Our topic today is focused on thinking about the three things that influence our habits the most. Let me quickly tell you how important our habits are. There was a recent study done at Duke University, it showed that 60 percent of what we do on a daily basis is nothing more than an unconscious habit.
What does that mean? The first time that you learn to do something, the researchers discovered that there is a spike in your brain activity throughout that learning process. Once you have done a new activity at least six times, the spike in the level of your brain activity goes down and reveals a low level of activity. The spike is again observed when you change activities.
What that reduced level of brain activity means is that the majority of the process of doing the activity you were doing was an unconscious mental activity. This means that since you weren’t mentally stimulated while doing that activity, you were in an unconscious or minimum conscious habit of processing the steps.
And so if 60 percent of what you do every day is an unconscious habit, you’ve got to think of all the things that you have done more than six times that your brain isn’t consciously thinking of when you go and do the pattern.
Now what is fascinating is that when we look at the habits and patterns you have, how happy are most people that you meet? Are they out of their mind ecstatic about their lives? Totally thrilled to be alive every moment of their lives? Every moment is a blessing because they feel so lucky to be alive and every moment is filled with this amazing, exciting gratitude?
Or, are most people struggling to get through each day, surviving another day at work, putting up with all the crap that they have to go through?
Now most people aren’t that happy. How about their health? I mean, just look around the U.S., the UK or many other countries around the world, how healthy are those people? If you look at the health statistics, a lot of people are obese, one in three people in the U.S. are on anti-depressants, etc. That doesn’t sound like mental, physical and emotional health, does it?
Then, how are most relationships going? Not that great in this area, either. How about financially, at least people are making a ton of money, right? Most people are living paycheck to paycheck.
That means that we don’t want to work so hard and end up like 99 percent of the people, because those people aren’t doing well in any aspect of their life (health, intimate relationships, finances, etc.).
So, let us say that we want to be like the top one percent. Do you want to be in the one percent who give and help more people than anyone else? Do you want to be in the one percent who are the healthiest people in your community? Do you want to be in the one percent who have incredible loving, happy, successful intimate relationships? Do you want to be in the one percent of all people who have financial abundance and aren’t worried about payday?
Most people will give an emphatic answer to the questions above, but when I look at your dream boards and vision boards where you visualize the things that you want to manifest, I don’t see $400,000 a year with a decently happy marriage and good health.
What I see on those boards is a second home, building hospitals and schools in villages around the world. I see this wildly sexy, passionate relationship. I see these giant stacks of cash and wild levels of abundance with cars and homes and stuff like that.
And that isn’t the one percent at the top. The one percent makes around $400,000 a year and has a pretty happy marriage. The 0.001 percent is the one that most people are aiming for. And here’s what is crazy, because this always gets a wow when people pay attention. If you have habits similar to the habits of the 99 percent, those habits will never get you to where the 0.001 percent are. I hope this makes sense to you.
Now we have to figure out what habits can get us to the top one percent, rather than keeping us in the bottom 99 percent. Remember, according to research done at Duke University, 60 percent of what we do each day is an unconscious habit.
I hope that you have built-in unconscious habits that are, on a continuous basis, taking you or keeping you among the one percent. If you don’t have those habits, then 60 percent of what you do each day is keeping you within the results seen by 99 percent of all people, and yet those are the results that you don’t want and are unhappy about.
Now, we’re going to do a whole live series on the habits of high performers. People like Michael Phelps, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt, people who are living to be 100-plus years old, people who are achieving a ridiculous amount of money, etc.
There’s very specific results that you see they achieve because of the habits they have and the things they do every single day.
Let me give you an example. Warren Buffett has achieved that 0.0001 percent result in finances. How did he do it? Well, this guy spends 5-6 hours each day reading business reports. Now how many of you just went, “Oh, shit, one percent ain’t that bad because 0.001 percent means six hours of reading each day, so one percent will suffice!”
It is totally fine if you say that you aren’t going to do the Warren Buffett 5-6 hours of reading each day, but then decide that you are going to do the one hour a day of reading that could get you to join the top one percent in term of financial results.
Jim Cook does read a book a day, but he doesn’t read a financial report from a company each day. I think he should, he is very smart, a great speed reader and a great friend. You just see the difference in what he is reading from the kind of results that he is getting.
Jim is nowhere close to Warren Buffett financially and Jim doesn’t study investing like Buffett does, but Jim has excelled in learning all kinds of great stuff and probably exceeding by far anything Warren Buffett has done in those areas.
This is exactly what I am saying. Jim is part of the one percent, but he is certainly not in the 0.001 percent. And there is a huge difference between those two categories (the one percent and the 0.001 percent). For example, the one percent are millionaires while the 0.001 percent have at least $58 billion.
So learning the strategy and then figuring out how you make it an unconscious habit that you indulge in every single day is the key thing here. 60 percent of what we do is an unconscious habit that we aren’t thinking about.
I will give you another example. How many of you have ever said, “Wow, time flies! The older I get, the faster things seem to go.” If you have ever made that statement, I will tell you why that statement is true. The reason is, the older you get, the more you fall into doing more and more of these unconscious habits, which if you look at the brain activity, your brain is literally on autopilot. That is why time flies.
Well, I am going to do another little live session training on how to keep your brain active and alive, which slows down time and makes you feel alive and present. But if you are doing the same stuff every day, yes, you will be more productive and will get more done, but you will not be more mentally present and alive. Instead, you are on autopilot and time will just fly by. One minute you look up and it is 10 am, the next minute you look up and it is 10 pm and you don’t know what happened. You went on autopilot all day.
Something really important; there are three things that influence our habits at a really high level.
1. What Everyone Else Does
This is what makes it extremely hard, depending on where you live and who you hang out with, to change your habits. Because, if that is what everyone does in your community, it is very easy for you to also get caught up in it. This is why they say that you should spend time with the kind of people that you would like to be like because the habits that everyone around you has will highly predict the habits that you are going to have.
2. Things That Are Easy and Things Linked to Past Triggers
I will give you an example of this one. Let’s say that you are trying to eat healthier and every time you go to the grocery store, you tend to buy a bunch of unhealthy food. It is said that if you want to change this, go to a different grocery store.
Changing the grocery store works because your brain isn’t used to where all the stuff is in this different grocery store, therefore the habits and the triggers that are set up in relation to the previous grocery store where you used to do your shopping cannot be set into action.
In contrast, when you go to the same grocery store that you have always gone to and walk down the same aisles, your hand will almost automatically reach up on the shelf and grab that thing that you don’t want to grab because that is how you always do it.
As you can see, past triggers are such a huge influence in our habits. And so if you change the triggers and the things that come easily to you, you will slowly start to rewire some habits. Also change your peer group and you will rewire some habits.
3. The People We Look Up To
The people we look up to heavily influence the habits we have. The people we admire determine the habits we have because we look at them for examples. This is the example of the one percent or the 0.001 percent.
I will give you an example. I don’t know if any of these people are important to you but I was doing some research on the kind of life that people who have a life or a personal performance coach that they work with live. And so I looked it up, and I had some analyst do some online research for me and gather all the data. The analyst found that people like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, and so many of these high performance people have personal coaches that help them in their personal lives and their professional lives.
So, how many of you think that if you want to achieve the results that these people are achieving, (Oprah, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.), it would be smart to have a personal coach if you also want to have the kind of results that they have?
What’s wild is when I heard that, I said thank goodness I have a coach! What is interesting is when we think about this third concept of habits, how many of you are now considering having a coach? It becomes obvious that if you look up to someone on that list I mentioned and you realize that they have a coach, then you can now clearly see that you, too, need a coach. And that is how a habit can be influenced or created in you by the people you look up to. Just like that!
I know you are probably one of those people who doesn’t watch television, doesn’t read magazines, and isn’t influenced by the media in any way; what’s wild is that there is somebody you always look up to, and if they do it, you will all of a sudden say that you too should do that.
There are huge amounts of research done around the world, to figure out what and who influences which types of people. There are people who are very education-based, people you might find in Boston (people with a master’s degree or PhD-level education), they’d never be influenced by a celebrity, but, they might be influenced by their favorite professor who wrote the most research studies and publications on their favorite three topics.
Have you heard the concept, “Are you in good hands?” If you know that commercial, then you will know that they took a product, put it next to a person that people are influenced by, they wrapped it together using a large reach via television and that influenced millions of people to go and buy that product.
There is a group of people in the U.S. that is influenced by family and connectivity, they hate change, they like things to stay the same, they like community, they like the barbecue on the weekend and stuff like that. AT & T run a television commercial called “Reach Out and Touch Someone.” They showed a little grandma seated in a chair all lonely by herself. And the advert shows a grandkid calling, and all of a sudden grandma lights up and gets all excited.
They run that commercial and they saw a 12,000 percent increase in the phone calls over the AT & T network during the next six months. Why? Because they ran that commercial in the Midwest United States and all the people who value community and family felt bad, picked up the phone and called grandma or whoever they missed in their family, and bam, the telephones line lit up. And that was back when it used to cost to make each phone call. So they were driving their revenue up just by running a little commercial called “Reach Out and Touch Someone.”
So it is interesting when you look at habits. 60 percent of what we do every day is an unconscious habit. You want to be aware of what your habits are, and you need to know the three things that influence those habits. One, things that are easy and past triggers. Two, what everyone else does around you, and three, people you look up to regardless of whether they are a celebrity, or you grandma or your uncle or whoever. Hopefully this helpful. Hopefully this is useful, ad if you find it so, tag someone, share it with someone and I will see you guys tomorrow for our Day 100 of our 100-Day Personal Performance and Business Growth Challenge!
To Your Success,