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Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Habits

March 13, 2015


I read a very good book last week "The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy, which really got me thinking about how I live my life day in and day out.  It made an incredible point about how our lives are shaped every single day from the habits we are practicing.  These habits create compounded results which can be great or terrible depending on the habit and our goals for our lives.  


What I love about this book is that it focuses on really where life is lived, day to day in the trenches.  John Lennon quoted "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" which makes the point that most people have plans, hopes, dreams, for their lives but then "life" happens and 10, 20, 50 years go by and they wind up in a place they had no intention of being.  


How does this happen?  


Why does this happen?  


How do people end up overweight when they really don't want to be, or in a career they hate, or in a marriage that is crumbling, or in a perpetual negative state in life?  What causes this?

The book makes the point that each day our habits mold our lives little by little, and weeks, months, and years with these habits compound and create the product of our life.  Success and failure in anything is not one huge event that happens but series of small incremental steps done through habit that adds up to the big thing we call success or failure.  


Are you overweight?  What are your daily eating and exercise habits?  


Do you want to change careers?  What is your daily reading and education habit to learn a new

career?  How much time do you waste watching TV out of habit?


Is your marriage suffering?  What is your habit for showing your spouse love and connection?


Constantly negative?  How do you habitually talk to yourself?  What is your inner monologue?


"We are what we continually do, excellence, then, is not an act but a habit" - Aristotle.  


The really interesting part in the book is that 70-80% of what we do every day is done out of habit and most people go through their day unconscious about the habits they have created for themselves.  The good and bad part about habits is that they are ingrained, and so they take up minimal cognitive power to execute.  This is great if your habits are healthy and bettering your life, awful if you have unhealthy habits that are slowly killing you.  Habits are ingrained like channels in our brain which makes them difficult to change at first, but repeating a new habit only three weeks to a month starts the imprinting process on your brain and after six months of repeating it is mostly unconscious.  


This really struck me and forced me to shed some light on my habits and make sure my habits were in congruence with my goals in life.  Blackpier Capital's mission is to provide incredible value to our clients through world class proprietary investment strategies.  


The key phrase that strikes me in this statement is "world class".  This phrase I do not take lightly.  To be world class at anything it means you must one be of the best in the world at what you do.  A world class athlete is one that competes and wins at the highest level.  So for my work in the firm to be "world class" I have to do my part in making sure each day, through my habits, I provide the groundwork to this success.  


Do I and the firm have "world class" habits?  Fortunately in both instances there were mostly good habits, but unfortunately there also were some bad ones that could slowly sabotage mine and the firm's goals.  The great part is now all the poor daily and weekly habits are known, which means progress can start in changing and molding new ones that fit and align with Blackpier Capital's mission.  


Probably the best news in this book is in order to change a habit, you don't have to change the world in one day.  You just have to start small with a change and just be consistent with it.  Like an alcoholic who is working to stay sober, you just try and execute one day at a time.  Don't try and build an entire brick wall in a day, just lay one brick as excellent as you can and soon each brick will make up an entire wall.  


Small changes in habit executed every single day make an enormous difference.  The best part is this progress is not linear, it’s exponential.  When people change one bad habit it not only changes that habit, but opens the door to changing other bad habits which then starts to completely change someone’s life.  The message to me was clear.  If you want to change your life, then change your habits.  


How are your habits?  How could changing one or two of them completely change the trajectory of your life?


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