[startup experience #3] Start new habits | why, what & results?
I’ve been recently reading Atomic Habits and have gained a better understanding about the power of atomic habits. And since I have tons of time for myself now after leaving my last job, I am fascinated by performing some experiments on new habits. And this is a good opportunity for me to put what I have learnt from the book into practice.
WHY DO I DEVELOP NEW HABITS?
I want to be a better person. Although working as a full-time employee, I don’t feel any change to my emotion, mind, and spirit. Many times I tend to complain a lot, blame my mistakes on others, overthinking rather than take actions, etc. I know from the bottom heart of me that I should become a better person. Especially now I am working on a startup project together with my friends, the old thoughts and behaviour that I have picked up at the job in the past won’t work out for the startup. In order to achieve the new results for our startup projects, I need to apply new actions with new thoughts, but in oder to have new actions, I need to have a new emotion state. In the past when I was working for somebody, my emotion is mainly about finishing the tasks and finish the month as quick as possible in order to get paid. My mind at that time was so busy with the tasks that I became mindless at work, no creativity is required for my job, and such mindless state even got integrated into my personal life. So I want to change myself to be better, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Regarding the self-improvement, there are tons of ways to hack that, but building good atomic habits is essential. I favour this quote from the book: “Habits are the compound interests of self-improvement.” So I learn to build good atomic habits to help me achieve the 1% improvement every single day.
HABIT ONE: MEDITATION
For a very long time, I only know this word, but have no idea about its mechanism and its benefits, and never learn to practise it. Until one month ago when I left my Full-Time Job, I felt the desire to do some mental exercise, and I choose meditation which involves relaxation, focus and awareness. These three things are in demand for my startup journey.
I like this quote from the book entitled “Breaking the habit of being yourself” by Joe Dispenza
Absorbing knowledge (knowing) and then gaining practical experience by applying what you learned until a particular skill became ingrained in you (knowing how) is probably how you acquired most of the abilities that now feel like a part of your being (knowingness).
So, I structure my meditation journey as the following steps:
- Step one: understanding the benefits of meditation
- Step two: understanding the mechanism of meditation
- Step three: practicing mediation every day
Besides the book “Breaking the habit of being yourself”, I also learn a lot from “Think like a monk” by Jay Shetty.
Two quotes from the book:
I Am What I think I am. It’s better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.
Clinging to temporary things give them power over us, and they become sources of pain and fear. But when we accept the temporary nature of everything in our lives, we can feel gratitude for the good fortune of getting to borrow them for a time.
EVALUATION OF HABIT ONE
As a result of learning meditation in the last month, I have developed a better understanding about ‘awareness’, ‘self-awareness’, and ‘awareness of awareness’. When I started writing my first eBook, I came to realise the power of awareness. For instance, when people feel fear about learning to code, being awareness of its existence but focus on improving coding while living peacefully with that fear. Besides working on external stuff, I also started to working on myself how to respond to the negative comments. In the past, people are used to hear the so-called encouraging words, but many times these words fail on us. We might be motivated a bit at that moment, but not effective in our life very quickly. We are used to solving our problems superficially. I’m so lucky to come to these realizations at this stage of my life.
The other insight from this book is living a life of detachment. Based on my understanding from this book, the idea of detachment is similar to minimalism. I started to live a life with only the basic necessities, which helps me clarify my mind and focus more on the important things in my life. Another detachment from the internet, “Detachment is the ability of a person to observe, without judgement, their life circumstances, thoughts, relationships, and emotions.”, hits me a lot. I am a very person who make quick judgements on people, events, environments, and emotions. In order to become a nicer person, a better human being, and become happy, I am determined to practice detachment from now on. First I record the moments when I hold on the temporary things so tight and the moments when I make quick judgements, and then design actionable plans to combat them. I’m still in the process of figuring out a better tracking system for my behaviors, on a daily basis or weekly basis. But I believe after many attempts and repetitions, I will find myself become a better person with strong consciousness about living a life of detachment.
Of course, there are many more insights from this great book. I strongly recommend this book if you want to live a happy life with a peaceful mind and more clarity about your life purpose. I am so grateful to read this book.
HABIT TWO: DAILY READING
The awareness I have developed from the meditation practice helps me realize one important thing: I have reading problems. Well, I can read, and also I can’t read. I love reading books. Every time I come across a bookstore, I can’t resist the temptation. And sometimes I feel proud of myself for my love for reading books. But the thing is I don’t even remember the key messages from the books because I read passively, without any deep understanding and any intention to apply to my life and work. Perhaps I only enjoy reading for itself, not caring about the time I spent and the potential benefits I would get from the book. It seems that I keep talking to the book for my personal enjoyment but not listening to what the book is telling me. We are lack of effective communication. Me and my book are not real friends. But I am desired to become an effective reader.
EVALUATION OF HABIT TWO
Because of the awareness of my reading problems, together with my friends, we develop an app to help people like me to build good reading habits to empower their life and work. Now we finished the creation of mobile app and web prototype. Hopefully I could share with you the detail once the MVP is launched. Because of such awareness, I wrote a post about becoming an effective reader — select the book with intention, read, understand, apply, and evaluate/reflection/review.
HABIT THREE: DAILY WRITING
For a long time, I find writing idea down on paper help me clarify the tasks at work. Writing is also an effective way to enhance my Creative Thinking which is super necessary for the innovation and management of my startup projects collaborated with my two friends. Every time when I find myself stuck with my thoughts, I will write them down to let the words clarify my thoughts, re-organise my mind, and generate new innovations.
Because of the huge benefits of writing, I am desired to become a good writer, and building a daily writing habit is essential. I could write anything from a book summary, blog posts, or business plan, or product story, etc..
EVALUATION OF HABIT THREE
Daily writing also helps me prepare tons of content for my YouTube videos, my blogs, and also the eBook I’ve been recently writing. Since the past month, I have constantly updated my blog site and Medium. Without the daily writing habit, I don’t think I can finish the eBook draft, I am totally aware that I will keep improving the story, structure, wording, etc. after its first release. I keep telling myself that I write every day, create content constantly, and be mindful with the 10% of daily improvement.
I’m super grateful for the last one month as it is the starting point for my new journey as a startup owner. Building good atomic habits and adopting a system-based approach will help me strive to be better than yesterday.
The video version of this post