A Simple Life Hack
I am an ex tech salesman who taught himself software engineering in a year. I currently work as a software developer at Education First in Cambridge. During my career transition I needed to change my habits significantly, and when I look back I think I owe a lot of my success to this mindset. It’s pretty counterintuitive, but I wanted to share it with you:
You enjoy doing things that you do frequently.
This mindset makes it trivial to pick and choose which habits you want to build and which to break, and can set you on the path to being a more productive person. Its a blow to the ego to think that all that defines you is what you do with your time, but incredibly liberating as well.
The reason this seems weird to most is because in the U.S we are taught that we are each unique individuals with passions to discover — it’s a much more glamorous story. We have all been told the that what defines us is somehow hidden inside and that through effort we can discover it. I don’t believe this story, but rather that genetics are a small component of what ultimately amounts to a “passion” later in life.
If you want to change careers, start allocating your time away from your current career. If you want to read more but don’t enjoy reading, read more.
Obviously there are limits to this rule — each of us has a set of genes that gives us a certain starting hand of skills and abilities — but everyone is capable of building any new habit into their lives. I am not discounting the impact of genetics, but again I believe that ones genetics are rarely what keeps them from creating or breaking a habit.
There are also always barriers to rebuilding your habits — disapproval from friends and family who now have to re-imagine you with your new hobby or characteristic, or your own doubt that you really are “meant” to do the thing you are doing. If you throw away your ego, these barriers will quickly become meaningless.
If you want to like vegetables, eat vegetables all the time and stop eating meat. Time is the real currency of passion.
I firmly believe that most people can learn to do most things, and the happiest people are those who direct their development through observing and modifying their habits.
Originally published at blog.alexzitowolf.com on September 20, 2015.