We are certainly walking paradoxes. We all want to do something big and be successful. Unfortunately, very often we get stuck in the rut or in the mode of learned helplessness.
We just lie there in a puddle of our tears and weakness. Every now and then when someone passes us by, we cast them a most imploring look with a silent request “help”. But the help never comes.
Two Typical Strategies To Make Progress
I believe that maybe 0,001 percent of all the people have this natural, inner motivation that allows them to always work at full capacity. No matter what they do, they always do their best.
But what about the rest of us, mere mortals?
We are royally screwed. Usually, we are doomed to use two compensatory strategies:
Building habits is the best way to guarantee the long-term success. Having a habit means that your brain doesn’t have to spend much energy to perform a given activity. What’s more, the activity itself is usually the source of constant satisfaction. After all, you are doing something productive every day!
Using external motivation
Even though the consistency is the key, a short sprint every now and then might help your progress skyrocket. This is what allows you to grow and develop fast – short spurts of concentrated focus.
Think about a physical development, for instance. If you do 20 push-ups per day, you will get bigger and fitter only for some time and then hit the wall. However, if you force yourself to put some more effort once per week, you will keep on growing and developing.
The thing is that usually it’s difficult to get a grip on yourself and actually do something.
That’s why you need a gentle reminder to get off your butt. A gentle kick, if you will. Actually, the truth is that you probably need a boot so far up your ass that it will act as a pacemaker.
The Impossible Tuesday – What Is it All About?
I decided that on this very day, I will always try to push myself to do something impossible. Something I would never do normally because it’s too tiring and uncomfortable.
- learning 800 words during one day
- talking to myself for 6 hours in Russian
- doing 400 push-ups
we can do things we have never thought we could.
Bets as the primary tools of The Impossible Tuesdays
If you decide that you’re in. You should know how to properly push yourself to do the impossible. Bets are the perfect tool for this purpose. It doesn’t matter how much you love doing something, there is always some border which you won’t cross. It’s uncomfortable, after all. I sure love learning new words but usually, after getting to one hundred I call it quits.
Here is how bets work:
- Choose a GOAL you want to achieve
- Determine your TIME HORIZON (1 day in our case)
- BET with someone that you’ll achieve
- Choose your PUNISHMENT in case you fail to deliver (20$ for example)
- Send evidence to your bet buddy
Keep in mind that bets are fully flexible. You can mold them and twist them as much as you like to fit your goals.
How To Make Your Effort Count
If you already do something, do 4-5 times as much as you usually do
If you normally do 10 pushups, do 40.If you noramlly read 20 pages of a book, read one hundred. Make yourself sweat and squeal.
If you want to take up a new activity – just do it
Break it down into many sessions
That’s why make sure you always break the entire process into many chunks.
Identify “the dead time” and use it
Dead time is the time spent doing activities which don’t absorb all of our attention.
What can be your goal?
- learning new words (e.g. in ANKI)
- creating new flashcards
- listening to something
- reading articles in a foreign language
- reading books
- Brainstorm a problem you have
- Come up with X ideas to improve some aspect of your life
- Come up with a new product you can sell
- Write X pages of something
- starting a website
- setting up your own company
- writing a computer program
The Final Words + The Invitation
Every idea needs a critical mass to gain motion. I don’t know if this will work out or maybe I will have to bury the hatchet in this idea. It’s up to you. However, if you decide to take part in, post your goals in the comments together with your bet.
If you can’t think of anything right now, think about it and post it later. On Wednesday come back and post your result as a reply to your original comment.
Who knows? Maybe this is the sign you have been waiting for!
If, however, you decide to bury this idea, know that you will have dirt on your hands. The dirt that is soaked in guilt and shame. The stains left by it will taint your soul permanently and they will never go away. They will keep growing until they spill onto your very existence polluting everyone you love. It will …
Ok, ok. No more guilt-tripping! Join me in the comments! We will see how it goes and hopefully, we will make it a permanent thing.