This past week has not gone totally according to plan for me. It looked like everything I touched or did went in the wrong direction. My goals are clear, my values are crystal clear, but... my execution of the plan(s)... is somewhat reminiscent of the now famous a one-legged duck 🦆... I know that life is a continuous cycle gorging of opportunities for either betterment or failure, but when it goes too much on the wrong side of the middle ground, some recalibration is required.So, what is it that we can recalibrate when it goes wrong too often? I have opted for this simple view:
- The learning
- The forgetting
- The making of habits
- The execution
First, let's tackle the learning. The most painful mistakes and the most sticky learning ares the ones you make based on your own experiences. Although there is value in getting things wrong, learning, and improving, this can take a lot of time, going through many cycles of (sorry, no other word for it) fucking it up! Then, the ultimate reward, the satisfaction of getting it right, seems permanently delayed or at the very least not always optimal...
Fortunately, help is in the air! Have you heard of OPM? Yes? Other People's Money? The concept is that you can leverage other people's money, and by doing so, achieve your goals faster. Well, for a few minutes only, let's pretend that OPM has another meaning. Still a powerful one mind you: Other People's Mistakes. Yep, I can never stress it enough: the wisdom of a multitude of successful, powerful, blablaful people is out there in the air. You just have to capture it by reading from them, a little bit more as each day goes by. Learning from other people's mistakes is a good way to achieve your goals faster.
Now, the bad news with learning, is that even if you learned a very good lesson, there is still a good chance that one day, you will forget it. In fact, this is just what happened to me. I knew very well what I should have done, how I should have planned, and how I should have executed. I learned this particular lesson many times in the past. But for some inexplicable reason... I forgot about it. Or maybe more appropriately, a part of my brain did not want to know that it knew how to perform, and instead decided to take this shortcut: the auto-pilot habit-driven behaviour (no brain in control, just a lizard on auto-pilot).
My friend, take note as this is super-important: we need to connect the learning with a habit. Or at any moment in time, we risk forgetting the learning (which means to go in "brain-taking-shortcuts" mode). Until it becomes a habit, the learning is just a selfish moment of pride. And like any moment, it is only temporary. To be useful, any past lesson learned needs to be transformed into a habit.
HaHa 💡💡💡 Learning needs to be transformed into habit, so that when our lizard behaviour comes back, the brain on auto-pilot finds the shortcut which is the proper habit, i.e. the proper lesson learned. There is a lot less to worry about execution of a plan when your lizard self becomes a Quantum Lizard.
Now, how do you reprogram your lizard-self? Well, I have opted for a simple strategy. As my iPhone reminds me weekly, I look at it way too many times a day. So I have decided to replace the background images by some text and images reminding me of very powerful lessons that I cannot afford to forget ever again. I will probably be forced to look at them 20, 30 or more times a day for many weeks. That should help build the lizard's habit. In turn, that will improve the execution. Hopefully now, the conscious-Me will always be in good execution mode, and the Quantum-Lizard-Me will take better shortcuts.
But just before I let you go, there is one more thing I need to add to this trilogy. As I was rediscovering all this learning / forgetting / habit driven execution, it became very clear to me that I forgot an important group in my list of values. How did I not include this? On top of the previous "I need", "I offer", "I aspire" and "I take for granted", I absolutely must have this new category: "I would benefit having". This is not the same as "I aspire". In the aspiring category, it is what I want for my future-self. The "I would benefit having" is more like what values other people interacting with me would think I'd be better-off acquiring.
What a jerk! Considering that I screwed-up on elementary execution plans, I am going to add one more value straight to the top of this new category: humility.
To your journey!