Tuesday, February 07, 2006

how to implement a habit

interesting post by TD

I noticed a pattern recently about how I implement habits.

Here is how I implement a habit.

Usually I'll get some idea of some over the top thing that I want to accomplish.

So maybe I weigh 120 pounds and I want to make the college football team. Or maybe I've had failing grades all through high school and I want to get in to the best college. Or maybe I can't get a girlfriend and I decide to be a PUA. I have tons of these.

First I will get an idea of what I'm trying to accomplish and what will be involved.

I have the general principle that while I'm not that smart, I know that most other people aren't that smart either. Or rather, its not that people aren't that smart, but just that most people walk through life in a trance and generally don't break out of their habits. They just listen to what other people tell them and aren't willing to look at the finer details of things, so it is easy to get to the top of any field if you are willing to do that. Everyone thinks that there are all these conspiracies and super ways that people do things, but usually the top guys are just as disorganized as the average dudes on the street. It's like kids at top colleges who pay six figures to attend school. You'd think that they'd show up to class, but they don't show up any more than the kids in cheaper schools. Human habit is human habit. I figure that there is pretty much no limit of what level I can reach so long as I have an idea of what the top level looks like. In fact, I assume that I can surpass it before I even start.

From there, I decide what I'll have to do to get to that point. I figure how long it will take, and the habit that I'll have to integrate on a DAY TO DAY.

This is what I consider PROACTIVE and LOGICAL reasoning. I don't wait until some girl dumps me to start going out when I'm emotionally compelled, and then stop going out when I feel better about myself. That is REACTIVE.

Instead, I figure to myself, "Alright, I have to go out 3-7 nights a week for around three years. Fine."

At that point I FULLY ACCEPT that this is what I will be doing. I also am unlikely to change my plans, as I tend to think that if I can't trust myself to stick to one area then I can't trust myself to stick to my next area, so there if I'm going to be like that then there's no point in even starting anything.

The big thing for me, is that I will get out there whether the conditions are ideal or not. So if I'm not dressed properly, I will still get out there. If I'm not feeling well, I'll just go out for a bit and come home to keep the habit. I do the same thing in the gym if I have not slept properly or if I am busy or sick. If I know that I'm too tired to get a good workout I'll still show up and push through it. If I'm too busy then I'll just rush through it and won't worry about eating before or after. And if I'm sick then I'll at least show up to the gym and stretch.

I don't think about these things. I just accept them.

Now the big thing when you start something new is that progress is going to be non-existent at first and will go up in a j-curve if you can make it through the initial pain. Most people quit because starting something is REALLY hard and usually feels directionless for a long time. The guys who make it through that initial part will eventually get to a level where progress is really fast and noticeable, and for them it will become a hobby and fun. But at first it is purely banging your head against the wall to make the most minuscule advancements. Not fun.

So in an area like pickup, if you are starting off as a total dork like I was then it is pretty much going to be zero progress for a few months. You will go out and people will be really unresponsive and hard on you. It won't change for a long time either, because the more you're getting rejected the more you're feeling shitty. The only plus side is that you're learning that you won't die, which is actually pretty important.

When you start anything, whether sports or dance or music, it will probably be pretty embaressing and painful. You'll be around people who have it all figured out, and their neural connections will be fine tuned from what seems like infinite repetition. You'll see this, and it will just give you a headache. Literally, for me, I see this kind of thing and I feel nauseous because it is so intimidating.

The way I get through it is literally BLIND FAITH. I will figure out what the basic training is and do it OVER AN OVER, regardless of whether or not I get a result.

A big part of this is that I have NO OUTCOME for a very long time. My only outcome is to get my ass out of the house and to wherever I'm supposed to be. My criteria for success isn't how well I did. It's IF I SHOWED UP and did what I was supposed to do. My expectations of myself are very low.

I read posts on here about guys in the field for six months and frustrated that they aren't getting results, and I really don't relate to why they're finding this to be unusual. When I took my first workshop I was getting laid, but I had a major social fear of clubs and my goal was to learn how to game girls in that environment. It took me a few months to get my first club makeout but I never thought anything of it. It wouldn't have occurred to me to be one of these guys who comes on a month later and says "I still haven't gotten laid." I was told that it would take me six months to get "passably not lame," and I took that at face value. There was no way after I spent all that time and money that I wasn't going to go out and do what the guy told me to do. That would have devalidated the whole thing. To be honest, although I learned a lot on the program, I couldn't remember shit afterwards because the whole thing was shocking like a whirlwind. The big thing I took from it was INSPIRATION and CONFIRMATION THAT IT WAS POSSIBLE. That was ALL I needed to get good.

First I learned how to open in a club environment. OK, got that. Then how to hook attention for thirty seconds. Ok, got that. Then how to tell stories. OK, got that. Then how to tease and create sexual tension. OK, got that. Then how to get a number. OK, got that. Then I realized they all flaked. OK, scrap everything, back to the drawing board. Then how to deliver it better. OK, got better reactions. Then how to slow it the fuck down to get the same reactions without being a dancing monkey. OK, got that. Each of these took weeks or months at a time.

The process went on for years, but now I have the exact result that I want.

Guys say to me "Wow, you had such dedication" and I can't relate to that. To me, that's like telling a kid who goes to play basketball after school for a few years that he has dedication. It wasn't dedication. It was a routine. A habit. A hobby. I made the time for it in my life, and I never worried about how well I was doing. I assumed with blind faith that everything would take care of itself if I just kept going out and meeting people to get advice on how I was doing.

Jlaix and I were talking, and he was like "Dude, my skills are in like the stratosphere lately. It's getting so good it's scary." I was like "Think about it. Remember back in the day when we were dorks, and we were like 'all we have to do is go out for six months and we'll be decent'? Six months seemed like forever back then, but now six months breezes by like its nothing, and every time that happens our skills are going up at the same rate that they were back in the day. The improvement keeps compiling and that's why these results are showing up."

If you think back to the last six months or a year, it seems like nothing. That time passes so fast. You get older and decades start to fly by.

When you implement a habit, you're thinking about the outcome and how hard the training is. So you go through the one night and because its one of your first nights you remember every detail and it seems like a lifetime. And then you think "Six more months of THIS? Or a YEAR?!"

But that's the wrong thinking. If you're thinking like that there is no way you'll get anywhere. The point is to just keep going out and not try to get results. Just go out and do your exercises and it will come naturally. Don't think of it as "Six more months." Think "This is what I'm doing now. My day consists of this now. This is my lifestyle."

To me, it comes down to this: 1-Get an idea of what you want. 2-Formulate a plan of how often you need to show up to get there. 3-Accept that your new activity is a part of your life for the duration of the time you've decided, and never decide based on emotions if you're going to show up or not. Just show up. 4-Don't worry if you're getting results, just stick to the plan with blind faith, and make your criteria for success just to show up. 5-Make it a hobby, look at the details critically without taking advice dogmatically, and take the initiative to shift the focus of your training when your intuition tells you that it might help.

Don't focus on chasing outcome. Focus on sticking to habits. Make your criteria for success if you stuck to the habit.

Anyway, hopefully that was helpful to some people.

No comments: