It was that time of the year again that I hated. My birthday.
My mentor took me out for lunch at my favorite vegetarian restaurant that doubles as a Buddhist temple. Over some crispy tofu, my mentor asked me why I hated birthdays. I explained to him that age is just a number in my mind and I don’t value the day I was born.
I probably shouldn’t have said any of those words because what followed was an onslaught of abuse, some of the best advice I’ve been given and a ten-minute hack to take back control of your life.
My mentor first told me that I had to stop being childish and celebrate my birthday. Sometimes we all need a kick in the face to wake us up from the lies we tell ourselves. He said that by not celebrating my birthday, I was essentially saying that my life didn’t matter and wasn’t worth acknowledging.
I pondered that thought for a second and realized that’s a horrible way to treat myself.
“I have to love myself before I can show love towards others”
My next question went like this: “Okay tough guy what do you want me to do on my birthday then? I’ll do it if you tell me it’s worth a try.”
My mentor told me to reward myself. I then listed a few things I could do, but he said I was cheating myself. All the activities I chose were things that I would have done on any other day of the week.
To cut a long story short, I decided to go and buy a family sized pizza and stuff my face. It’s something I always loved because I worked in a piazza shop as a kid. I hadn’t done this for years though, and that was my reward. Showing love to myself? Tick.
So while having lunch with my mentor, he told me a story. He said that in 2012 he had a break from his consulting days for three months and became bored. He was disappointed with the relationship he had with his parents and decided to make a drastic change.
“For ten minutes, every single day, for the next five years, he rang his mom and dad”
No matter what he had on or where he was in the world, he rang his parents and told them that he loved them. The poor relationship that he had with his parents slowly became better. In 2012, his brother was looked upon more favorably because he was financially supporting his mom and dad.
By ringing his parents every day, my mentor was able to change his parent’s opinion to the point where now his brother isn’t seen in the same positive light as he is (not that it’s a competition).
Why this habit worked?
This habit worked for my mentor because it was a decision that was made with love. When we make decisions from a place of love, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and give everything that we have to offer. A habit, such as this one, on paper, would look to have an insignificant effect.
“That’s the thing about habits; they have a massive effect on our lives and we almost never realize this”
This habit was also highly effective because it was only ten minutes long and was done every single day. Excuses that get in the way of habits cause us to lose control. We have to have discipline with everything we do and not become lazy with useless excuses.
The importance of the habit determines if it will stick
This habit worked because there was an intrinsic motivation to heal a family relationship. This relationship was important and created its own motivation for my mentor. If you’re trying to take back control and make a major change in your life, then your habits must be aligned to something that matters. Something that matters to you, not everyone else around you.
Habits that are created to serve a goal, which impresses other people, rarely work. Drop the habits that are not tied to your biggest goals and dreams and focus on a select few habits that do. These are my most crucial habits:
– Regular exercise to avoid getting sick again
– Green juice every day to avoid another cancer scare
– Blogging every day to inspire the world and accomplish my vision
– Meditation daily to keep me calm and stop me from becoming stressed
As you can see, I don’t have loads of habits, but each one is tied to a significant goal of mine. Each goal is so big and audacious that not to follow these habits would be catastrophic.
So when you look at your habits make sure they are tied to goals that matter.
My challenge to you
Everyone reading this post has a big dream that they’ve seen others achieve. You’ve probably felt at one time or another like you’re not quite sure how to follow in the steps of the greats who have done what you hope to do.
As you can see from the story of my mentor, fixing his family relationship, by doing one simple habit each day means that success is almost guaranteed. The people who can support your goals and help you achieve them can’t ignore you forever.
That’s part of the hack. Habits that involve people are impossible to ignore in the long term.
Think about trying one of these:
– 10 minutes writing to someone who’s influential
– 10 minutes writing to someone you love
– 10 minutes writing to a family member you’ve fallen out with
There’s no way that these people orientated goals can remain unfulfilled forever. If you wrote to someone who is highly influential and that you admire every day, eventually they will notice you. For example: If I wrote to Tony Robbins every single day for ten minutes, via one medium that he’s always on, there’s no way he could ignore me forever.
If I told someone I loved them every single day for at least a year, there’s no way this mantra would not have an effect on them. If I wrote to a family member (my brother) every single day, there’s no way it wouldn’t have a positive effect on our relationship.
My challenge to you is this:
DO TEN MINUTES A DAY OF A HABIT THAT IS TIED TO A MAJOR PAIN POINT OR GOAL IN YOUR LIFE.