Ande Schurr suggests a way to break bad business habits by trialling a trick he learnt in a book about monks and Ferraris.
"When we use positive pressure to make the changes we need, we give ourselves a decent chance to achieve it."
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I wrote this post for myself as much as anyway wanting to change a habit, learn a new skill or achieve a goal.
What is the difference between business and pleasure? It's simple of course - one we have to do, the other we want to do.
It got me thinking about how we can make business more pleasurable. I'm not talking about changing our jobs, because that is not always possible given our need for cash-flow, but rather can we make business more exciting and engaging so we look forward to it.
I think that is very possible. The way to do this is to treat the business like an excuse to learn whatever you want to on a technical, creative or even physical level.
The effort required to change even the smallest habits is very great. You will attest, I'm sure, to the difficulty in changing diet, exercise or study habits. Perhaps you try it for one week and then resort back to how it was. I think I've located the problem: we are not applying to ourselves the right kind of pressure, if any, to keep our word and change.
There is a best-selling story - The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari - that gives the example of a hidden community of sages in the Himalayas who are seeking perfection. They too know how difficult it is to change, so they use the positive pressure of their peers to encourage the change they need. They would declare to each other that if they did not follow through on their commitment to get up early to exercise (a new habit) or learn a certain skill by a set period then they would go down to the icy waterfall and stand under it until their arms and legs went numb.
Wow! What an extreme example yet it perfectly illustrates how seriously we need to take our development. I thought about how I might apply this to my life. As you may know, I'm a sound recordist which means I haven't really given cameras much of a look, except to see how they interact with my sound gear, yet I actually enjoy the creative side of finding a nice frame and feel I've become overly technical-minded with my sound! So my goal is to learn inside out my new Canon 550D DSLR camera by March 14. I told my friend that if I don't know every function and answer any technical question (about the use of the camera) I will do 100 proper press-ups in the middle of Queen St without resting. He said that he would be there filming it on my camera! There is no way I can do that many press-ups without collapsing, so I have a lot of pressure to get my skills up to shape!
How much 'stick' can you take before it gets too much? I am hoping that when we use positive pressure to make the changes we need, we give ourselves a decent chance to achieve it. There can be only so many times you will tell a friend you will give up smoking, for example, before they stop taking you seriously. But the person who really wants to achieve a goal or break a habit will use their friends in this 'positive pressure' way to force them to keep their word.
I invite you to leave a comment below about a small goal that you want to achieve, or habit you want to break, within a strict due date. Then set yourself a punishment if you fail to keep the habit, and use the pressure of your friends and our community on The Big Idea to help you keep it.
Let's attack our very human lethargy, apathy and unwillingness to progress by drawing on our friends in this constructive way.