⚡️ Today’s level up ⚡️
In this edition, I’ll summarize and deconstruct the next two books in my essentials library that heavily influenced my 7 figure earning personal operating system. If you missed the first two, be sure to catch up here.
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→ Understand 9 key concepts from 2 essential reads
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9 Key Concepts That Enhanced How I Operated
Over the past 2 years, I have read the 8 best books for developing an effective personal operating system — twice.
I have distilled them down to the 50 key insights that will upgrade your life.
Save yourself time and just implement these life-changing concepts.
Last week, I defined what a personal operating system is and introduced the first 15 concepts. This week, I cover concepts 16 – 24.
Book #3: Atomic Habits by James Clear
If you focus on improving yourself by developing good habits, you’ll be able to achieve your goals.
Habit = a routine or behavior that is performed regularly — and, in many cases, automatically.
Key Concept (16): Develop Positive Habits Through Small, Incremental Changes
Small changes, though they may seem unimportant now, can add up.
Eventually, they can lead to drastic results (known as “incremental gains”). These small changes are what the author, James Clear calls atomic habits. An atomic habit “refers to a tiny change, a marginal gain, a 1% improvement.
Clear does the math for us. If you improve by 1 percent each day for a year, you’ll be 37x better by the end of the year.
The reverse is also true – if you get 1 percent worse each day for a year, you’ll end up basically at zero.
There is an “operating manual” for how to use atomic habits to unlock your full potential. Clear outlines Four Laws of Behavior Change we can use to create positive habits, or if reversed, to break bad habits.
Most habits are hard to keep because we focus on the wrong things.
“Research has shown that once a person believes in a particular aspect of their identity, they are more likely to act in alignment with that belief.”
Key Concept (17): If You Focus On Changing Your Identity, Your Habits Are More Likely To Stick Long-Term
Every small change we make is a reflection of our identity.
Every time you work out, you’re an athlete. Every time you learn a new digital skill, you’re good with technology.
As you begin to change your habits, consider these two steps:
- Decide the type of person you want to be
- Prove it to yourself with small wins
Ask yourself: “Who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?” Once you have an idea on who you want to become, you can use it to better inform your decisions. With this new mentality in mind, we can learn about the Four Laws of Behavior Change.
Key Concept (18): Make New Habits More Obvious By Attaching Them to Habits You Already Have
In order to build better habits, we first should be aware of the ones we already have.
To do this, make a list of any current habits you can think of. Then ask yourself, “Does this behavior help me become the type of person I wish to be?” Having this clarity of mind will help you keep track of the habits that you want to keep and the ones that aren’t serving you.
Once this is done, you can rely on some of these preset behaviors to develop new habits. For example, let’s say you want to exercise more – you can attach this new habit you’d like to develop (exercise) to a habit you already have, maybe like drinking coffee every morning.
Clear calls this process habit stacking.
You can frame it this way, “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].”
You can even stack multiple habits, such as: “After I drink coffee, I will do fifteen pushups. After I do fifteen pushups, I will meditate for five minutes.”
The more simple and intuitive you can make your habits, the easier they will be to develop.
Key Concept (19): Make Hard Habits More Attractive By Linking An Action You Like With An Action You Need To Do
This is called “temptation bundling,” which is linking an action you need to do with an action you want to do.
For example, if you want to be more diligent about responding to important emails, you might watch your favorite Netflix show (want) ONLY after you’ve cleaned out your inbox with VIP contacts (need).
Habit stacking and temptation bundling work well together…
Eventually, any habit you struggle to maintain will look attractive because you’ll associate it with something you like to do.
On the other hand, if you want to break a bad habit, you can do the reverse: make it unattractive. For example, if you’re trying to reduce alcohol consumption, you can reframe an attractive element like “it loosens me up after a hard day,” to an unattractive element like, “not having a glass of wine every evening makes me nervous.”
You can also highlight the positive benefits of giving up a bad habit to make kicking the habit more attractive.
“If I give up drinking during the week, I’ll have much higher energy and a better mood the next day,” for example.
Reframing the habit you want to maintain as the more attractive option will help you willingly repeat it.
Key Concept (20): Make Your Habits Easier By Creating An Environment That Encourages Good Habits And Discouraged Bad Ones
We can make our habits easier (and our bad habits more difficult), by “priming” our environment.
This means setting up your environment to encourage the behaviors you want. For example, if you want to read more, put a book on your bed pillow or on your desk so it’s the first thing you do before going to bed or starting work.
The reverse also works — if you want to remove a bad habit, you should make it difficult.
A simple technique to make your bad habits more difficult is using a commitment device: a decision you make now that will control your actions in the future. For example, you can reduce your overeating by dividing your food into smaller portions in advance (eat half now and save the other half for tomorrow).
Key Concept (21): Encourage Yourself to Maintain Positive Habits By Making Your Progress Visible
Clear describes a habit developed by a stockbroker named Trent Dyrsmid in the early ‘90s.
Dyrsmid started every morning with two jars on his desk: one with 120 paper clips and one with none. Then, every time he made a sales call, he would move a paper clip over. By the end of the day, Dyrsmid would have no paper clips left.
The results were drastic. Within 18 months, he was “bringing in $5 million to the firm.”
Clear calls this the Paper Clip Strategy, a visual way to track your progress. You observe clear evidence you are progressing, and you feel satisfied seeing how you advance. The Paper Clip strategy encourages good habits because it visibly rewards you.
There are other ways to use visual rewards, such as keeping a food journal or a workout log.
Clear’s favorite, however, is a habit tracker. A habit tracker is any way you choose to track your habits. It might be a calendar where you cross off days you’ve continued your habits, or a little booklet where you keep an ongoing record.
Folklore has it that Jerry Seinfeld uses a habit tracker to make sure he “never breaks the chain” of writing jokes every day.
Clear believes “don’t break the chain” is a powerful mantra. Your goal should be to never skip a habit for more than a day.If you can make sure you persist in your habits regularly and not break the chain, you’ll see drastic results and unlock your potential.
P.S. I developed my own daily performance tracker, called Thrive Space™, which helped me close $14.1M in Annual Recurring Revenue in 10 months while averaging 7 hours of sleep per night. Grab it HERE for free
Book #4: When by Daniel Pink
When we do things is just as important as what we do.
Most people think timing is an art, but it’s really a science.
This book unlocks the scientific secrets to good timing to help you flourish at work, at school, and at home.
Here are 3 lessons about timing that’ll help you structure your life in better ways:
- Our emotions run through the same cycle every single day.
- Knowing how you “tick” will help you do your best at work.
- Taking a break or an afternoon nap is not counterproductive, if anything, it helps you save time.
Key Concept (22): There’s an emotional pattern each of us follows on any given day.
Every day includes “a peak, a trough, and a rebound” (a U-shaped pattern).
“Positive mood rises in the morning, dips in the afternoon, and rises again in the evening.”
Happiness, warmth toward others, enjoyment, and emotional balance all follow this U-shaped pattern.
Key Concept (23): Figure out your chronotype to produce your best work.
How you feel at certain times during the day is called your chronotype, and there are three major ones, says Pink:
- The lark. People who love to get up early and have all their emotional highs and lows a few hours earlier than most people.
- The owl. If you don’t like getting up early and can really get to work around 9 PM, that’s you.
- The third bird. The majority of people, who are neither late, nor early, and just follow the standard pattern.
65% of people go into the last category, meaning they should do analytical, logic-based work in the mornings, when they’re most alert.
The more creative tasks, where it’s helpful if your mind wanders, should be reserved for the late afternoon. Larks should do the same earlier, while owls might want to do cognitive work late at night.
Whichever type you are, doing boring admin stuff in the afternoon trough is always a good idea.
P.S. The best tool I have found to identify my chronotype and align my tasks to my natural energy states is an app called RISE.
Key Concept (24): Regular breaks, rest, and recovery help you save time, not lose it.
Research on the usage of Desktime, a desktop productivity software company, revealed that for every 52 minutes of work, a person needs 17 minutes of break time for maximum productivity.
Studies have also shown that taking a short nap can result in about three hours of increased information retaining capacity and improved focus.
Additionally, a “nappuccino” — a quick cup of coffee before a 20-minute nap — can give a better boost to focus and productivity.
It takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream.
Therefore, just as we wake up from the nap, the coffee keeps us awake and geared up for work (I personally recommend this as the exception, not the norm, as I try to avoid caffeine in the afternoons…but I’m all for short naps!).
That’s a wrap. See you next week when I reveal the next 2 books and 16 killer concepts!
When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
1. Get the exact system I’ve used to go from earning $200K to over $1M a year in SaaS sales without burning out here. (3,000+ students)
2. Join a community of Purpose-Curious™ sellers in the Make More Hustle Less Club where we develop a personal operating system together here. (300+ members)
3. Book a 1:1 coaching session to up-level your performance here. (Limited spots available)