Tag Archive | Consistency

The Writing Habit

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

What is the writing habit?

The habit of writing every single day. 

It doesn’t matter what you write about, it doesn’t matter how much you write, it doesn’t matter how well you write; it matters only that you do.

What if life gets in the way?

Design the habit (and any habit) with the worst days in mind. Make the floor too small to fail. By floor, I mean the minimum daily target for the habit to be considered complete.

What is the measure of success?

When you can no longer conceive of a day without writing. When writing becomes identity.

The Non-Zero Progress Principle

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the non-zero progress principle?”

“It’s a brilliant little principle I know from Darius Foroux [<link] – one of my favorite people. 

Do one thing every day that helps you move toward your most important goal.

It’s basically two principles into one:

Consistent Action – Consistent daily action compounds [<link; short read].

Efficient Action – Focus on the highest-leverage things, one at a time.”

“Weren’t you already doing that?”

“I was taking consistent action, but not efficient action. Darius’s principle helped me see the error of my ways.”

On being a Writer

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I tell when I’ve become a writer?”

When you know you’re going to write every single day until you draw your last breath.

The 5-minute Game

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can you beautifully/artfully fill a 5-minute time-block?

I call this question The 5-minute Game.”

“How do you approach it?”

“That’s part of the game. Playfully finding ways to approach it. It can be by looking at it through different lenses.

For instance, you can look at it through the lens of habits.

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear’s identifies four rules of habit creation:

Make it obvious. (Cue)
Make it attractive. (Craving)
Make it easy. (Response)
Make it satisfying. (Reward)

The idea is that, if you want to install a habit, consistency is key. The four rules are basically strategies for ensuring consistency.

One strategy for ensuring consistency is having a contingency system, a ‘minified‘ version of the habit that is too small to fail. Brian Johnson called the minimum amount of time you allocate a habit ‘floor‘, and the maximum ‘ceiling‘. [floor/ceiling model]

For many habits, I like to use 5 minutes as the floor.

Another lens you can look at it through is the mental/metaphoric model of ‘snacking‘.

I love the idea of ‘movement snacks‘ – which I know from Frank Forenchich’s beautiful book Beautiful Practice –, brief, frequent periods of physical activity throughout the day.

Deconstructing it, the mental/metaphoric model is that of ‘snacking’. The model has two components: frequency and brevity. Both are parameters you can play with to create beautiful structures.

In terms of brevity, one such structure is what I call the 5-minute snack.”

“Any tips for creating such snacks?”

Make them fun.

I like to make them thematic. (‘thematic-snacks‘)

For instance:

Improv-snacks: 5-minute improvisation sessions. It can be improvised movement, but not only.

Perception-snacks: 5-minute sessions of playing with perceptual-filters.

Continuous-movement-snacks: 5-minute sessions of continuous movement exploration. I like to focus on the transition between movements.

Tree-climbing-snacks: 5-minute tree-climbing sessions. I like to create little routes in the tree to challenge myself.

Fear-snacks: 5-minute fear-exposure sessions. For instance I like to climb as high as possible in a tree, and stay there for 5 minutes.”

“Fear-snacks don’t sound very fun.”

“It’s a matter of Perception.

A key aspect of the Art of Playful Living is making what is good for you fun.

Healing the Past

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

One of the many facets of the Art of (Playful) Living, and maybe the most important, is the relationship you have with yourself. I like to think of it as Connection. More specifically, connection with four aspects of yourself. In my case:

Dani-who-I-was (past)
Dani-who-I-am (present)
Dani-who-I-will-be (future)
Dani-child

I think of them in Romanian, my native language, because they are more powerful:

Dani-care-am-fost (past)
Dani-care-sunt (present)
Dani-care-voi-fi (future)
Dani-copilas

“Isn’t Dani-child the same as Dani-who-I-was?”

“No. Dani-child is always with me, the embodiment of Playfulness, Curiosity, and Creativity, the expression of what the ancient Greeks called ‘Entheos’, and what the ancient Romans called ‘Genius’, the Divine Within.

The connection with Dani-who-I-will-be can profoundly influence your actions in the present.

If you deeply FEEL the connection, and you connect this with your ultimate Purpose in this fleeting life of ours, you will never again engage in activities that may bring you harm (eg smoking).

But that’s not what I want to focus on now. What I want to focus on is the connection with Dani-who-I-was.

For a very long period of my life, the past felt like a burden. Not knowing how to deal with painful memories, I constantly and futilely tried to chase them away from my mind… but they’d always return. Like maybe most people, my coping mechanism was addiction (to video games, drinking, entertainment, etc).

Not anymore, and NEVER AGAIN.

I managed to completely and radically turn the relationship with my past upside down, where what used to bring pain, now is a source of only deep Joy. This is one of the most important accomplishments on my Journey so far.”

“How did you manage that?”

I learned to love myself unconditionally.

I’d heard of the importance of self-love many times before, but I didn’t know how to do it. Until one day I stumbled upon a video on YouTube by a guy called Aziz Gazipura. I liked it, I watched a few more of his videos, and decided to read one of his books, The Art of Extraordinary Confidence, which I did. There was one idea from that book that changed my life.”

“What was it?”

The PRACTICE of saying to myself: ‘I love you, Dani.’

When I first tried it, while looking at myself in the mirror, I got tears in my eyes. That’s when I realized how powerful this is.

It’s been a few years since then, and I’ve been doing that EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I start and end every day by saying it to myself, I do it every single time I look at myself in the mirror, every time I fail, every time I succeed, every time I think about the future, and every time I think about the past.

That’s how I healed the relationship with Dani-who-I-was and my past.

Every time I remembered an experience from the past, I would say to myself ‘I love you Dani‘. Every painful memory became a healing moment. And you know you’ve healed something when it no longer returns.

Instead of trying to avoid them, as I’d done in the past, I started to look for painful memories. And there were thousands of them.”

“You mean ‘hundreds‘?”

“You’re right, I’m exaggerating. But they did feel endless once.

This is yet another instance of compounding.

All these little instances of self-love add up until, seemingly out of the blue, thinking about the past brings only deep lasting Peace.

Only, it wasn’t out of the blue. It was the manifestation of the cumulative process that preceded it.”