Thursday, 11:52 AM
April 6, 2017
I just finished my breakfast an hour ago. I know it is late, but today I did something different. This morning I went for a morning run.
Why did I do that? Well, last night I read all 25 chapters of the Boron Letters.
What are those you might think? Let me tell you. The Boron Letters is a collection of letters written by Gary Halbert to his son Bond when Gary was in prison.
It is one of the most referenced sources of inspiration and wisdom for sales copywriting. Using his copywriting skills, Gary has sold millions worth of products through Mail Order.
Anyway. In these letters, Gary also teaches his son (15 years old at the time) about life and how to live healthily.
One of the concepts he explains is “roadwork”. He tells his son to do 1 hour of roadwork each morning. Roadwork being is walking, jogging, or running. This helps set you off to a great start.
You might be thinking where am I going with all this, well, don’t worry, there is a point.
I read tons of books and articles about “life”, psychology, marketing, programming, etc.
In the previous half year, I read many books, and they all had a common theme I would like to share with you.
Are you ready? Yes? Great. You can design your life, so success becomes inevitable! Let me get back to that.
This summer I signed up for a great course called 30×500 to learn (among other things) what they call Sales Safari (more on that in a later newsletter). One thing that happened as soon as I signed up was that they told me to read four books before starting. I had already read two of them, but the other two (Amy’s Book, “Just F#&king Ship” and “The Power of Habit” By Charles Duhigg) was new to me, and I started reading. They both touched on the idea of setting yourself up for success. So it happens automatically. This, I found interesting. How about you? I bet.
Let me tell you how by introducing a story about Michael Phelps (competitive swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time). The reason Michael Phelps kept winning is that he designs his life and the day of the competition for a chain of tiny wins. The ending-win just happens to be the one the gets him the medal.
The day of the competition is planned in a way that lets Michael do some routines/habits he knows will be good for him and that he will succeed doing. This is the important part. He does things that he knows he will do good.
For example, way before the actual competition swim, he will do some laps to get into the rhythm of swimming.
And even before that, he will get up at a certain time, which in itself is an accomplishment. You know, most people don’t get out of bed, let alone do any exercise, unless they absolutely have to.
Back to my morning. I woke up early (8 something AM, is early for me), even after having read all those chapters (1 through 25) until 3 AM. I then continued to go for a run. I made a healthy breakfast. This is a series of tiny wins. They prove to my subconsciousness that “anything” is possible. This makes the rest of the day so much easier.
Recently I read Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris (the guy who wrote 4-hour workweek). In there Tim shares his notes from the many podcasts he has done with super talents of the world. He also does at least one of a few morning routines to get a tiny win. He does one or more of the following. 10 Pushups. Make the bed (doesn’t have to be fancy). Morning pages (More on that). These things make him believe and feel that he is in total control of at least something in his life. You know. This is an important point! There might be tons of things you cannot control. Things like getting a new round of investment or getting more customers. But one thing you can always control is when and how to make your bed.
These points relate to something that I discovered last fall. I sucked at defining goals. I know it sounds off-topic, but hang on. Ok? Good.
When I would make goals for myself, both long term (as in dreams for my career) and tactical, like adding a to-do to Trello, I would write it very generic and vague and be very ambitious about the goal. You know what? That set me up for a long (as in very long) line of tiny fails. This is the opposite of tiny wins. I finally realised that I had many insane ideas and goals that would never turn into anything. Particularly when it was a tough decision, conversation, task, etc. it would be even more difficult for me. I hope you can relate to what I was feeling.
An example could be to write a difficult email. The to-do would state the outcome “get money for project XYZ” or whatever. I tried getting a bit more specific “Send the email to person XYZ”. That still seemed a bit difficult. Then I divided it further. “Draft email for person”, “Send mail to person”, and “Check that money was received”. Writing it to you now, it seems stupid, and I am sure it sounds stupid to you. But it did a HUGE difference at the time (remember it was a very difficult email conversation). Separating the writing and sending part, made me feel like nothing could go wrong while writing. After all, I was just writing. Not sending. When I was done, I felt like “Hmm, it is done. I don’t see anything wrong in it. Why not just send it? Ups, just clicked send.”.
This approach did something else than making the assignment smaller. It turned one impossible failure into three tiny wins. If you make your goals and tasks so small that you can not possibly do it wrong, you set yourself (or your colleagues) up for success and an endless line of checked-off to-dos.
Before I leave you for today, I just want to run another interesting concept by you. Something I first read about in the power of habit. It is called an Inflection point.
The point when you are trying to do something, but you don’t because (…).
Let’s say you are attempting to go for a run every day, but for some reason, you don’t.
Maybe it is raining outside. Perhaps you are hungry or out of energy. Maybe you can’t find your running shoes. No matter what it is, it is the thing standing in between your intention and what ends up happening.
What I discovered, is that you can take note of these inflection points or maybe even foresee them if you know yourself good enough. I know our running example is pretty straight forward, but look a little further. Maybe it could be about avoiding a difficult decision or confrontation.
Anyway. You can make a list of things that you know will make you give up, change your mind, or what we call it.
Now, with that list, you can come up with solutions/wanted responses to these inflection points.
For example, if it rains have an umbrella or raincoat nearby. If your know, you will have little energy, prepare yourself with some food an hour before and avoid sweet things.
You can program yourself to react in a certain way, in certain situations (that’s how any martial arts works or any sport for that matter), when X happens do Y. In some way, you just replace the giving up part with a solution you came up with at a time where you had the energy to make the decision (Yes. Making a decision takes a lot of energy), and now you can just do it on autopilot when you are under pressure.
That was a lot, I know.
I hope you found it inspiring.
The time is now 12:51 PM, I haven’t edited or corrected anything yet.
All the best