#041: Exercise: Stop being confused - Define the problem and solve it.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 48 seconds (1162 words)
Summary: This post could change your life! If you just want to make hitting your goals easy, try this exercise for 5 days. It’s been the most effective way of getting things done. At the end of this post I share a 12 minute meditation that will help you integrate the exercise in your life. You will have a mental image of exactly what you need to do to hit your goal. If you’re frustrated with all the guru content out there that doesn’t work, try this exercise, I guarantee you will see at least 10%-25% performance improvement if you do it today. I use it everyday in my journaling.
The more I write on my blog, the more I feel I am gaining clarity…the blog started as a way to bring journaling to life.
Today I wanted to share a process you can do anytime you get stuck towards your goal. It’s easy and highly effective.
I want to make a video on this post soon. I want to share my screen and walk through this exercise, it’s so good!
In previous blog posts I’ve discussed how the antithesis of productivity = distraction. This post is a part 2.
There are 2 types of distraction:
1. External distractions: For example, social media, YouTube, phone notifications, news articles, etc.
2. Internal conflict: The inner chatter. Ex. Should I eat this or not? I should probably doing something else than watching this YouTube video. This is where we lose most of our day-to-day energy.
We can overcome this by building a routine for everything. I know it sounds boring, but follow with me, it will make sense at the end of this post.
Experimenting On Myself
Ray Dalio, author of Principles and a fellow ENTP states:
“In the end, productivity is all that matters” - Ray Dalio
After drilling down and finding out I am an ENTP (after doing the MBTI) I’ve found out my strengths and weaknesses.
ENTP’s love to work on projects they are passionate about and feel might change the world. Being positive and optimistic is a natural trait. Starting projects and innovating on ideas for the future, is what we love to do.
But due to ENTP enthusiasm for novelty, one of our weaknesses is finishing projects to the end.
We feel that by focusing down on a task will take us away from something else that might be more bigger and exciting. So literally every project has to feel like its life or death to keep our interest. It’s intense.
I like a lot of the spiritual self-help gurus out there, with their focus on mindfulness and positivity, but they leave out the hellish action it takes to bring dreams to life.
In business, wishing or believing in something, will not make it come to life.
“If I only had one hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes defining the question and the remaining 5 minutes solving it”
Make it clear what the problem is that you’re trying to solve.
Exercise: The Psychology of My Goal
Take out a piece of paper and answer these questions.
Goal: What is your goal? Why must this happen? What does your world look like if it happens? Include 5 senses and be visual.
Problem: Write a list - What are the 20 things blocking me from my goal? What’s the absolute worst that can happen?
Make a list of everything preventing you from hitting your goal.
Often these are things your mind will say to yourself. Include words that jogs your senses like see, touch, taste, hear, feel, know, etc.
Einstein says focusing on the right question is 90% of the work. We will discover the blockages inside and out.
Solution: Write simple solution you can take action on today. The solution should be obvious as you wrote out the problems. Use words like see, touch, taste, hear, feel, know, etc.
Consequences: If I don’t do this, what will my life look like in 3 years?
As Einstein says, if we are trying to solve a problem that our life depends on, spend 55 minutes defining all aspects of the problem. The solution is always simple.
Example on myslef:
I want to wake up everyday productive at 4:45 am everyday (including weekends).
What is your goal? Why must this happen? What does your world look like if it happens?
Goal?: Wake up at 4:45 am
Why?: Be productive. Complete 1 major important task before everyone in the house wakes up at 7 am.
What will my life look like?:My life will be 100x better. I will be able to get the most important task done before I actually start my work day. Doing this task everyday for 30 days will have a compound effect on everything around me.
Write a list: What are the 20 things blocking me from my goal? Include 5 senses.
Can’t get things done early.
Not falling asleep early enough
Frustration from lack of time to get things done
Not immediately getting up
Waking up confused
House being quiet when I wake up, makes me want to go back to sleep
Not going outside immediately
Not splashing cold water on face
Not listening to music when I wake up
Unclear morning routine
No “waking up habit” has been developed.
Evenings are only free time I have after kids are asleep for productivity.
Bed which is the most comfortable place in the world, easy to fall asleep again
When my eyes open, I am not motivated to get up.
Have a long day ahead of me, might as well enjoy sleep
On YouTube before sleep.
Arrive from work late in evening.
Internet distraction in evening.
3. Write simple solution. Include 5 senses.
In the evening, stop doing any task and go to bed at 9 pm.
When I wake up I’m 100% clear that I splash my face with water > drink 3 glasses of water > get changed > put on headphones with a 1 hour “celebration” song > and go outside for a run.
4. If I don’t do this, what will my life look like in 3 years?
If I don’t do it, the 20 problems I listed will keep happening and I won’t be productive first thing in the morning.
It will have a side effect and I will miss out on opportunities since I will be overloaded during the day with things to do.
After doing this exercise you will realize that it’s easy to overcome inner chatter just by writing out what you’ve faced in the past. By going inward and writing out the problems you face.
Remember, getting solutions to problems is easy with a Google search, that’s the easy part.
But doing this exercise will bring out the inner demons holding you back and will give you a tailor made solution to achieve your goal…by identifying clearly what’s holding you back.
What you may find is without writing out your inner and external distractions, the mindset to achieve a goal doesn’t stick like the way this exercise does.
If we don’t define our problems clearly, we don’t know the specific internal and external dialogue (distraction) that is getting in our way.
This is tailor made to your goal.
After completing this exercise, before you start taking action, listen to this meditation. It will guide you through visualizing your solution. The more you practice, the easier it gets.
The audio will go through the “The Mirror of the Mind” technique at the 04:30 point in the audio below.