As Woody Allen once said, “80% of success is showing up in the right place at the right time.” This quote is used to motivate people to start working on what they want to achieve. But behind the pithy quote, it’s easy to lose sight of an important detail. 80% of success is about being in the right place. Every. Day.
From fuzzy to goal-seeking
Most people have vague aspirations. If you ask them what they want, they might answer “more money,” or “a strong family,” or “a good job and a nice car. There are occasional refinements, such as exactly how many children or exactly how much money, but these aspirations very rarely translate into goals.
Goals, as opposed to vague desires, usually involve a definite path and an understanding of what events should happen.
The process of moving from vague aspirations to goals is something worth paying attention to. To be present where you need to be, you need to ask yourself: What exactly do you need?
Do you want “more money”? You can start asking for alms. In a day you will have a little more money.
Want to “lose weight”? Head to the treadmill or to the bathroom.
What if you want to make your regular monthly earnings double?
If you want to lose 10 pounds by summer and be toned?
Such goals are likely to require systematic work.
From goal to habit
If you find yourself in the right place one day, you will overtake many people who are guided by vague aspirations, but still be behind those who have already achieved something.
Once you have an idea of the goal and what needs to be done to achieve it, you will need to show up in the right place every day. Start developing the habit.
If you want to get stronger, start going to the gym systematically. It is not enough to go to the gym once. You really need to create a system of conditions to ensure that you are there every day.
You may not have to be there physically every day, but psychologically you should be aware of your presence in the place. Treat creating a better image of yourself like building a house systematically from first to last brick.
When you go from goal to habit, you will outperform your potential competitor by 80%.
Different people act according to different assumptions. If you are a conscientious person, your habits should create a sense of productivity and accomplishment. If you are an open person, your habits should foster creativity and the expression of your true self.
Adjust your habits to suit you and play to those strengths that make you most effective.
From habit to efficiency
Habits work on two levels:
- They allow you to gradually approach bigger goals and develop the state of mind and body you need to be more functional.
- Habits that increase your productivity track your habits with time tracking and invoicing software, along with your sense of self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy is a sense of one’s own ability to achieve something. This trait can be “pumped up” like a muscle to handle more weight.
If you tried to lift three times your own weight but had never done a single squat in your life before, you would give up instantly and never go back to the gym again out of frustration.
If you tried to immediately arrive at the ultimate goal by skipping the small tasks leading up to it, you would instantly give up and become disillusioned with it.
Develop self-efficacy by regularly repeating habitual actions that you are guaranteed to accomplish and achieving goals that will gradually increase.