It’s your next great business idea.
It’s the thing you can do to just make some quick cash on the side.
It’s the side project that hasn’t really given you back anything.
All of these things are distractions.
They’re shiny red balls that catch our attention, lead us astray, and rob us of our effort.
They pull us away from doing the hard and difficult work of sticking to the path, gritting our teeth, and getting through the scary part of building our projects.
What will you have in place to protect yourself from the shiny red balls?
A candid mentor to call you out? A cash flow report to put your attention on survival? A time line you gave yourself and your business partner?
When your brain lights up at the sight of a shiny red ball and it’s all you can see, how will you snap yourself out of it?
If you know you can’t trust yourself in those moments, how will you get past them?
It’s up to your present self to protect and inform your future self.
Most of us think that if someone graduated from Princeton or Stanford, that they must really know what they’re doing.
Most of us trust the status quo that says “if an ivy league school vetted this person, then they’re good enough to work for me or on my project.”
You know what’s better?
No one will argue with your lack of certifications or degrees if you have a track record of executing.
Just start building.
If you build something today, you’ll already be ahead of every graduate who has “Microsoft Office” listed in the “Skills” section of their resume.
Just because a degree is the status quo doesn’t mean it’s important.
Results are what’s important.
There’s no need to focus on anything else.
Your brain is wired to rewire.
The saying in neuroscience is that brain cells that “fire together, wire together.”
The science-y name for it is neuroplasticity.
It means that you’re constantly creating circuits of neurons, and when you do something over and over, that task or habit gets easier. It also means that we’re not the same person today that we were last year, yesterday, or 5 minutes ago.
Whether you’re practicing the piano, reading a blog post, or hitting the snooze button, your brain is working 24/7.
But here’s the catch:
Your brain doesn’t know the difference between productive and preoccupied.
It only knows how to get better at thinking or doing whatever it is you’re thinking or doing right this instant.
You can probably guess what this means for healthy habit building.
What are some of the things we do that kill our time, resources, or mindset?
- Complaining, ranting, or raving.
- Binge watching Game of Thrones.
The only way to stop them is to start doing something else instead.
How will you replace them?
You’re the only one who can be responsible for the circuits in your brain. It’s your responsibility to catch yourself when you’re judging others or judging yourself. It’s your responsibility to call yourself out when you miss too many days of exercise, avoid the hard stuff, or beat yourself up over something.
You don’t need all the answers right now, but it helps to start thinking about them.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
What will you do today?