Our topic on this 95th day of the 100 Day Personal Performance and Business Growth Challenge is “keeping things super simple.” Just to give you a little background, I was working with a few clients this week and I noticed that people tend to overcomplicate things when they want to get a result.
If you are trying to increase your sales, instead of trying to redo all the fonts on your website or come up with a brand new product or do any other complicated thing, just keep it simple and take a product that you already have, make a list of people who would be your best clients and start calling them to let them know about the product.
You don’t need a fancy email campaign, you don’t need to redo your whole website, and you don’t need new branding colors. If you just keep it simple enough and try to get it done, you will absolutely make progress.
Another example. I know we talk about the fact that someone wants to lose some weight, they want to work out and so they spend the next three days buying new shoes, getting a new outfit, buying a new gym bag and signing up for the best membership and finding out who the best trainer is. In reality, if in those three days they would just do something simple like walk three blocks each day, they would have been a little bit healthier than they are with all the stuff they came up with.
So, it is really simple. I don’t know what part of your life you are trying to make progress with. If you are trying to apply this concept in starting a business, my wife recommends that you read a book titled “The Lean Startup.” In that book, they talk about the minimum viable product (MVP), and that will totally break down how to keep things super simple so that you can see tremendous success in your startup without getting in your own way by making things too complicated.
The book will take you through the exact process of the minimum viable product, which is what I call keeping it simple.
In the book, the author recommends that you keep testing the product so that you decide whether to persevere with that product or abandon it. This principle applies to business, it applies to health and fitness and in many other areas of life.
Is there any area of life where keeping things simple may not work? Relationships aren’t always that simple, but there are simple things here that kind of mess with people, like if you miss somebody, simply reach out to them. If there’s something you need to tell someone, simply tell them.
One that isn’t so simple and people mess it up all the time is if there is a problem or challenge, bring it up. But before you do, always brainstorm three possible solutions to it and you kind of circle what your favorite solution from those three is. Additionally, describe why that solution is your favorite one. This is actually helpful because it drives the discussion towards resolving the issue rather than just complaining about what isn’t right.
Additionally, James Clear in his bestselling book called “Atomic Habits” recommends that all things that become monumental habits start as simple things that one does on a daily basis until they become part of you. For example, if it is a new habit that you want to start, just do it for two minutes. Start building that habit from there and go with it! After those initial two minutes, stop and go do something else. Keep it simple!
Just as there is a minimal viable product in the business space, there is also a minimum aspect of getting things started in other spheres of life. Just pick one small thing that you can start doing every day. Pick something so small that it is actually hard not to do it. My favorite example of keeping things simple is of a nun who started working out at age 60, and she started by walking one block on day one.
Now most of us would think “Oh my gosh! That’s not even a workout! She didn’t sweat, her heart isn’t pumping!” I don’t remember the details, but she did one block for a number of days and then kept periodically adding a block to her walk. At a certain point, she started to walk a block, jog the next block and so on. By the time she was in her 70s she actually did over a hundred triathlons. This all started when she was in her 60s and she made the decision to walk just one block.
What is insane is that in her 80s she actually took part in ironman competitions which is a 2.5 mile swim, 100-mile bike ride and then a marathon to wrap it up, all in one day. What is wild about this story is that all these achievements started with doing something so simple that she could not screw it up. She just walked one block, and she did it so consistently that it became a habit which produced remarkable lifetime results.
In just over two decades, moreover starting at an age when most people have given up on life, she did something phenomenal by putting in the effort every single day. The habit stacked up and built into where she is today.
The book “Atomic Habits” also talks about most of our bad habits as being nothing more than an unconscious trigger based on past training. For example, someone has a bad habit of every time they go to the grocery store they buy a bunch of junk food. What the author says is that in reality, it is not that they are consciously deciding to buy the junk food. Their body is trained that when they walk down the aisle, the body is trained to reach out and pick that product.
In that case, there is a cue, a trigger, and a reward. That person is just picking junk food without even thinking about it because their bodies are trained to act that way when they enter the grocery store.
One of my favorite marketers who my wife used to work with, Seth Godi, says people want us to do things like that. There are identities tied to this sort of behavior. For example, you are shown a fun person buying cookies, and so you also think that you are also a fun person who should also buy cookies.
Godi says if you want to switch from those undesirable habits, try shopping from a different grocery store. Pick a different environment to do your shopping if you want to make healthier food choices. It is much easier to buy healthier food in the new environment because there are no triggers to reach for the same stuff that you were picking before. Your mind doesn’t know where they are, so out of sight, out of mind. There are simply no triggers for you to pick the junk food.
The environmental factor is so strong in good or bad habits. For most people with bad habits, they have trained themselves for so long that you long to do the same patterns in the same places so that when you go there, your body just goes into autopilot and it starts doing what it has always done there.
I will give you an example. When you go to a therapist, you always share your worries, fears, anxieties and pain, and anger and frustrations, then all of a sudden you go to the same building where your therapist sits and you sit down with your auntie, your uncle or cousin or something, and they go like, “How’s life?” And you automatically start pouring out your heart about everything that you are unhappy with. Then you ask yourself, “Why did I do that?” In reality, your body linked the building to your therapist and that caused you to just spew it out. You are unconsciously going through a pattern that existed around this building and yet that pattern has nothing to do with the person you are with at that moment.
Are you really present in the moment or are you reacting to old triggers? That is something really important in relationships. A lot of us, even without knowing it, are spending a lot of time sitting with someone you love all the while reacting to old patterns. Are you reacting to the moment right here, right now, to what is happening, or is your brain telling you, “Ah, I have seen something like this before!” That means they are going to do this, so I am going to do that.
When you do that, you aren’t reacting to what is happening at that moment, but are being driven by a past trigger that either made you angry or laugh. You are not living in the moment but are living in the past.
We actually have a lunch to go have with my nieces and brother and so we are going to say good afternoon, good evening, and we will see you tomorrow for Day 96 of the 100 Day Personal Performance and Business Growth Challenge!
To Your Success,