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Do You Know How to Make the Hard Choices?

DO YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE THE HARD CHOICES?

So I started a little experiment with myself at the beginning of July. More on that later. I promise it’ll tie in to my WAKEUP Call this week. What I really want to talk to you about is what this experiment uncovered for me.

See, I struggle – hard – with procrastination. I’m not the guy buying tickets the moment they go on sale. I’m not the guy waiting in line for 14 hours for the latest iPhone. I’m the last to board the plane. You get the picture. There’s just something about me and my habits and patterns that don’t make me the most proactive person.  

Procrastination is an art that I’ve gotten really good at. I procrastinate A LOT it’s just the way it is.

I’ve tried talking to people about it to help me get over it and they say things like, “Oh, you’re just a perfectionist. That’s why you procrastinate,” or, “Jay, you need to learn time management and how to delegate better.” Sure I could take that advice on, but for whatever reason I’ve made the choice not to.

So that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

How do we do the things we don’t want to, even though we know we should be doing them?

How do you get the energy, motivation, and inspiration to show up to do the things where you’d rather get a root canal than do them?

It all comes down to daily choices that become habits. I’m not making this shit up – it’s neuroscience.

So what is a choice?

A choice is different to a decision. A choice means you have several options to choose from. A decision is the set of circumstances that surround those options that motivate the choice. Those circumstances could include some preconceived bias that you have, facts, data, or information that you have to weigh to make your choice.

We’ve all been there, choosing to hit the snooze button, waking up late, and panicking then thinking to ourselves, “What fabricated excuse am I going to use today to explain being 35 minutes late?”

What those experiences do, is they light a fire under your butt because humans are motivated by pain. Pain is the greatest motivator and there are many different kinds…

Fear

Intimidation

Bullying

FOMO (fear of missing out)

Embarrassment or fear of looking bad

Learning this made me realize that the first 25 years of my life were driven by that fear of looking bad.

How much of our lives do we live with that fear of looking bad? Fear of getting something wrong, fear of getting blamed for something you didn’t do, fear of putting yourself out there and being judged by colleagues, friends, family.

That’s where the danger lies. Fear of looking bad is the trap that causes us to fold and make the choice to follow the path of least resistance because we assume through our own insecurities that the rest of the world is seeing us the way we see ourselves.

And slowly we begin to compromise internally…

We compromise ourselves

We compromise true desires

We compromise our goals

We choose image, reputation, and other people’s thoughts and judgements over what we know in our gut is right.

So here it is…the discovery I’ve made to combat this…

What I’ve discovered is…let’s just call it a different algorithm or formula that you use to derive the choices that you make. And before you start complaining, yes, it involves a lot of internal dialogue. So get comfortable having conversations with YOU.

So, what’s the secret? How do we overcome the gremlins that live in our heads? How do we make choices that ultimately serve us? The only way I’ve found is using the age old technique of repetition.

Over the years I’ve gotten mentally lazy. That may seem counterproductive to the point I’m trying to make here, but bear with me. I’ve gotten mentally lazy in the sense that once something becomes a habit or a pattern it doesn’t take effort anymore. If it’s something that you’ve mastered it no longer takes as much time and energy and motivation to get the job done. We go into autopilot.

There is a HUGE risk here though, and that’s the risk of becoming complacent and when we become complacent we stop growing.

So if you’re struggling with getting results in your life or your business it’s always a result of doing the things that you know you shouldn’t be doing. Or NOT doing the things you should.

So to counteract that, you’ve got to reprogram the circuitry in your brain.

How you feel when you wake up in the morning

How you feel when you open your laptop

How you feel when you get up to go for a run

How you feel when you order your dinner

You need to change the internal dialogue…

“Should I have the grilled salmon or the ribeye steak?…Well I had salmon last week and I haven’t had steak in a while and if I’m having steak I might as well get the mashed potatoes and cream sauce to go with it and really I can’t have steak without a glass of red to go with it.”

It all starts with that initial choice to start a domino effect of making good decisions that will get you the results you want for your life…and that choice comes from your gut.

Listen to your gut not your brain.

Release attachment from comfort and status quo. Because by doing this we stand a better chance of not following the path of least resistance or just taking the easy way out. Disrupt your flow. Disrupt your status quo.

I mentioned an experiment I started back at the start of July. It all started with the little goal cards that we sell on the WAKEUP store. They’re the same size, thickness, texture, and weight as a credit card. That’s no accident. We use our credit cards to easily buy things that we want, but these WAKEUP goal cards aren’t designed to get things they’re designed to put something out into the universe.

So on July 1st, I created a meta story, wrote it on a card, put it in my pocket, and kept it there every single day so that any time I opened my wallet I’d see it. My goal was to have a record month in July, which is historically one of the lowest sales months of the year.

Throughout the month, without tracking the sales numbers, I focused on this goal and because I had that internal drive, the things I normally didn’t want to do became things that I didn’t mind doing because I knew it was getting me closer to that result. I shifted that internal dialogue and all of a sudden, those choices became a little less difficult.

I shook it up. I changed the wiring in my brain. I stepped out of the status quo and guess what…we had a record month.

So whatever necessity you have in your life right now, whatever meta story you’ve written for yourself, use that to reset your inner dialogue. And don’t EVER let anyone tell you you can’t have your cake and eat it too, because you can.

From the depths and the ashes come the greatest strengths. Just on the other side of your biggest weaknesses and failures and roadblocks lay your biggest opportunities and your biggest victories.

Don’t ever forget that, don’t ever roll over and tap out, don’t ever fold, and don’t ever give in to the fear of looking bad.

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1 comment

  1. Eileen 5 August, 2017 at 15:15 Reply

    It’s a relief to know that even the dude at the top arm wrestles with procrastination. As I work through (and that is an understatement) Stuart Lichtman’s book I’m realizing that the mind is a vast quagmire of tangled experiences and assumptions. Seriously, I’m surprised I can get anything done for the noise inside my noodle… Making friends with my subconscious is long overdue and well worth the time and effort. Even if it delays my 90-day quest to “put points on the board” I’m going to take my time to get it right. I think it will make all the difference.

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