This Hit Me Like a Tonne of Bricks

“It is easier to be a 100%er than a 98%er.”

And that hit me like a tonne of bricks.

The late Clay Christensen wrote a variation of that in his book “How will you measure your life.”

Shane Parrish just reinforced this with his most recent newsletter:

“Eventually, everyone loses the battle with willpower. The only question is when.

Several years ago, two of my friends started eating differently around the same time. One of them went on diet. The other thought a diet was too complicated and created a rule about eating the healthiest thing on the menu no matter where he was.

They both ate out a lot for work and both found themselves in situations requiring them to make healthy choices. The dieter relied on willpower and was inconsistent. Good days were followed by bad days. The rule-follower, on the other hand, flawlessly executed his algorithm. As weeks turned to months, their paths diverged. The dieter saw no progress and became frustrated when the rule follower shed pounds.

Rules are an effective way of creating an artificial environment. Think about it, you’ve been taught your whole life to follow the rules. Follow the speed limit. Don’t run in the hallway. Do what you’re told. Everywhere you look there are rules, rules, rules. No one taught us how to use rules to our advantage. Since rules are very powerful at shaping behaviour, they can help us get what we want.

Automatic rules turn the best choice the default choice.

What do you think future you wishes present you was doing more of? Some universal answers crop up where you’re currently using willpower for desired behavior. Future you wishes you’d sleep more, drink less, exercise, and eat better.

When you find yourself using willpower to make the choices your future self wants you to make, try creating an automatic rule instead.”


My Rules:

“I run 100 miles / month”

“I don’t drink pop/soda”

“I don’t drink”

The self imposed rules start to define your life. I need a few new ones.


What rules do you have for your life?

Happy Sunday Reflection. I’m off for a run.

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  • DATE

    October 20, 2022