We are always looking for that productivity hack or some words of advice that will help us get to the next level.
Then we go and read something like “do less to achieve more”… What the hell?! We are looking for concrete advice, yet we keep running into all these clichés.
Most of the time we are looking for something and we miss it… even when it is right in front of us!
We may hear something like “perception is reality”, and we may think that it may be for their reality but definitely no ours. Our reality is more real, and not so easy to change by just perceiving differently.
Why are we so stubborn? Why do we need to stumble with the same stone several times until we learn the lesson?
I think it might be a left-brain problem. Sometimes we just need to be completely sure to accept something.
Recently, I was listening to this episode of the Tim Ferriss Podcast and it all made sense. The topic of placebo and nocebo effects was discussed. Long story short, you could take a drug but if you don’t believe it will cure you, your body can create the chemicals needed to prevent it from having an effect on you.
We get back to “perception is reality”. Yes, it is as simple as that.
Another one of these simple pieces of advice is that “you will become the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with”.
Is this really true? If so, how does it actually work?
Let’s explore these questions.
What You Give, You Receive
Most people hate small-talk because they see it as a waste of time. Once you realize that small-talk is a must in order to get to talk about meaningful topics you will appreciate it more.
Small talk can lead to learning techniques that can allow you to re-design your life and the way you see the world. This may sound like too much, but it’s true! At least it happened to me (I know, I may need a bigger sample to have a significant hypothesis test).
It happened thanks to attending a networking event and being involved in as much small-talk as possible. Then one conversation just started flowing.
How do you feel in that moment where the conversation just flows and you don’t need to be inside your head? That moment when you are not thinking about what to say next; you are just appreciating every word that comes out of the other person’s mouth.
The conversation was a trip to different countries and different cultures. Going back and forth from English to Spanish. It was like dancing with words.
This great energy that was created has now evolved into a meaningful relationship, which is what we should all strive for any time we meet anyone. It is a place where value is being created. You may not develop a meaningful relationship with everyone you meet, it probably is impossible. But if you go into every conversation with that mindset you will have a better chance!
Small talk led to what is now an ongoing conversation and at some point, it traveled to TED Talks. Of course, if value is being created then TED Talks have to be involved. Thanks to this, I discovered this gem: Epigenetics and the influence of our genes.
The speaker, Courtney Griffins, goes to detail about the nature vs. nurture debate and other interesting findings. Yet, to me the most valuable piece of information were the two life-hacks that I was able to derive from her content.
We have the power to design our lives in any way we want, and we can start today.
This is not the first time this topic has been discussed.
Also, this may not be the first time you read about the topic. Yet, it may be the time when it finally clicks for you as it did for me when I was watching that TED talk.
There are two main activities you can do to design your life. 1) Make the most of what you have; 2) Hack your genetic code.
- Making the most of what you have
You have a set of genes; this is the nature part. You have certain talents and passions. You have good and bad habits.
It is your responsibility to sit down and reflect about this: which are the habits you want to empower and which are the ones you want to break?
After this step then you have to identify the situations, and environments, that will help you empower/break those habits.
If you, like me, have a sweet tooth and that is preventing you from being healthy then you should not have any candy or chocolates near you. This doesn’t mean that you will not eat sweets never again. Just don’t have easy access to it.
If you want to read more, but social media or TV gets in the way, then buy more books and get the TV out of your room. Have as many books as possible around you, and make it hard for you to go watch TV. You can also add the Momentum plugin to your browser, that way anytime you open a new tab it will remind you of your priorities for the day.
These are just some examples, but you should get the picture by now. Make it easy for your good habits to happen and make it really hard for your bad habits to happen.
This first step is really simple, and you can start doing it today and every day.
- Hacking your Genetic Code
This step is not as easy, and it is even more uncomfortable. This is good because it means not a lot of people are doing it. Which is why the ones that do will be in a great position to live a rich and purposeful life.
The first step was about understanding how the different things around us can affect us, and then putting ourselves in a position where we only have a positive stimulus. This second step is about working on changing the way things around us affect us. Changing the stimulus-response formula.
One good and valuable example is criticism and feedback. Much has been said about the value of feedback yet, most of us don’t like to get criticized.
The process here would be: criticism (stimulus) = defensiveness (response)
It happens all the time, especially when working in teams or when presenting projects. There will always be conflict within teams, but you can make it positive!
We should work on changing this process to one where criticism = listening + accepting + growing
If this is something you want to do, then you should read this article about conflict within teams.
Just like this situation, there are many others where a stimulus is causing a negative response. And you have the power to change it into a positive one. But this requires a lot of deep thinking, reflecting, and looking inside yourself.
You have to understand why is it that you have learned to respond in a certain manner to a certain stimulus. Much goes back to things that happened to you when you were a kid.
Tony Robbins has a great question, that I constantly use, to understand this stimulus-response relationship. The question is: Whom did you have to be to survive?
Whom did you have to be for your dad/mom to survive? Whom did you have to be for your friends to survive?
When you were a baby you had to cry to survive, for example. Later, you learned other ways to communicate. You changed your way of communicating and reacting, depending on the results those actions got you.
Keep asking yourself these questions until you find the source of your behaviors.
Now you have the tools to hack your genetic code.
Hacking your way to a Rich Life
- Start paying attention to the situations that empower/diminish your good/bad habits
- Put yourself within empowering situations
- Start paying attention to the way you react to the things that happen to you
- Ask yourself, why do I react like this when “x” happens?
- Go back and try to find the reason why that reaction was created, which were the repeated experiences that created that response?
With these 5 steps you have the power to design the career you want, and this will allow you to live a rich life.
This process is not comfortable; you will stumble into uncomfortable truths of your past. Yet, it will be worth it. You will need a commitment to yourself, and much has been said about millennials not being able to commit. But we are here to prove people wrong.
Meditation is for Losers! is a thought that crosses the mind of some. Yet, I have found it to be a powerful gene-hacking tool. I would recommend that you try it.
Now go hack yourself and live a rich life!
Learning and sharing knowledge are my passions, let’s connect if those are yours too.