Today’s post is a guest post from my friend Saad – a freelance copywriter and personal development junkie. I’ve talked about the power of consistency, and doing a little bit each and every day a few times on my blog (Book Review of The Slight Edge, Practicing Simple Daily Disciplines to the C-Suite, and My Goals for 2018), and Saad is another subscriber to this lifestyle and philosophy. I’ve worked with Saad on a number of projects and love his writing style. In this post, he will share how you can achieve any goal (hint: consistency is key).
Hello, my name is Saad. Today, I want to tell you the story of how I became an extrovert.
But make no mistake, this isn’t a story of just how to become social. This is a story about how you can achieve any goal, no matter how unattainable it may seem (unless you want heat vision or teleportation… for that you’re gonna need a genie and three wishes 😉 ).
Growing up an Introvert
A bit of backstory, I was painfully shy back in high school. I’m talking next level… having no friends and spending my entire time in the library.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. Other than the fact that I was miserable.
You see, it’s not that I didn’t want to meet people. It’s just that I didn’t know how. So comes time to go to college and I had enough.
I swore to myself I’d learn how to be social and meet people anywhere. That was my goal.
Now, one of the perks of being a bookworm is that you read a lot. Thinking of a way to get out of my shell, I thought back to a book I had read: The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.
The idea in the book was simple. Do something enough times so your mind is accustomed to it. You no longer have to exert willpower to do it.
Make it Routine and Don’t Break the Chain
Think to your day to day routine. When you wake up, do you actively have to think about putting on your slippers?
No, you don’t. Do you have to think about brushing your teeth?
Most likely not. You just full on entering zombie mode and waddle yourself across to the good ol’ washroom and start brushing away.
You’ve done these tasks enough time that your mind doesn’t need to think about it anymore. I wanted socializing to be one of those things.
Now I knew what to do. But how long would I have to do it?
After doing a bit of research, I found my answer. A while back there was a trend going on the internet called ‘Don’t break the chain.’ It was pioneered by Jerry Seinfeld, he used it as a way to make sure he practiced his comedy routines.
Look at the calendar below:
What Jerry would do is really basic. Every single day, he would practice and he’d put an X on the calendar.
What happens next is fascinating. When he put down a few X’s it became much harder for him to skip practice. Because he was so used to feeling satisfaction from putting an ‘X’ down, that he just couldn’t do it.
Hence, I also tried to ‘not break the chain’.
Meet a New Person Each Day
I decided on a pretty difficult goal: every single day I would talk to a new person. No matter the situation.
Whether or not I was busy, had a midterm or wasn’t in school that day, I would go out and say hi to one new person.
The first few days, every fiber of my body was pulling the other way not to do it. It was painful.
For me, personally, it’s usually the first eight to ten days I decided to take on a new habit. It’s just very painful to go through with it.
Because you leave your comfort zone. I hate to admit it, for most people including me, my comfort zone is laziness.
Not doing is much easier than doing, which usually my mind gravitates towards. But something magical happens after the first ten days.
I started to enjoy talking to people. A lot.
Socializing started to become a part of my life. And I got my X’s, all 30 of them.
And whenever I’d go to parties, be in class or go to a networking event, meeting new people was something I wanted to do.
This seemed too easy to be true. Is talking to one person a day really enough?
Let’s break it down.
Today: I’ve talked to one person.
This week: I’ve talked 7 people.
This month: I’ve talked to 30 – 31 people.
This year: I’ve met 365 people.
Now that’s some networking right there. Imagine how much better your social skills would be if you met 365 new people this year?
Make Excellence a Habit
Aristotle had a great quote to reflect this (Yeah I was a philosophy major, so you can tell I’m fanboying a bit):
Every single day you wake up, you decide what kind of future you want.
People who amass huge wealth through personal finance and reach tremendous heights don’t do it in a day.
Everyone wants to see the great result at the end of someone’s journey.
They want to see Michael Jordan scoring the game-winning basket.
They want to see the glory when SpaceX has a successful launch on their latest rocket.
But no one thinks about:
How many hours he’s practiced basketball. Doing little drills over and over again just to get them right.
How many failed launches SpaceX has had and how many all-nighters Elon Musk had to pull through to get that one successful launch.
Small disciplines performed over a long period of time will bring you life-changing results.
For me, I want to become a freelance writer and make a living from it. When I first started it was really scary.
I had no idea how to start or what to even do. But I thought about it and came to a conclusion: if I write every single day for an hour a day, I’ll be a good writer. I keep at it day in and day out and make sure I write every single day.
Hey, if you’re reading this far I’m probably doing something right 🙂
And doing this day in and day out has opened doors I never thought would be open for me. For the first time in a while, I finally feel like I’ll be able to make it in the wild west of freelancing!
The only thing I have to thank is consistency.
What are your goals?
Now it’s your turn. I’d love to know what goals you have.
And if you have them, consider the following:
- What can I do today to get a bit closer to my goal?
- What can I do this week to get closer to my goal?
- What can I do this month?
- What can I do this year?
Big goals are scary.
Breaking them down into mini goals gives you the confidence to achieve them.
Thank you Saad for writing this awesome post. I’m very happy we have a similar mindset with regards to consistency and doing just a little more each and every day. If you’d like to see more about Saad or learn about copywriting, check out his site at CopyCandid.