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My 5 habits for change
Make progress by making habits
Whoever suggested children need a good grounding in the three Rs (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) had an ironic sense of humour. Nonetheless, they were right. At school, I struggled with reading and writing, but was pretty good at arithmetic. I wanted to study Maths at university and, for that, most required GCSE English Language. I sat my English exam a year late, due to an admin mix up, and failed it. However, I did go on to get a degree in Maths and Computing. In my 30s, I decided to address my communication shortcomings. I started reading books, writing much more and presenting in meetings and other forums. While I did not label it as such, I had established a habit for change.
Kevin Kelly (Wired Founding Editor) suggests that, Good habits ensure we make progress on our bad days. Habits eliminate self‐negotiation. Here are five habits for change proposed by Kevin that I follow:
15 minutes per day improvement
Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite
Work hard, rest hard
Habit 1: 15 minutes per day improvement
Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. - Albert Einstein
Spend 15 minutes per day (1%) improving how we do our thing. Study, experiment or refine a process so we are a bit better every day. From an unpromising childhood, I now love reading and write for at least 15 minutes per day.
If we improve 1% daily then we will be 37 times better by the end of the year. Small changes matter little in the near term, but can make a huge difference in the long term.
Habit 2: Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite
If failure is not an option then neither is success. - Seth Godin
Kevin Kelly suggests, After you've completed your first draft, redo it from memory to see if better ideas find their way to the page. To make something good, just do it. To make something great, just redo it, redo it, redo it. I don’t rewrite my blog post from memory, but I do put a rough draft together then after a few days rewrite, cut and refine. 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing book by Gary Provost is a gem and includes 12 ways to avoid making your reader hate you.
Habit 3: Imperfect deadline
I set and try to keep to a tight deadline for things I care about and want to progress. As a critical foundation for my mobile game, Scarper, I am building a database. I have given myself three days to complete the first version. This deadline will force me to make progress. Imperfect, but progress.
Habit 4: Work hard, rest hard
Forty-hour workweeks are a relic of the Industrial Age. Knowledge workers function like athletes: train and sprint then rest and reassess. - Naval Ravikant
I work in sprints, some short, e.g. 40 minutes, and others longer, e.g. a few hours. At the end of each sprint I take a break, to rest my eyes and re-energise. At the end of each working day I go for a good walk. I find this mix of focus and relaxation works well for me.
Habit 5: Choose change
Kevin Kelly suggests, When faced with a difficult decision, take the path that produces the most change. Change is the catalyst for personal and professional growth. Increasingly, technology allows me to learn new things and work anywhere. I love exploring new technologies and plan to revolutionise meetings using AI. As Chris Dixon suggests, The next big thing will start out looking like a toy. I’m excited to see what new toys I can play with next.
Excellent Advice For Living book by Kevin Kelly
Kevin Kelly Advice for Geeks (and others) post by Phil Martin
Life Games to Play, Win and Exit post by Phil Martin
As Kevin Kelly says, Habit is far more dependable than inspiration.