Every time I write a book, and I mean EVERY time, I reach a point about half way in when it all looks like its falling apart. The idea now sounds stupid, the characters aren’t working, the prose blows chunks, the images and impressions make no sense. In Lifewriting terms, this is the “Dark Night of the Soul” of the process. I have lost all perspective on WHY I want to do it. And for years, I would talk to Nicki’s mom Toni, and say the following: “Sweetie…do I always reach a point where every project feels like it’s turning into puree of bat shit?”
And she would laugh, and answer “Yes, babe. Every single time.” And because I have faith that she wouldn’t lie to me, faith that my own memory that she is right means that I WILL get on the other side, I remember WHY I wanted to write that AMAZING idea, and keep slogging forward another step, and another step, taking pleasure in knowing I’m keeping my word, doing what I said, being who I am committed to be…until one day I look up and OH MY GOD…IT’S A BOOK!!
A friend who works at a major technology firm manages hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts. It is hard, sometimes exhausting, but she is committed to being the best she can be, rising up through the ranks, and mentoring those around her. Recently she noticed that her team members seemed to be running out of gas. They snapped at each other, dragged their feet, couldn’t engage in brain storming sessions, and in general seemed to have lost the “oomph” they had when she hired them
She was mystified, before she asked herself why SHE rarely ran out of gas, and wondered if the process she went through daily might have an answer. She asked her team members “what are your goals?” and was surprised to learn that…they didn’t really have them. They were simply doing their work, looking forward to their paychecks. Their goal wasn’t to make a safer America. Or colonize space. Or even “play with the cool toys.” Let alone change the world. Those were HER goals.
Theirs were “get my damned check.” That’s how the joy drains out of life, one day at a time.
So she taught them the processes I’m about to teach you (today, and in subsequent days) and according to her records they DOUBLED their efficiency, transforming the department.
I mean, heck…you might not even LIVE to see the end of a long project. You need to enjoy EVERY day, and RIGHT NOW!
They had fallen prey to a common human disease called”not seeing the forest for the trees.” Getting so caught up in the chopping down of trees that you are so caught up in the fatigue, the disappointment, the monotony of the effort that you forget that the PURPOSE is to keep your family warm. So busy re-writing and polishing a stubborn line or researching an obscure fact that you forget the PURPOSE is to bring a vibrant world to life, filled with wonderful characters doing amazing things to thrill an audience. So busy fighting with your kids to do their homework that you forget that the PURPOSE is to deliver them safely, strongly and happily to their adulthood, so that you can gloat as they get pissed off struggling with THEIR kids.
The most important piece of the Five Minute Life Hacks system is that you actually DO it. Five minutes. So far we’ve looked at:
- The “Five Minute Miracle”, which is belly-breathing for 60 seconds every three hour, gives you a way to keep stress from becoming strain, opening the door to managing higher and higher levels of life stress without crumbling. Remember: in life, they pay you for how much stress you can take without breaking. DO NOT NEGLECT THIS PIECE. IT IS NOT CONCEPTUAL, OR EMOTIONAL. “UNDERSTANDING IT WILL NOT GET THE EFFECT ANY MORE THAN “UNDERSTANDING” A SANDWICH NOURISHES YOUR BODY.
- The “Five Minute Achievement Check” for children implants a very specific set of structured problem-solving tools into your relationship with your children. If you’re aware, you’ll understand that strengthening the CONNECTION between child and parent is as important as any other part of the process. You can also glimpse the power of the “Ancient Child” exercise, or the “Morning Ritual” for adults, both of which are deep parts of the 101. It is like opening a vein between yourself and your child, so that communication is flowing on all levels simultaneously. Add love, and you have something amazing.
- Once you have this loving but strict connection wired up, the next question is: what is it that you are going to communicate to your kid? Now that you have his attention?
The thing to remember is that what you ARE communicates more powerfully than what you KNOW. In other words, the best you can hope for is that your child will walk your path. Asking them to do better is hoping for a small miracle. Children ARE miracles, of course…but it may be best not to take that for granted.
Be the change you want to see.
(Gee. Think maybe this also applies to other aspects of life? Let me think…)
So the next “Five Minute Life Hack” has to do with learning to accomplish more of ANYTHING you want, with more fun and “juice” in the process. And here, we’ll tap into Tony Robbins’ “Rapid Planning Method” system. It asks you NOT to create a “To Do” list for what you have to do today. Not just shuffle through an endless slough of despair, doing trivial things for other people’s reasons, until all the joy that brought you to the job originally is…gone.
The point is that you don’t really care about a “To Do” list, all of the “Stuff” you need to do to get through the day. You care about the RESULTS or OUTCOMES you believe you’ll get from doing them. In other words, you don’t care about buying a vacuum cleaner, moving furniture and spending an hour cleaning…you care about having a sparkling house, healthy children and a successful party and/or happy spouse.
What happens (for instance) if you realize that you could spend that time more efficiently and effectively working on a paying project, and HIRING someone to clean your house? If so, then you are fulfilling your OUTCOME more efficiently, even without the actions you THOUGHT you had to take.
Or if you think you have to spend FIVE HOURS every week exercising, driving to the gym, shopping for exercise clothes and so forth…when the same level of fitness can be created by ONE HOUR of very carefully chosen exercises at home? If the outcome is “fitness” then the rest were just means to an end, yes?
But even deeper, how do you MOTIVATE yourself to take an action, day after day after day? You can accomplish almost anything you can make yourself do continuously, regularly, day after day, for 1-3 years. Why is it so hard to do that, then?
I don’t believe in “talent”. I believe that the world belongs to people who can focus over time.
Look back over your life. At the things you are best at. Didn’t every one of them require that you focus over time? Didn’t you see “talented” people who couldn’t focus or commit crashing and burning all around you?
Lots of reasons, and we’ll go into them later, but the word “motivation” is easy to understand. Or to put it another way: WHY. Your REASONS to do it. If you have enough REASONS to do something, you can make yourself do almost anything.
So RPM is Robbin’s mental syntax for developing the MOTIVATION to accomplish the desired OUTCOME, not just tick off a “to do” list. “RPM” stands for “Rapid planning, Purpose-driven, Massive action” system.
It is fast, fun, and super effective. This can be done on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or 5-year basis. In fact, if you REALLY want to increase efficiency, you will go far beyond the “Five Minute” level, and spend a day, just one precious day, mapping out your “RPM” in each of these time frames, making sure you have goals in all four basic arenas: Body, Career, Relationships, Finances. Don’t neglect one, because trust me: if you try to improve your life, the pressure will explode out of your weak link, like steam gushing out of a weak spot in a pipe once you increase pressure.
Here’s the process:
- Swiftly list the OUTCOMES you want. For instance, let’s say I wanted to WRITE A BOOK. That’s the outcome, o.k?
- Now list or remember the REASONS you want this outcome. Satisfaction, creative expression, financial freedom, fulfilling a promise, whatever. The point here is that you want to FEEL the reasons, especially the POSITIVE reasons, you want to do something. If you have one major goal in each of the four areas, it may take some time before you can re-connect with WHY you originally wanted to do them. IF YOU HAVE MORE POWERFUL REASONS TO DO SOMETHING THAN NOT TO DO IT, YOU WILL DO IT. IF YOU AREN’T DOING SOMETHING, IT IS BECAUSE YOUR “DON’TS” OUTWEIGH YOUR “DO’S”. Simple. If there is more pain associated with doing something than pleasure, YOU WON’T DO IT. If there is more pleasure associated with something than pain, YOU WILL DO IT. Simple as that. ALL you have to do is get clear on WHY you want it, and you’ll start moving in that direction. If you aren’t moving…you don’t have enough reasons yet.
- NOW AND ONLY NOW ask yourself what you have to do TODAY, or THIS WEEK to get your outcome. NOW you think about the “whats”. The “To do’s” of your life. Working BACKWARDS from “what do I want to ultimately accomplish” and “why do I want to do it” the “To Do” list will suddenly take on far more meaning. You’ll be driving your actions with EMOTION. “A sentence a day” is my absolute minimum. The optimal is about 1000 words a day.
The OUTCOME needs to be clear (“Sailing around the world!”). The EMOTIONAL “WHY” needs to be strong (“Romance and Adventure!”). Then the “to dos” are the nuts and bolts (“building the damned boat…”) or (“working at this job to earn the money to buy the boat so that I can sail around the world…”)
There is NO task devoid of meaning unless you abdicate your responsibility to GIVE it meaning. This process, rapidly going through your four major arenas, your OUTCOMES, your REASONS and then “WHAT am I doing today to create this outcome?” Can take just a few seconds each. The longest part is FEELING THE EMOTIONS. To do this, you have to slow down a little, luxuriate, wash yourself in the emotions.
Visualize the results, hear the praise, feel the sensory impact of tropic winds on your face, sun on your skin. The hugs of your loved ones, the deep sense of satisfaction from fitting in those new pants. FEEL IT. There will inevitably be discomfort as you discipline yourself to accomplish your daily tasks.
LEARNING TO TO THIS IS NOT ONLY CRITICAL TO YOU, IT WILL BE CRITICAL TO TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN TO DISCIPLINE THEMSELVES. Being able to visualize or emotionalize the better grades, the rewarding trip to Disney World, the graduation ceremony, the successful recital and roar of the crowd, the black belt tied around your waist by a proud sensei, the hand raised in victory…
If you can’t FEEL it, you won’t DO it.
WHAT is your outcome?
WHY do you want it?
HOW to you take steps today, this week, this month?
Can you see how easy this is? How valuable it will be?
Go through this process rapidly during your “morning ritual”, or even better, your “weekly ritual” as you plan your next seven days…and you will start giving meaning to your life you may not have felt in years.
Get to work!
Be the hero in the adventure of your lifetime!
STARTING TODAY you can sign up for the FREE Five/Seven program (Five Minutes a day, Seven Days) at: www.fiveminutelifehacks.com.
P.P.S. By the way: want to see the results of focusing on what YOU can do for yourself, rather than trying to change the world, or waiting for the world to change? Here’s a note I got today from Daniel R., who has spent YEARS with therapists trying to understand his pain in a relationship with a woman who constantly reminds him of her past lovers. Daniel was DESTROYING himself worrying about this. I gave him one instruction: STOP TALKING ABOUT HER. Focus on the things he can change: his own behavior, his relationship to finances. Every time he mentioned “her” we set the clock back to zero. It only took him about a week to “get the right focus” and a month later he said:
“For the first time in my whole life I at least believe a LITTLE BIT in becoming successfull financially and sexually… It was like unachievable deep down….There is not much to heal though… It is more keeping focus… on my dream!!!!! (instead of shit and/or past or other peoples lives and/or (perceived) faults… Let`s go!”
That’s it! That’s the power of the 101 LIFE HACKS SYSTEM. You figure out what you want (to be happy) and the externals that will create the space for that happiness, and THEN take daily steps to get there.
I believe in you.
Remember: your five minute/seven day program is totally FREE!