Did I mention I gave up coffee?

They even offered some decent life strategies: look at everything, pick up anything you can, avoid wizards, and always haggle for jetpacks.

~ Peter Welch, from http://stilldrinking.org/coffee-is-hard

The quote has nothing to do with what I’m writing today. The only relation is the word coffee. That said, you should totally go read Welch’s piece. You should totally go read everything he’s written; it’s generally awesome and often downright alarming. I digress.

On a Sunday morning–June 23, 2019 to be exact–with a congratulatory high-five, I gave up my morning coffee. I’d been thinking about doing so for months. Truth be told, the catalyst that day was to support a particular lady’s efforts wrestling with migraine headaches. With a brave, “huzzah!” my fate was sealed.

There’s a song by Frank Sinatra, “Hallelujah, I lover her so,” which begins with a telling verse:

Let me tell ’bout a gal I know
She’s my baby and she lives next door
Every morning ‘fore the sun comes up
She brings my coffee in my favorite cup
That’s why I know, yes, I know
Hallelujah, I just love her so

Setting aside the completely wacked concept of your girlfriend living next door and bringing you coffee before dawn. (1969 America. amiright?) I want to just draw attention to the coffee being how he knows he loves her. That’s just wrooong.

Over a few decades we had settled into a morning routine that started with the coffee maker. As anyone everywhere will tell you, if you drink coffee every morning it just becomes the neutral baseline, and without it, things aren’t happy-land. Occasionally, obtaining the morning drug hit would be a challenge leading to un-happy-land.

But mostly, it just meant getting out of the freakin’ bed was rough. …and like the addict I was, I went to the drug quickly.

Is it easier to get up now? Absolutely.

Do I spring out of bed like a happy rabbit? Absolutely NOT. But it’s better. I still need a bit of time to wake up fully–which I do via some morning stretching and movement.

Do I still drink it? Absolutely. Anytime I go anywhere, and I find myself near a real coffee shop . . . hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.

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Movers Mindset Three Words

In each of our podcasts, we ask guests to pick three words to define their practice. Choosing the three words to describe your practice has turned out to be a much more interesting and intriguing part of the conversation than we had initially anticipated.

The word practice, for example, goes beyond movement and often evokes broader images and ideas that reflect an approach to life. The idea that parkour and movement techniques in general are more than just physical has always been behind Movers Mindset. This is why we focus on ideas and reflection, for example, rather than on flashy videos of daring movement. The deeper dive into the mindset of movers is where the real magic happens.

We decided to do some introspection and pick three words that describe our practice. It was a challenge because reducing your practice to three words can seem like you are saying that the practice is nothing more than these three words, so you try to pick broad, powerful words to make sure you cover everything. Really, however, when you pick words that are too broad and too sweeping, you wind up not really saying anything specific that is unique to you. On the other hand, if you try to pick overly specific words, they may describe only one tiny part of your practice and give the impression that the scope of your focus is too narrow.

Picking three words is a challenge that we give to our guests, so it’s fair that we do it too. We found that capturing the essence of our practice in three words required a lot of introspection, and the act of choosing three words wound up being empowering. By going through the process, we now understand our practice more explicitly and are better prepared to describe it to other people. It’s not that we did not know the path we were following before, but now the path is clearer. It is easier to determine if a new project is consistent with our practice and vision, and this helps guide our choices in the overall direction of Movers Mindset. In general, we found the exercise to be challenging and highly worthwhile.  If you want the extra boost yourself, picking three words to describe your own practice is a good way to get started. It is a great way to discover things about yourself and about your relationship to the world.

This leads us to the first word, discovery. We wanted a word that involved starting with reality, with what we know about the world and about ourselves. We rejected observation because it is not active enough.  It has connotations of just sitting back and watching, listening, and taking the world in through your senses, but in a passive way.  We also did not want a word like imagination or invention as our starting point, because these involve creating things. 

Generations ago when Benjamin Franklin confronted that fearsomely powerful storm driven on by his even more powerful desire to know—a desire that pushed him beyond the limits of anything humans had ever done—he was driven by the urge to discover, the urge to take action to learn what it was and what made it work. Franklin discovered that lightning was a form of electricity, but Edison invented the lightbulb. Discovery always comes first. Franklin pushed past the millennia of fear, the millennia of cowering primitive people who saw lightning as the tool and province of the gods—never to be understood, grasped, or controlled by humans. He uncovered or discovered its secret. By learning what it was, he took the tool of the gods and made it his own. He was not the first to discover facts about electricity, but his actions symbolize the process and the principle: boldly looking at reality, uncovering its secrets, and moving them from the realm of mystery and superstition to our realm of understanding and science.

Discovery is an active process involving interacting or experimenting with reality. You may not discover that you are great at painting, cooking, or singing until you try and observe the results. Often you will discover that you need more practice or that you need to master specific skills and techniques. However, without action, you cannot discover your strengths to move you forward or discover any weaknesses to be overcome. Discovery involves the honest looking at reality and the identification and understanding of what reality tells you. Your opinions, wishes, feelings, do not matter at this stage.  What matters is that you observe to the best of your ability, that you experiment, and that you see—with as much honesty and focus as you can muster—all that reality has to offer.

Discovery is not the end of the game; it is only the beginning. The second step in the process leads us to our second word: reflection. Discovery means you have learned something about reality and yourself. What should you do with that information? What does it mean? What do you do next? The answer is that you must think about what you learned. Why didn’t we pick the word thinking instead of reflection? Thinking is too broad in meaning for our context. While we are big advocates of thinking in general and recognize it as the key to every successful human endeavor—without exception, our practice involves a particular type of thinking that is tied directly to reality and the facts we have uncovered about it. Reflection captures this meaning. A clear reflection in a mirror involves the accurate reproduction of reality.

As we think about things, we want to be careful that we do not go off course, that we do not imagine things that are not real or ignore things that are. We want to make sure that our thinking accurately reflects those facts about reality that we have discovered. Reflection is a type of careful thinking that takes each idea and connects it specifically to some fact about reality that we have discovered. There is nothing in your head to automatically guarantee that your thinking is correct. It is easy to go off course. It is easy to deceive yourself. It is easy to make the mistake that an early failure at a complex movement means that you will never master it. Reflection can protect you from such errors. If you fail in your first attempt, that is a fact, a part of reality that you cannot deny. So, the idea that you failed is valid; it corresponds to a fact you discovered. However, the idea that you will be bad at this every time you try is imaginary; you made it up. There is no discovery in reality, no fact in reality that corresponds to the notion that you will always fail. There is no reason to believe or to accept your imagined ideas when they do not reflect reality.

Reflection, then, is a type of self-check, a way of making sure that your ideas are validated by reality. Imagination can give you ideas about what you want to validate through discovery and reflection, but it leads to useful information only when the idea is tested. If you imagine you will always be bad at something, start testing your idea. Practice. Practice again and again. Discover if you get better or if you continue to be bad at it. Reflect on your progress honestly. If after a period of regular practice, you find that you still are no good at it, there is at least a possibility that you are right. Your conclusion has some support. But if you are much better now than you were when you started, that improvement supports the idea that you will eventually—with continued practice and diligence—get good at it.

Reflection also means holding a mirror up to yourself. Why do you like certain things? What makes you feel happy, successful, powerful or disappointed and sad? Why do you think you are good at something? How did you develop those skills? Reflecting on your strengths and understanding what worked for you previously helps you grow. Reflecting on the things that scare you and hold you back helps you develop the strengths you need to overcome those worries. When you reflect on your emotions, you discover ideas or premises that are the foundation of those emotions. This means you have the opportunity to reflect on those ideas and premises and test them against reality. Are they true or false? Do they correspond to reality or contradict it?

These two questions–Are your ideas true or false? Do your ideas correspond to reality or contradict it?–ask the same thing. Reality is the standard of right and wrong, of true and false. By actively reflecting about your ideas, your discoveries, your thoughts, and your feelings, you will eventually eliminate all contradictions from your entire life. You will reach a state where you see reality, and yourself in it, with full clarity and full understanding. The world has rules by which it behaves. Things act in a particular way. If you drop something, it falls. If you touch a fire, it hurts. If you act according to these rules, you will be successful. If you ignore the rules either by failing to discover them or by evasion, you fail. Acting in accordance with the rules of reality gives you a sense of self-confidence in your own ability. This leads us to our last word that captures this self-confidence: efficacy.

After practicing discovery and reflection again and again, you realize through experience that the world is knowable. You learn that you can discover it, learn its rules, and apply them successfully. You know that you have the power to validate your results along the way and correct any errors. Reflection gives you confidence that what you have discovered, is correct; your knowledge and conclusions are valid. Given enough time and effort, you know that you can reach any rational goal, understand any process, and check and refine your results thoroughly until you have the confidence of certainty. This mental state, where you know you can meet any challenge, learn anything, develop any skill, solve any problem is efficacy.

Efficacy is the power to produce a desired effect. Recognition of your own efficacy means that you have recognized your own potential for continued success and growth. Your choices of actions at this point are not based on concerns about current limits of your ability or understanding. Instead, your choices are guided by what skills, practices, and accomplishments will give you the most enjoyment, make your life better, increase your skills, or broaden your knowledge. Your experience in life changes from asking “What can I do?” to asking “What should I do to make my life the best it can be?”

The ancient Greeks had a word for this process of reaching your full potential: eudaimonia. We did not pick that as one of our three words, in part because it is even more obscure than efficacy, but eudaimonia was in the running. Aristotle wrote most extensively about eudaimonia, but it was important to many Greek philosophers. It is difficult to translate, because the concepts leading up to it are not yet widely understood in our culture. Few people today recognize that by understanding the rules of reality, validating them, and putting them into practice consistently, success is almost guaranteed—barring error or misfortune. Eudaimonia integrates these ideas into a process of living your best life. It is a continuous process of self-actualization where all the best conditions are in place: happiness, morality, meaning, purpose, the fulfilling of our special, unique potentials as humans. Efficacy is necessary to have the confidence to work toward eudaimonia.

We also picked efficacy over eudaimonia because to English speakers eudaimonia sounds like a final state like happiness. Eudaimonia is more than just a final condition. It is the process of human flourishing. It is the process of doing those things that best help you function well as a human being at the highest level. Our other two words, discovery and reflection are both active processes, and we want to focus on the active process of developing and recognizing efficacy.

Efficacy includes both being effective and recognizing that you are effective; it describes a self-aware competence in action. Eudaimonia is the goal, but recognizing and developing your own efficacy is how you get there and stay there. Efficacy empowers you to even greater achievements that expand your potential to ever higher levels.

Finally, Movers Mindset wanted three words that reflected our practice in terms of its essentials, but if those three words were adopted by others, they would still help them find the path to success. The words had to capture the ideas of action and thinking, doing and learning–the Mover and the Mindset. They had to wrap up our process and philosophy in a way that captures who we are and provides value to our audience. We think that discovery and reflection applied iteratively–again and again–building on previous knowledge and success leads to continued growth. Repeated experience with success leads to a recognition of efficacy where you understand that you have potential to be successful in almost anything.

Activities that involve continuous improvements are often described as mastery practices. Mastery practices involve continuous improvement through discovery, reflection, and active practice with full recognition of efficacy. While mastery practices range from focused practices like law, medicine, Parkour, Aikido, plumbing or carpentry, the most important mastery practice is living your own life to the fullest–reaching your full potential–eudaimonia. Since your full potential requires continuous improvement, it is important to develop the mindset–the set of ideas–that allows for this unceasing movement toward greater success and well-being. Discovery of this process, reflection to hone its accuracy, and development of efficacy are the steps that each individual must undertake independently.

Although your own path is unique, the principles involved are universal and can be learned from others. A goal of Movers Mindset is to bring these principles to light in an accessible way that encourages discovery and reflection while demonstrating and promoting efficacy in each individual. While you still have to walk the path on your own, under your own power and by your own effort, Movers Mindset hopes to make the path a little clearer.

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You can’t fool your mind

You can’t fool your mind.  It’s an expert on your current personal management system, and it knows whether you can be trusted to look at what you need to at the appropriate time.  It knows if you’ve decided what the next action should be. And it knows if there is a reminder of that action placed somewhere you will actually look, when you could possibly take that action. If you have not done any of that, your mind won’t let it go. It can’t. It will endlessly keep trying to remind you of what to remember. The mind is a loyal and dedicated servant, but it needs to be given the jobs it does well–not the ones that it mismanages.

~ David Allen, from Ready for Anything

…and yet I try all the time. Fortunately I’ve gotten much better at capturing my thoughts.

The important part, the hard part—one might even say, “the trick”—is to have regular and sufficient time to review all the things I’ve captured. Do I really want to read that book that piqued my interest? Do I really want to try that new recipe I found? Do I really want to go to the trouble of adding that new electric outlet in the dining room?

I see too many people with no way of capturing their thoughts, and I see very few people who have a habit of regularly assessing what they want to be doing.

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Depth of learning

Working deep is the answer for me. To be happy, to feel good about myself, to not feel guilty about sucking up my share of oxygen on the planet. I have to get back to it.

~ Steven Pressfield from, https://stevenpressfield.com/2010/02/writing-wednesdays-28-depth-of-work/

I too am drawn to deep work. I wonder if there’s anyone who is not?

But for me, deep work seems to not be enough. I also need deep learning. I need to spend two uninterrupted hours reading something, (perhaps S Ambrose’s Eisenhower, or T Ferris’s Tribe of Mentors,) with stops to copy out quotes, detours to lookup some detail, bookmarking of another author’s work, and so on. My mind is one large pressure-cooker, and I need to regularly vent the pressure, pop the lid and jam new stuff in before sealing it back up again on medium heat.

Roughly a quarter of U.S. adults (27%) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 8 to Feb. 7 [2019].

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/09/26/who-doesnt-read-books-in-america/

Interesting article that digs into who exactly is, and isn’t, reading. Want to change your life?

Read more.

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Expressing gratitude, part 2

Most of the people that I work with do great work most of the time. (No, this is not about to turn into a back-handed compliment.) That means they make a few mistakes, or do a few things where I feel feedback would be helpful. Abitrarily, let’s say 90% of their work is good, and there’s 10% that I think could be improved.

…and so I start providing feedback on that 10%.

What does the other person experience? 100% negative feedback from me!

It doesn’t matter how good I might get at delivering great feedback, and helping them improve. If the only feedback I give is on the 10% of their work that I feel could be improved… ouch!

Instead, I need to think about the entirety of that person’s work. My feedback should be roughly in the same proportions as their work. This enables me to convey both the direct pieces of feedback and my assessment of the ratio in the whole. Continuing with the 90%/10% example, I should be giving vastly more positive reinforcement. That other person should be hearing vast amounts of positive feedback. This is not limited to people who work “for” you. This can be applied to everyone you have regular contact with and is relatd to my earlier post about, “if you see something, say something.”

There is a benefit for myself as well: If I’m only giving negative feedback, (focusing on that 10% as it were,) then it’s going to feel as if everything I encounter all day is negative. If I instead focus on increasing my ability to first notice that 90% of everything is great stuff, and then communicate that outwardly to the others, then it’s going to feel as if everything I encounter all day is positive. Since focusing on the negative stuff is one of my biggest problems, this is fertile ground indeed.

What’s your perception of what you encounter and does the feedback you give reflect that?

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Expressing gratitude

What if you, whenever people did good stuff for you, you let them know they had a positive effect on you? You might have to come up with a unique way of saying it if you want to make explicit that you aren’t saying “I owe you”. We’ll leave that as an exercise to the reader.  

~ J. Hazard, from https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/ctBCPaD3yYimEHXPu/magic-is-dead-give-me-attention

Somewhen around 2005 was the trough of my expression of gratitude. Having now spent increasing time with this radical new notion of “expressing gratitude” I can say for sure… that I really need to keep working on it.

I’ve been stingy with positive reinforcement for a loong time. As I’ve begun to explicitly practice the habit of expressing gratitude, externally to other people, the results have been obvious and beneficial. My current intention is work on lowering my resistence to expressing gratitude. The most recent way I’ve been reinforcing the habit is to hold in mind a common mantra which I’ve repurposed: If you see something, say something.

I’ve found three ways that I’ve been practicing expressing more gratitude. There are others, obviously, but these are the three I’m currently practicing.

The first way plays out in direct conversation. While discussing one topic, my mind produces a tangential thought about something positive this person did on some unrelated topic. Spurred on by, “if I see something, say something,” the practice is then to mention that positive, tangential thing at the next opportunity in the conversation. Loong ago, I’d have let those tangential thoughts go by, not wanting to interrupt our discussion.

In short: Simply express gratitude now.

The second way is more subtle. Since those random thoughts of gratitude-moments-past are coming up today, I didn’t notice them in the past, or I suppressed expressing them in the moment. This reminds me to be more vigilant looking for the opportunities to express gratitude.

In short: Get better at noticing opportunities to express gratitude in the current moment.

The third way is to make a conscious effort to go looking for missed opportunites to express gratitude. If I have a meeting planned with someone, when I’m preparing I can make the small effort to think of a few opportunities I’ve missed.

In short: Practice actively looking for opportunities to express gratitude.

tl;dr: Duh, Craig. Simply express gratitude.

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When is the last time you did nothing?

Blaise Pascal famously said that all human miseries arise from our inability to do this. But I think it’s really just an unwillingness. He’s right about the arising miseries though—not knowing how to deliberately do nothing is a crippling disease that leads to bizarre, self-defeating phenomena like workaholism, cigarette smoking, rude smartphone behavior (see below) and eventually war and pestilence.

~ David Cain, from http://www.raptitude.com/2016/03/4-absurdly-easy-things/

Not to be confused with, “doing something that doesn’t advance you towards a goal.” That’s still doing something. A lot of people spend a lot time doing all sorts of that busy-nothing; I see you on the street, in your car, at the cafe, the glow of the TV in your homes, and I can tell by the words that I overhear that all that stuff is important to you. There’s a good book, What Makes Your Brain Happy: And Why You Should Do the Opposite, which I offer for your consideration.

No, I’m asking about “doing nothing” as in sitting, or perhaps lying down, and being fully aware of the reality around you. For many years, I ran in terror from doing nothing. I ran to my todo lists or my goals or my habits designed to improve my life or my TV or my fiction books…

I started by intentionally setting out—if even for a few minutes—to do nothing. I’ve gotten pretty darn good at it these days. What I’m currently practicing is learning that doing nothing is the good stuff I should not feel guilty about.

Why not go do nothing right now?

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The journey

I’m fond of the old adage, what was once your workout will eventually be your warmup. It captures the inevitability of progress if you simply put in your time. In the beginning, the time spent seems to surface an endless sequence of unknown-unknowns. Bottomless, rabbit holes appear and you have to go far too far down the first few to learn an important lesson about depth versus breadth of knowledge. Soon you begin to realize the beginner’s journey is more or less the same for everyone. You get a few wins under your belt. Someone ahead of you compliments your work. You help one of your peers. Then you help one of those farther ahead of you, and realize the distance you’ve come is farther than the distance between you. You feed increasingly off of the energy of your peer group, bouncing ideas and challenges around like a seasoned practitioner. You look around only to realize there are now a large number of newer people on the journey who are behind you. You’re struck by a deeply pleasant emotional vertigo. You remember running in the halls with your brand new friends full of energy, and you feel recharged and invigorated; You might no longer run in the halls—age appropriateness and all that—but the energy from those who do is absolutely contagious every time. You struggle to refrain from proclaiming, “wait until you see what’s next!” Instead, you redouble your efforts by dashing ahead, behind the scenes, around the next corner, or over the next hill, to help with the preparations. You realize—you apprehend—that you’ve gotten as much out of giving back to help with the process, than you did from going through the process that first time. The cycle repeats. The learning, the friendships, the accomplishments—and quite frankly the advancement of the entire human race—builds with each iteration.

So, when is the last time you started something as a beginner?

When is the last time you showed up a bright eyed and bushy tailed neophyte?

When is the last time you helped the others? Those behind you, those ahead of you, and those around you?

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Dopamine

On the other hand, if you choose to work inside this messy metaphor, you get the thrill of finding a new path instead of merely following the old one.

~ Seth Godin, from https://seths.blog/2019/06/ahead-of-the-curve/

I was reading recently about ways to add pleasure and enjoyment by simply planning ahead for the more simple things one regularly does. For example, instead of just going out randomly for dinner, plan in the morning to go out for dinner at 6:15 this evening—even if it’s just to your regular, local spot. The anticipation of even a small, normally trivial and unconsidered act, will be pleasurable all day.

Which leads me to wondering about wether one of my problems is that I too often rush ahead. If I have an idea for a project, since I’ve a tremendous amount of freedom to choose what I do on a daily basis, there’s no reason (so my thinking goes,) that I shouldn’t just start on it right now. …and of course once I’ve started, I may as well sprint all the way through, and reveal my creation fully formed.

Except, there was no anticipation between the idea and the execution.

I already, intentionally do not act on a lot of ideas. (My motto for 2019 is, “no.”) But what if I intentionally begin to not act yet on my ideas to which I’ve said yes. If an idea is so great, it will certainly be there tomorrow. (I see now that there’s also an element of impulse control involved here.) Tomorrow—or next week—when I come back to the idea and find it still very interesting, then it might be time to schedule some time to work on it. Then let that sit for a few more days, and so on.

Some interesting food for thought. I’ll think about this some more tomorrow.

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Daily reminders

I learned then that even when I felt powerless to control my job or education — or anything else that seemed out of my hands — I always had control over my own mind and how I treated others. Even when I had nothing else, I could still be kind, just, generous, honest, loving and compassionate.

~ Susan Fowler, from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/30/opinion/power-self-improvement.html

I find that I’ve often committed myself to an unmanageable number of responsibilities. There are so many things I have the personal power to do, that I seem to be compelled to constantly deploy my power. Worse, I feel guilty if I’m not constantly applying my power towards some goal. I end up with a forest of goals and a feeling of being trapped. Shortly after feeling trapped, I find myself sinking into the pits of dispair on the shore of the lake of learned helplessness.

One habit I’ve built to try to keep myself entirely away from that lake is a collection of daily reminders. Ever the process maniac, I have them in my personal task management system in a rotation that brings one up each day. There are enough of them that even though they are in a fixed order I never know which is next. Each feels like a fresh reminder. They are collected from Ben Franklin, Leo Babauta and some other places I’ve neglected to keep track of.

They are:

  1. AM I AN ENERGY-GIVER OR -TAKER?
  2. BECOME MINDFUL OF ATTACHMENTS THAT LEAD TO CLUTTER AND COMPLEXITY — For example, if you are attached to sentimental items, you won’t be able to let go of clutter. If you are attached to living a certain way, you will not be able to let go of a lot of stuff. If you are attached to doing a lot of activities and messaging everyone, your life will be complex.
  3. TEMPERANCE — Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  4. Habit 1: Be proactive — While the word proactivity is now fairly common in management literature, it is a word you won’t find in most dictionaries. It means more than meerly taking initiative. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.
  5. AM I LIKELY TO “ACT” OR “REACT” TO A TASK?
  6. SILENCE — Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  7. Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind — Each part of your life can be examined in the context of the whole, of what really matters most to you. By keeping that end clearly in mind you can make certain that whatever you do on any particular day does not violate the criteria you have defined as supremely important, and that each day of your life contributes in a meaningful way to the vision you have to your life as a whole.
  8. DISTRACTION, BUSYNESS AND CONSTANT SWITCHING ARE MENTAL HABITS — We don’t need any of these habits, but they build up over the years because they comfort us. We can live more simply by letting go of these mental habits. What would life be like without constant switching, distraction and busyness?
  9. ORDER — Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  10. Habit 3: Put first things first — The degree to which we have developed our independent will in our everyday lives is measured by our personal integrity. Integrity is, fundamentally, the value we place on ourselves. It’s our ability to take and keep commitments to ourselves, to “walk our talk.” It’s honor with self, a fundamental part of the Character Ethic, the essence of proactive growth.
  11. AM I AUTHENTIC OR OBSEQUIOUS?
  12. SINGLE-TASK BY PUTTING YOUR LIFE IN FULL-SCREEN MODE — Imagine that everything you do — a work task, answering an email or message, washing a dish, reading an article — goes into full-screen mode, so that you don’t do or look at anything else. You just inhabit that task fully, and are fully present as you do it. What would your life be like? In my experience, it’s much less stressful when you work and live this way. Things get your full attention, and you do them much better. And you can even savor them.
  13. RESOLUTION — Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  14. Habit 4: Think win/win — Most people tend to think in terms of dichotomies: strong or weak, hardball or softball, win or lose. But that kind of thinking is fundamentally flawed. It’s based on power and position rather than on principle. Win/Win is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others.
  15. HOW DO I TREAT SOMEONE I DON’T KNOW?
  16. FRUGALITY — Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  17. Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood — You’ve spent years learning how to read and write, years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training or education have you had that enables you to listen so that you really, deeply understand another human being from that individual’s own frame of reference?
  18. CREATE SPACE BETWEEN THINGS — Add padding to everything. Do half of what you imagine you can do. We tend to cram as much as possible into our days. And this becomes stressful, because we always underestimate how long things will take, and we forget about maintenance tasks like putting on clothes and brushing teeth and preparing meals. We never feel like we have enough time because we try to do too much. But what would it be like if we did less? What would it be like if we padded how long things took, so that we have the space to actually do them well, with full attention? What would it be like if we took a few minutes’ pause between tasks, to savor the accomplishment of the last task, to savor the space between things, to savor being alive?
  19. INDUSTRY — Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  20. Habit 6: Synergize — What is synergy? Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that the relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in and of itself. It is not only a part, but the most catalytic, the most empowering, the most unifying, and the most exciting part.
  21. IS THERE AN ELEMENT OF STRUGGLE IN MY HISTORY?
  22. MY OATH — Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I shall make no excuses and hold no grudges. I care not where I came from, only where I am going. I don’t compare myself to others, only to myself from yesterday. I shall not brag about successes nor complain about my struggles, but share my experiences and help my fellows. I know I impact those around me with my actions, and so I must move forward, every day. I acknowledge fear, doubt, and despair, but I do not let them defeat me.
  23. SINCERITY — Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  24. Habit 7: Sharpen the saw — It’s preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It’s renewing the four dimensions of your nature: physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional. … “Sharpen the saw” basically means expressing all four motivations. It means exercising all four dimensions of our nature, regularly and consistently in wise and balanced ways.
  25. WHAT HAVE I BEEN READING?
  26. JUSTICE — Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  27. FIND JOY IN A FEW SIMPLE THINGS — For me, those include writing, reading/learning, walking and doing other active things, eating simple food, meditating, spending quality time with people I care about. Most of that doesn’t cost anything or require any possessions (especially if you use the library for books!). I’m not saying I have zero possessions, nor that I only do these few things. But to the extent that I remember the simple things I love doing, my life suddenly becomes simpler. When I remember, I can let go of everything else my mind has fixated on, and just find the simple joy of doing simple activities.
  28. MODERATION — Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  29. WOULD I WANT TO GO ON A LONG CAR RIDE WITH ME?
  30. GET CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT, AND SAY NO TO MORE THINGS — We are rarely very clear on what we want. When we see someone post a photo of something cool, we might all of a sudden get fixed on doing that too, and suddenly the course of our lives veer off in a new direction. Same thing if we read about something cool, or watch a video of a new destination or hobby. When someone invites us to something cool, we instantly want to say yes, because our minds love saying yes to everything, to all the shiny new toys. What if we became crystal clear on what we wanted in life? If we knew what we wanted to create, how we wanted to live … we could say yes to these things, and no to everything else. Saying no to more things would simplify our lives.
  31. CLEANLINESS — Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  32. AM I SELF-AWARE?
  33. TRANQUILLITY — Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  34. PRACTICE DOING NOTHING, EXQUISITELY — How often do we actually do nothing? OK, technically we’re always “doing something,” but you know what I mean — just sit there and do nothing. No need to plan, no need to read, no need to watch something, no need to do a chore or eat while you do nothing. Just don’t do anything. Don’t accomplish anything, don’t take care of anything. What happens is you will start to notice your brain’s habit of wanting to get something done — it will almost itch to do something. This exposes our mental habits, which is a good thing. However, keep doing nothing. Just sit for awhile, resisting the urge to do something. After some practice, you can get good at doing nothing. And this leads to the mental habit of contentment, gratitude without complaining.
  35. CHASTITY — Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  36. WHAT IS MY TALK-TO-LISTEN RATIO?
  37. WE CREATE OUR OWN STRUGGLES — All the stress, all the frustrations and disappointments, all the busyness and rushing … we create these with attachments in our heads. By letting go, we can relax and live more simply.
  38. HUMILITY — Imitate Socrates.

Update Oct 2019: Added the seven habits of highly effective people from Stephen Covey’s book.

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