#SoG108 - Don't break the chain.

#SoG 108. Don't break the chain.

You know Jerry Seinfeld? The comic?

He said in an interview that if you want to be a better comic, you ought to write every day.
And to inspire you to write every day, buy a large calendar, put it at a place where you can see it every day.
And every day you write, strike the date with a big X.
And then once you start spotting a chain of X's, try to NOT break the chain.


Image Credit - Matt Cutts

This not breaking the chain apparently works at the psychological level. You are programmed to not break patterns. And this allows you to do tasks that you consider tough.

Funny thing is that more than social scientists and self-development nazis, these consumer startups like Snapchat have built-in features like SnapStreak to keep you hooked. Starbucks gives you extra rewards to buy a beverage every day. You got to become Mayor on Fouraquare and Swarm if you checked-in everyday. And so many more.

In fact, most great things that happen to us humans (well, average humans that don't come without a gift and have to work hard) through consistent, repetitive hard work. Remember 10000 hours rule? And yes, there are arguments dispelling the myth.

Want to become a great actor, act every day.
Great photographer? Click every day.
Fit person? Workout every day.
And so on and so forth.
Just don't break the streak!

Oh, and once you start putting in the work on a daily basis, without breaking the streak, the 8th wonder of the world kicks in.

And here's a challenge for you.
What can you do EVERYday for the next 30 days?
I promise to write something on my personal blog every day. Even though I have some travel lined up, I will ensure that I will write something on my personal blog. And of course, I will continue to write these SoGs.

To get you started, some things that you could every day are...

  1. Click a photo and post it on Instagram

  2. Write 100 words (if not a thousand - my personal goal is to write a 1000 words everyday)

  3. Read 10 pages

  4. Dance for 10 minutes

  5. Play the Uke for 15 minutes

  6. Workout for 30 minutes.

Pick your battle. Take it up. Do it for 30 days. Game?

And while we are at it, do read Atomic Habits.

That's it for the day!

Thank you for reading,
@saurabh

Tags: Habit, Seinfeld, Streak

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Read More

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_memory

  2. Matt Cutts on Seinfeld Technique.

  3. Matt Cutts on 30-day challenges.

  4. Lifehacker post on building daily habits.


Extra Text
I will try and build a case with some more arguments. These may be a tad weaker and thus they are here, in postscript.

A
You know that thing they call a hat-trick? When a bowler takes three wickets on three consecutive balls? Why do we celebrate it? One is it tough to take a wicket. And more so, to take three in three balls takes a superhuman effort. To me, the special part about hat-trick is not that you've taken three wickets. But you persistently bowled great deliveries three times in a row.

B
Think of those things that you do EVERYday without a miss. Even if it's a Sunday.
From the time you get up, you probably take a dump, brush your teeth, take a shower, grab some breakfast. You've been doing these things since you are alive. These have become your second nature. You don't even think about it. I mean do you remember if you soaked your toothbrush before or after putting the toothpaste?

The point is, these things that you've done repetitively over time have become your second nature. You dont even think about them. Muscle memory takes over.
When you drive, you dont have to ask your feet to specifically apply brakes.
When you are swimming, you dont have to think about moving your limbs.
When you are nervous, you start biting your nails.
These things just happen.

Do it using a tool that is visual. Something that you can see everyday. Something that is big and is in front of your eyes.

The lesson is, once you get the streak going, you would not let it go.