Will and Skill(s)
As I am sitting here in my basement office, beginning this piece, I am now a 35-year old man.
Far too old to even attempt to enter the Navy, which would be the first step to becoming a Navy SEAL.
Nor would I even attempt it at this stage of my life. Devon and Braxton depend on me, but I have often fantasized what would have happened if I was a young, single guy and I had the wisdom of life that I have now, compared to when I was 20.
In my fantasy world, I think I could have made ‘it’. I wouldn’t be worried about the physical tests, but I was always highly intrigued by knowing whether or not I could have made it mentally.
The SEALS are known for their mental and physical toughness. I have read many SEAL books and have even employed some of their methods into some of the ‘mental toughness’ portions of workouts at Newell Strength and in my own training as well.
But enough of my fantasy world. Why I am talking about SEALs in this article?
Well, I’ll tell ya why…
SEALs to me are associated with a certain mindset. And this article my friend, is about the biggest mindset myth and a new way to achieve success.
In my humble opinion, the biggest mistake that people make in terms of trying to create a habit (your entire life is nothing but a bunch of habits: what you eat, how you work, whom you hang out with) is they rely on will-power.
Somewhere along the way, it was taught to us that will-power was the key to success. And while a little bit of it is great, too much will lead you right back to your starting point or perhaps even a lesser starting point from which you began.
The human brain (PFC) runs on will power. And that part of your brain runs on glucose. Once the glucose is ‘burned up’, you will go into a mental fog so to speak.
You have to let that area of your brain replenish before tapping back into it. Yes, you can try and push through it, but if you ever have in the past you will know that it feels like moving through quicksand.
And that is because you enter into a ‘tension zone’ and tension is pretty much like sand paper for creative thought.
What this also means though is that our supply of will power is finite. BUT, most people never use their will power at all.
They go through life like a robot, happy to be mediocre. They do what they are told and their entire life is one big comfy routine. They never try to get out of their comfort zone.
Being that most people never use their own will-power, you can and should use other people’s will power. How can you do this?
Simple, whatever it is that you are trying to do, whatever you are trying to achieve, tell them about it and tell them often. They are going to ask you about how your quest is coming along, and they will do this constantly if you tell enough people.
I’d say that nearly 100% of people that have lost significant amounts of weight and have kept it off have used this little trick. People start to cheer them on and every time they see them, they will ask, ‘How much more have you lost?’
I use weight as an example because the physical visual is very easy to comprehend. Now, if they used will power and didn’t tell anyone about their journey, you could be sure that they would have failed.
The brain doesn’t form habit around will-power based activities. The brain can only form habit around things it finds easy and pleasurable to do. So yes, you will need a little will power but that also means that you will have to rob it from other areas of your life.
Trying to become a best-selling author and lose 50 pounds at the same time? Good luck, unless you are writing a best-selling book about your journey in real time (which would actually be pretty smart now that I think about it).
Ok, so now that you have some understanding of the biggest myth of the mind; the myth of pushing through everything you don’t enjoy doing and hoping that success finds you on the other side of that rainbow, let’s move onto my new views on goals and goal setting.
I was recently exposed to an outside the box thought, one of the first that I have heard in quite some time and by that, I mean an idea that I have never heard anywhere else.
In the book, ‘How to Fail at Almost Anything and Still Win Big’ by Scott Adams (this will be this month’s book of the month), he talks about goals and they are the wrong way to go.
Goals leave us in an almost perpetual state of feeling like a failure, IF you set them like most people set them or if you even set goals at all.
We are never quite there when it comes to goals, so that will leave a feeling of: still haven’t made it or, man, I still have a long way to go’. Who wants to have our numero uno environment, your brain, having thoughts of failure constantly?
I sure don’t. But what’s the solution? It’s to have systems that you can work every single day. A system is binary, it’s did you do it today, or didn’t you? Systems are habits and now you can see why I am so intrigued by this idea.
Systems will move you towards anything you want to achieve and they will leave you each day feeling like a positive success.
This may take some thought on your part, so to help you along, here are some of my systems that I need to employ every day:
- Wake up by [4:30] AM at the latest every day
- Workout in the morning or get some kind of sweat on every single day
- Perform my ‘brain’ exercises immediately after taking the dogs for their walk, first thing in the morning
- Setting my schedule for tomorrow, the night before. And doing a recap of the current day.
I have more, and I won’t explain why I do each of these just now because this is quite lengthy and I want to make sure you get through this before that brain sugar burns off.
I do know though that if I do these systems every day, I will move closer and closer to what I want to achieve in life. Notice too that there are no specific goals because a specific goal would be just that, a goal. These are general systems, although specific to me, that will and have been working magic in my life.
Enjoy your newfound brain knowledge and as always, be sure to put it to use. Otherwise, you just wasted 10 minutes reading this. Peace.