, importantly, which one little habit can you let go oftodayto reveal...
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Don’t be a metaphysical glutton(DW #822)

If you are anything like me, you get very inspired with books and lectures on self-growth, and love to keep making positive changes in your lives.
 
If you come across some wisdom that applies to your life, you are eager to implement it.
 
So far, so good. Small but continuous positive growth is what it is all about.
 
A word of caution, though.
It is a good idea to focus on one area of your life at one time. Pick something to work on and install that before tackling something else.
 
It is a recipe for crashing and burning if you try to address every area of your life all at once (don’t ask me how I know this!)

I love how American philosopher and writer Ken Wilber (often referred to as the "Einstein of consciousness studies") puts it: Don’t be a metaphysical glutton.

In other words: Don’t try to change EVERYTHING AT ONCE.

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Recommitment(DW #821)

The process of getting back on track to our path of progress is called Recommitment.

We have been discussing how even with much motivation and inspiration at the beginning, there WILL be times when we fail to live up to our commitments to ourselves or fall short of the standards we set for ourselves.

 
Sad but true.

So then what?

Once we spend a few minutes reminding ourselves that we are human and that self-compassion will get us further than self-criticism, it is time to RECOMMIT.

Again. And again. And again.

Just like the pilot that we discussed, keeps coming back on track after drifting, we remind ourselves of our path and get back on track.

Here are the steps:

Step 1. The destination/goal/target needs to be clear of course

Step 2. Remind yourself about the WHY. Why is this important? Why are you on this journey? What does it mean to you?

When we forget our why, we lose our way.

Step 3.Commit to the process. 100%.

Step 4. Take action. Get in motion. Keep taking baby steps....

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Higher highs and lows(DW #820)

If we have bad days and go off track, how do we know that we are still on the path of self-growth and not in fact, truly regressing?
 
Because although we will have highs and lows, our highs will be higher AND our lows will be higher too.
 
Our baby steps and compounded progress on the journey will mean that

1)   Our good days are better than the previous good days

2)   Our bad days are not quite so bad as our previous bad days and

3)   Overall, we have more good days than bad days.

 
If we take time to pause and notice, we may even find that our bad days are better than what our good days used to be.

And that, my friends, is progress!
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Setbacks and relapses(DW #819)

We all have days when we fall short of our standards for ourselves and feel disappointed, even hopeless in our perceived lack of progress.

At least I do.

It is just part of the process. Set backs and relapses into old habits and ways of being do not signal lack of progress because:

GROWTH IS NOT LINEAR.

Growth does not occur in one beautiful, straight line from where you are to where you want to be. Growth looks more like a jagged zig zag line than a straight up-and-to-the-right line.

As George Leonard tells us: As we negotiate our path of mastery and let go of old habits, we need to have a "willingness to take one step back for every two forward, sometimes vice versa."

Sometimes vice versa!! This means that sometimes, on the journey, it will appear that you are taking only one step forward and two or three or four steps backwards.

The trick is to recognize the back slide AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. And get back on track.

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Going off track(DW #818)

communication trimtab Oct 14, 2020
Yesterday we talked about how great ships can be steered by a tiny Trimtab on the back of the ship on the radar.
 
Today, let us explore another lesson from another means of transportation.
 
Airplanes. When we are flying high above the clouds, we can rest easy knowing that the pilot has a flight plan and a destination.
 
What we may not know, however, is that planes are off course about 90% of the time on the journey!
 
Yes. 90% of the time for the duration of the flight, air traffic and weather cause the flight to go off the flight plan.
 
Here is how Stephen Covey explains it in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families:
 
Before the plane takes off, the pilots have a flight plan. They know exactly where they’re going and start off in accordance with their plan. But during the course of the flight, wind, rain, turbulences, air traffic, human error, and other factors act upon that plane. They move it slightly in different directions so that...
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What is your Trimtab?(DW #817)

Do you know what a Trimtab is?

It is a small six-inch wide strip of metal attached by hinges to the trailing edge of a ship’s rudder. As an engine’s hydraulics force the Trimtab into the path of oncoming water, the pressure generated against it assists the rudder in making its turn.

The Trimtab was invented to solve a critical engineering problem at the height of World War II. As the war raged on the high seas,  ever-larger battle ships were needed. As the ships grew in size, their steering mechanisms required more power to turn their rudders than their engines could produce. The tiny Trimtab was able to turn and change the course of gigantic ships with minimal power and effort. The  revolutionary invention of the Trimtab not only solved this crucial military problem, it also created a new paradigm for human greatness.

It has always fascinated me how such a tiny piece on the rudder of the ship can change the direction of the huge ship.

And it seems that...

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The compound effect of change(DW #816)

Even those of us who are minimally financially savvy, may have heard about compounding savings or the magic of the doubling penny.

Here is how it is often explained:

You have two choices:


1. You receive $2.5m in cash today.

Or…

 

2. You get a penny and then you will get double of the previous sum every day for a month.

 

What should you choose? The $2.5m today or the doubling penny?

 

Well, if this choice presented itself in February, you would be better off with the $2.5m. After 28 days, your doubling penny is worth "only" $1.3m.

 

But for ALL OTHER MONTHS, you would be better off choosing the penny today.

 

Here is the math:

 

That one penny goes from 1 cent  to 2 cents to 4 cents to 8 to 16 to 32 to 64 to over a dollar in 8 days … (slow progress, right?)

 

And then it starts to take off. As it keeps doubling over the month, it becomes $1.34m after 28 days and then it leaps from $1.34m to $2.7m on Day 29. Then from $2.7m to...
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