Some habits will help you live a better life. They’ll help you improve what’s already working or help you fix what’s not working very well.
But what about habits that completely change the game entirely? What are the questions that uproot your beliefs, shake them from its roots and move you into a bigger pot?
These are seven habits that won’t just improve your game, or help you “level up.” They’ll help you play a different game, one that you completely design yourself.
- Regularly engage in time travel. Often the best way to solve a problem is to have a conversation with your future self. How do you do this without bending the space-time continuum? It’s simple, really. Have a seat in your favorite chair and close your eyes. Now imagine walking into a bare room, with plain white walls with a small table and two folding chairs facing across from each other. Sit down in the chair closest to you. Now, in walks your future self 10 years from now. S/he sits across from you and explains that s/he’s there to answer whatever questions you have about the problems you’re facing. Go ahead and begin firing. Ask him/her whatever you want and take advantage of a more experienced version of you.
- Before you act, hold back. You would think that immediate, unmitigated action is best. Act quick! Buy now! Hurry before it’s too late! These seem to be the cultural beliefs we’re imprinted with. But is acting quickly really better? I think sometimes the opposite is better. Think about what you want, but wait to act. Just spend ten minutes thinking about what you want to create and allow yourself to feel what it will be like to take action. I think you’ll find when you build anticipation like this, the quality of your action will improve.
- Ignore and doubt yourself. Sometimes listening to yourself and getting in touch with your intuition is important. But what if you don’t like what you have to say to yourself? What if you have patterns of thought that aren’t serving you? Sometimes it’s better to allow them to be there and ignore them, rather than trying to push them out. Other times, it’s even important to doubt yourself… that is, doubt what you think you’re capable of. We often underestimate our potential, so it can be beneficial to create the habit of doubting what you think you can do. It’s often much more than you think.
- Feel before you do. A lot of the time we create to do lists or start projects based on what we want to get done or want to accomplish. The feeling is supposed to come after we’re done. We’re supposed to feel good by accomplishing. While this approach seems very logical, it doesn’t always work too well. It’s much better to start with the feeling you want to create, and then choose the actions you want to take that will create that feeling. This is a hard habit to create, because it doesn’t seem reasonable and requires a lot of trust. You’ll also have to have the courage to stop doing a lot of things that don’t create the feeling you want. That takes a lot of guts. But it’s worth it.
- What would happen if this was easy…? As a culture we value people that work hard and beat the odds. We think it’s important to pay our dues and grind it out. But what if work didn’t have to be hard? What if your life didn’t have to be hard? What would happen if things were easy? Regularly asking yourself this question and seeing what comes up can be game changing.
- What do I think is impossible…? Sometimes we think that we’re only capable of a certain level of achievement. We doubt our own capabilities or think that a certain change would be too hard or impossible. We’ve set ourselves up to fail before we even begin. Ask yourself this question, then ask yourself why you think it’s hard or impossible. Then take a moment to pretend it wasn’t. What would you do differently?
- What would I do if I had everything I needed already…? A lot of the time we think we need more than we do in order to do what we want. We think we need more time. More money. More resources. More support. But is that really true? You can do a lot with a little. Many businesses are built with little to no start up money. Many great projects are started with a simple idea and a willingness to work hard. What if you didn’t need whatever it is you think you need to start? What if you had everything you needed right now?
These are just a few habits I’ve found that have made a huge difference for me. They’re a bit uncommon and take a while of practice in order to make them work, but once they’re installed you’ve essentially created a limit-breaking loop that leads you to higher and higher levels of success. It feeds on itself to grow.