Changing your Defaults

Individual progression has been a lot on my mind the past weeks. This should apply to both professional and personal growth. I've been occupied with smoking less, with the goal of eventually stopping. That actually brought a rat tail of other things with it, the person I want to be, how quickly I want to take action on all the emails that spill into my inbox day by day and so on.

Delivering projects for my day job and my clients without indulging in professional idiotism or too much perfectionism goes along as much as not trying to damage my health. The empty email inbox is just a symbol of getting things done, being more flexible and responsive as before.

It's the symbol of not having things pile up, having a desk that's barely standing the weight of the papers you should take care of at some point. That's changing your default state.

I want to be:

  • rested, not tired
  • wary of expenses, not broke
  • respond immediately, not two weeks after
  • prepared for failure, not thrown into chaos by it

All the steps in between and to reach that new default state are hard. If you know a smoker or if you have smoked yourself, you know it is hard to not smoke, feel bad because of that and feel worse for re-lapsing back into smoking. The point is, you still end up with fewer cigarettes smoked over the course of some weeks. The worst thing you can do is to feel bad about yourself, without taking action.

Feeling like crap literally doesn't get you anywhere. Just try again despite your frustration and accept you can't break your own record every day. You're not going to beat your previous best every time, but if you give up because of that, you don't deserve any progress at all.

I can only refer to a great article on the blog of the great folks of buffer, that everyone should read that's trying to accomplish anything: The Habits of Successful People: Thinking in Ratios. If you go out running, you'll maybe beat your personal best, 1 out of 5 times, but you'll still be minutes faster at the end of the year.

In the end, I want to be a better person 99% of the time and not be a great person by a rare chance. I'm trying to alter my habits in order to be in another default state when I get an emergency call from a client or get put on a late shift at work because somebody called in sick. If I'd be on the edge of exhaustion or behind on literally everything I do, this would throw me off my game. By just adjusting many things in moderation, but continuously, I think that's going to get me there.

Thank you for reading! If you have any comments, additions or questions, please tweet or toot them at me!