How to Engineer the Greatest Community Experience?

How to Engineer the Greatest Community Experience?How do you put a bunch of strangers together and they become a tribe? How come they are compelled to invest their time in online relationships with total strangers? How come they even pay for that experience?

Those questions have been at the top of mind of online creators for some years. I know the answers.

Community Magic

In the beginning of 2013, when forming an online community was an outlandish new concept, I took part in the Online Transformational Contest organized by Early to Rise. I experienced there an incredible community magic. I chased similar level of engagement and commitment since then; without much luck. Any other online, or even hybrid community, was subpar to the TC.
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Consistency Is Easy and Makes Your Life Easier

My friends nicknamed me Mr. Consistency. Clearly, they thought I possess this trait at an extraordinary level. However, there is nothing extraordinary about my consistency. It is mundane, even boring. It is not so difficult at all.

Most think consistency is hard, difficult, impossible, tough, unstable, untenable, and unsustainable.

Most people are wrong.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”

— Henry Ford

It’s enough to change your thinking about consistency to attain it.

How Do You Change Your Thinking about Consistency?

I have a few ideas.

1. Realize that Humans Are Wired for Consistency.

How often do you touch your mobile phone screen? Quite consistently, right?

How often do you scroll through social media? Again, consistently, right?

How often does a gamer play a video game, a smoker light a cigarette, a pill addict gulp a pill, and an alcoholic sip a drink?

The same answer applies.

Humans are creatures of habits. Pshaw! As far as we know, all vertebrate are creatures of habits. We share the part of the brain where habits are stored — basal ganglia — with the most primitive animals — snakes, pigeons, alligators.

I can hear the objection: “But wait! I meant consistency with good habits is difficult!”

You say so?

How many people have the same friends they had a week, a month or a decade ago? How many people have the same spouse for years? How many people have been going consistently to work? How many students have been going consistently to school?

The answers to the above questions are: billions, billions, billions, and billions.

So, are friendship, love, work or education evil? Nope.

Bad habits glue to us without much effort. Most good habits need some cultivation before they solidify. But both good and bad habits use the exact same biological mechanism.

2. Examine Your Life.

Unless you are sick and there is something seriously wrong with your brain, you already have plenty of habits. Pick a few you are satisfied with and grateful for. Maybe you take a minute to decompress in your car when returning from home?

Maybe you exercise regularly?

Maybe you read a lot? Maybe you clean your room/house?

If you cannot recall any other good habit, you probably brush your teeth, right?

OK, so you have some good habits. It already says a couple of things about you:

-you are capable of creating good habits; difficulty level aside, you were able to develop some.

-your good habits benefit you; that’s why they are called “good!”

Examine your life and your habits. Think of how your life could look, if you didn’t have them?


For example, I know very well how miserable my life would be without a habit of brushing my teeth twice a day. I developed it only as a teenager. And toothaches plagued my life prior to establishing the habit. My teeth rotted and ached like hell. It’s enough to dedicate two minutes in the morning and in the evening, to spare myself terrible torment.

However, you must perform this mental exercise on your own, taking examples from your own life. What benefits do your habits provide? What do they prevent and protect you from?


Also, recall the process of creating your habit if you can. Maybe it wasn’t difficult at all? If developing this specific habit was easy, maybe other habits you have were easy to build too?

The grandest habit I have is writing at least 600 words a day. When I built my writing habit nine years ago, I had been aiming at 400 words a day. It took me about 30 minutes ripped off from my insanely busy schedule. Yet, I don’t recall any difficulty at all. The difficulties I had, I label now as inconveniences and discomforts.

I wanted to write! I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to change my line of work. I didn’t deliberate with myself if I should write on a given day or not. Runners run and writers write. End of story.

I remember creating another habit — drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning. It was annoying; I wasn’t used to consuming anything at all for about 2–3 hours since waking up. And I almost never drank water. I didn’t like the taste of it. Yet, in a few short weeks I developed this habit. It stuck with me ever since.

3. Realize the Power of Time.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

You can do that only through reflection and rumination. Your subconscious mind doesn’t understand the concept of time. All it knows is “now.” As far as I know, you cannot teach your subconscious what time is, like you cannot teach a chimpanzee to fly like a bird. Those two entities are incompatible.

We all intellectually know the concept of the compound effect. But the theory is not enough. I had once in my mastermind a very successful guy, an owner of a multimillion dollar company. He struggled to save money. I remember other guys from the mastermind explaining to him how one dollar saved today can be turned into several dollars down the road, and I realized how dumb that was. Taylor already knew how the compound effect worked. He wasn’t stupid! He helped to build a very successful business. He simply didn’t feel the importance of it and its repercussions.

You need to internalize the knowledge and feel it at your gut level.

This was the purpose of recalling your good habits and counting their benefits. It’s one thing to intellectually understand good habits are good for you, and it’s a different story to actually experience they have been good for you.

Scientists claim that about 40% of our daily actions are automatic. You drive your car, put your shoes on, brush your teeth and you don’t think about those activities at all. You just do them.

But those automatic actions don’t determine only 40% of your life. They determine about 98% (where does this number come from? My personal hunch). You see, the actions you don’t perform regularly have very small overall impact on your life.

One day you eat a carrot, another day you eat a burger. Those actions nullify each other.

But those 40% of activities you repeat every day? They compound. Eat vegetables every day; or eat fast foods every day. The output of those actions will quickly cumulate in your life.

Time. This is the true power behind consistency. Time is the most powerful force in the universe. With time, a river could cut out a Great Canyon in the rock.

Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.”

― Ovid

Consistency is a way to leverage the most powerful force in the universe in your life. Try to keep that in mind when the next impulse to eat junk, watch junk, or “kill time” will arrive.

4. Killing Time Is Suicide in Installments.

Inactivity has consequences.

Time will be your friend or your enemy; it will promote you or expose you.”

― Jeff Olson

Always. A decision to do nothing is not indifferent. It makes the time to work against you instead of for you.

Do nothing, and suddenly instead of riding the tide of time, you are crushed under it. When you put your life on hold to mindlessly watch another TV series, play a computer game or scroll through social media, you make time your enemy.

Make rest a necessity, not an objective.”

— Jim Rohn

It doesn’t mean you will not rest. In reality, we need loads of time to pause and charge our internal batteries. Eight hours of sleep. Half an hour of exercise. Time for socializing. Quiet time for your mind and soul.

Have you noticed? There is no single modern app or entertainment platform on the above list of necessary activities. When you let yourself be sucked into mental entertainments, you make time your enemy AND you don’t get any rest. You still need to cut time for charging your batteries and for all the work you have to do.

5. Consistency Is Here and Now.

The classic mistake we make when thinking of developing good habits is that we focus on the perceived difficulty of doing something for months and years.

But you never have to do something for months or years. Consistency is a chain built from many links. When it comes to actual action, it is only the single link that matters. When you read, write, exercise, write a thank-you note, eat a vegetable, or meditate, you do it here and now! Not in the upcoming decades!

The effort is scaled down to the next few minutes or hours. That’s it.

Anticipating years of struggle and toil in advance is as stupid as worrying about your kids’ college grades… while the kid in question is currently the baby crying because of a wet diaper. You should deal with the wet diaper, eruption of teeth, first steps now. The time for college grades will come.

6. Consistency Is Small.

The size of activity doesn’t matter. At least, when we regard consistency. Whether you write a paragraph a day or a chapter a day, consistency of the activity is actually the same. It’s the number of repetitions, not the scope of your activity that defines the consistency of your actions.

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

― Bruce Lee

Yes, you can condense the same effort into one day. You can do 100 consecutive pushups instead of doing five pushups for twenty days. In the short term, you will surely gain more than a guy doing five pushups a day. But when it comes to continuity and sustainability, your 100 pushups means exactly nada.

Unless, you can do them the next day too. And the day after that, and another…

Hmm, actually, consistency is not small. It is size-indifferent. However, starting small makes the whole process so much easier. First of all:

“Well started is half done.”

Image by meisjedevos from Pixabay


When you try to attempt something ambitious, like writing for an hour a day or going to the gym every day, you set yourself up for failure. The initial resistance is huge! In most cases, you don’t even start. You just fiddle with this thought and talk yourself out of it. In those few cases when you actually start such an activity, the resistance is big every time you try to repeat a habit. And you eventually talk yourself out of it.

When you start small, the mechanism is opposite. There is little to zero initial resistance, so you actually start instead of just thinking of it. The next day, it’s easy to continue, so you continue. You grow your streak with almost no effort. The best part? It’s ridiculously easy to scale up your habit once you built it.

Back in 2012, I created a habit of gulping a glass of water right after my morning workout. One glass. As I mentioned, I built it fast. Soon, I added another glass of water — I had an empty glass, so I filled it again and went to my desk to continue my morning ritual. While reading, journaling and the like I sipped that next glass.

Nowadays, I’m at the level of four glasses of water before I finish my morning ritual.

Consistency is easy. Change your thinking about regular activities. Doing them is not difficult.

We are biologically wired for consistency.

You already have good habits. You are capable of developing them.

Time will pass anyway. Your habits let you leverage it to your advantage.

Wasting your time is a big no-no. Time for a rest is necessary.

Consistency is built here and now, not in the distant future.

Starting small is smart. You can upgrade an existing habit almost effortlessly.

Wrap your head around the above concepts and become consistent. This is how you make your life easier and advance to the top 1%.


Fame, Money, and Other Surprising Benefits of Being an Author

Fame, Money, and Other Surprising Benefits of Being an AuthorEight years ago, exactly at the 26th of May 2013, I published my first book.

When I had hit the ‘publish’ button, I secretly hoped for things every first-time writing greenhorn dreams about: fame and money. And maybe a little bit of the writer’s lifestyle – working as much as I wanted, when I wanted, and doing only the things I enjoyed doing.

You know, the type of fame, money, and writer’s lifestyle which is portrayed in dumb Hollywood productions and even dumber TV series: an author is someone who does nothing, all the time, and cashes in checks every month.

The harsh reality is much different. A few years ago, Author Earnings portal made an extensive research and they concluded only about 10,000 authors on Amazon made more than $10,000 a year. It makes an economic sense. Writing is one of the most competitive occupations in the world. I published my first book paying just $5 for a cover. Anybody can write and publish nowadays.

Thus, the payoff is democratized. You need to work your ass off to make a living as a writer. And it’s hard to do, when you already work your ass off in your day job.

However, within eight years as an author I got my share of money, fame and lifestyle. And many other things I didn’t even imagine. Here goes the list of the surprising benefits of being an author.

1. Time Flexibility.

I was able to downsize my day job to 10 hours a week, and my royalties had something to do with that. Also, writing itself is a very flexible occupation.

My first books were written almost entirely during my commute to and from work. The railroad I had been using was in reconstruction, and travelling 30 miles to the capital took me almost two hours. In one direction!

Being self-published contributed immensely to my time flexibility. I was the one who determined the timelines and deadlines. I wrote and published my first booklet in 49 days. It’s a crazy speed for the traditional publishing. When I was overwhelmed, I could slow down. I published only four books since September 2016. When I started my own business, I scaled down my writing from 1,000 to 600 words a day.

2. Business.

Back in 2012, I realized I needed to own a business to achieve the lifestyle I yearned for my family. The problem was, I had no clue what kind of business nor how to operate any business. That’s why I started writing. What a dumb idea – to write for money! (see the statistics above).

In 2019, I officially started a business, and I was providing this service to authors since 2017. I run Amazon ads for self-published authors. I learned advertising in 2016, and it saved my author career. It quadrupled my sales.

Nowadays, the main bulk of my income is writing-related. Royalties provide about 15-20% of my income. Advertising books provides an additional 40% or so. Even the income streams that have very little to do with writing – coaching and speaking gigs – are mostly book-induced. I have a few faithful coaching clients who found me through my books. I got paid by Bellevue University for a webinar because they found my book on Amazon. I get some affiliate income from pimping Publisher Rocket – the best Amazon keyword research tool in the world – to authors.

3. Financial Stability.

I make only about 30% of my original day job salary working quarter-time. And it’s a good thing.

In 2009, I was laid off from my IT day job. It was the only source of income my family had. Overnight, we lost 100% of our income. That was a scary time.

Now, I have a day job (which I keep for my wife’s peace of mind and social security benefits), my business, book royalties, audiobook royalties, three coaching clients are paying me every month. I have multiple tiny income streams, like that affiliate income I mentioned, or royalties from Medium, and numerous 1-time gigs – webinars, consulting, book description writing, translation deals, etc.

I can lose any stream of income and my lifestyle would be only slightly affected. I had never had such security being an employee.

4. Connections.

I haven’t been overly focused on my publishing activities lately. Writing took a back seat in my life. It’s still there, but it consumes only about 10% of my time and brainpower.

Yet, when I published my latest book in December 2020, I sold almost 1,000 copies in the first month. How come? My connections.

A few of my author friends shared my book with their audiences. It was enough to generate over 50% of the sales volume.

Also, my connections helped me to produce the book. My friend made a cover for me and did the formatting.

Right now, I’m in the midst of the next book launch, The Remarkable Power of Consistency. Again, everything was done “in the spare time.” I needed just one phone call and a couple of emails to have a professional cover designed. I contacted my favorite editor and all I needed to do was to accommodate to her schedule. I wrote an email to my previous proofreader and she happily agreed to check out the whole thing. I sent an email broadcast to my list, and dozens of people agreed to become members of my launch team.

But it illustrates only my book-world connections. I built many others. In December, I reached out to my millionaire mentor. He immediately jumped on the call with me.

My former customer introduced me to his friend in March. It turned into a $350 gig, and it’s just the beginning.

The possibilities I have access to now, are vastly greater than at the beginning of my journey.

5. Experience.

I’m a very bad role model of the successful author. I do very little marketing and I do it half-haphazardly. Seriously, it’s not a recipe for success. Yet, I still sold over 2,300 copies on Amazon in the last 90 days; and I gave away another free 1,700 copies.

As the story of publishing The Remarkable Power of Consistency shows, I can get decent results with minimal effort because I leverage my experience.

I know who to contact and what to do. I know all the steps. I know the best promotional and marketing venues. I don’t need to wonder and ponder, I just execute.

6. Fame.

I still got my share of author fame. Millions of people read my stuff online. Over 100,000 people read my books. The online fame is easier to stand than what celebrities experience. I was never recognized on the street. 😉 When some troll wants to make me a target, I simply block them out.

The best thing about my modest “fame” is that it increases my reach. I can help more people. At the beginning of 2020, I was interviewed on the biggest Polish podcast. Over 10,000 people watched it on YouTube, and God only knows how many listened to the audio version. I gave away an hour of my time, and I reached thousands of people.

The more I’m ‘out there,’ the more I can help, sometimes in totally unexpected ways. Look at this comment I got on Quora:
Fame, Money, and Other Surprising Benefits of Being an Author
Isn’t it amazing? I help Steve to get back his hope for life. This is priceless.

7. Money.

Financial stability is one thing. But I also earn about 100% more than eight years ago. As I explained above, a relatively small part of my income comes directly from writing, but about 80% of my income has been created in the last eight years. Book royalties, publishing deals, webinars, coaching, affiliate sales – I earned money from those sources for the first time in my life.

Doubling our household income made some dreams come true. We bought a home! Book royalties from my first bestseller – Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day – were instrumental in that purchase. If not for that money, we couldn’t afford our contribution.

I travelled to the States a few times and met folks who I knew only online – friends and mentors. I was a couple of times on vacation with my wife – in Bulgaria and on Crete.

Do you know what else I could do? Hire people. My sons gained some hands-on experience and learned how it is to work for money in their teens. I helped a sister from my church community to pay off some consumer loans which were weighing very heavily on her.
I hired a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines, and the meager $400 I pay her for half-time hours is the only income she has. I was never able to tithe as much as I wanted to, but thanks to my writing and business activities, I could pay thousands of dollars to people in need.

8. The Real Reward.

The truly surprising – and overarching – reward for being an author is exactly this: being. I’ve become a better version of myself. The practice of putting my thoughts on paper every single day for years has a lot to do with my growth.

And indeed, I grew. It’s not just a subjective feeling. The host of the biggest Polish business podcast Mała Wielka Firma (Small Big Company) said during the introduction of my interview: “I got to know his story and thought: Wow, what a man!”

Two weeks ago, I received a phone call from Phillip Morris Poland: “Would you be interested in providing a webinar about productivity for our company?” Last week I received an email from Scribd; they offered to create an audio course from my content.

How come I’m getting such inquiries? I did the work. I grew. Now, I can provide value to others.

Well, I have been doing it for the last eight years for my readers and that’s the real reward. Money is just the byproduct.

Writing is a lonely occupation. You need to fight a lot of dark thoughts born out of isolation. But I collected plenty of proof to remind myself that my work helps others improve their lives. The number of my books’ reviews on Amazon is approaching 1,000. My answers on Quora got over 10 million views, 54,000 upvotes and thousands of comments.

And every so often, I get an especially cherished feedback: “Your writing changed my life!”

That’s priceless.

A manager of my department in PwC during the feedback process got a lot of requests from the team to train their soft skills. The emotional tsunami COVID brought turned a lot of us into a hot mess.
So, she decided to implement a training program within the department instead of waiting for the behemoth company to make decisions and cook up something useful. She approached me and asked: “Michal, would you be interested in leading such a training?”

Bonus: The Lifestyle

I work from home! Well, now, after the Great Lockdown it is not so impressive anymore, huh? But eight years ago it was my huge dream.

I’m liberated from the shackles of day job. I still work 10 hours a week for my employer, but it is much more flexible than any of my “real” jobs. Not only can I work from home, I also have a say in when I work and which projects I take.

I work in my authorpreneur business 30-40 hours a week (and I doubled my income!). I top that with another 20-30 hours of personal development, but it’s a pure pleasure for me.

Time and income flexibility allow me to enjoy luxuries hardly accessible to workers imprisoned in their 9-to-5 jobs.

I don’t think I missed a single singing recital of my daughter in the last few years.

When I scrapped my wife’s car, we had to travel to the location of the scrapping company to sign the papers. There is a lovely 18th century palace there. So, we spent half of the day sightseeing, in the middle of the day. It was a weekday, and we were the only visitors in the whole complex.

I mentioned my travels. I’m not a tourist type, but my wife is. It was nice to go to Crete, Prague, or Bulgaria and enjoy other cultures. It was even nicer we could easily afford this.

I love meeting my online friends. A face to face with Hynek Palatin, Dave Chesson, Aaron Walker, Rebecca Patrick-Howard, and so many others were experiences which I will always cherish in my memory. All those travels and meetings were possible as the result of my new lifestyle; for the first time in my life, I can decide when I work and when I rest.

It doesn’t mean that sometimes moving my author career forward wasn’t a struggle. It was sweat, blood and tears. Long hours. Self-doubts. Disappointments. Failures.

And it’s not “happily ever after.” The struggles continue. New challenges loom on the horizon.

But it was all worth it. Life is good.

An Ultimate Secret to be in the Top 1%

Plus a rule of thumb to get there

An Ultimate Secret to be in the Top 1In January 2021, I checked the Huawei smart band app on my phone. I peeked into ‘Achievements,’ and I saw I was in the top 2% of people using the band. Well, in one category, but I imagine it’s a crucial one for the fit bands users: daily step count.

It’s quite a feat. I did a quick research. I found a number of 5.7 million Huawei smart bands sold. Which means I beat over 5.5 million people. And it took me a meager 10 months to do that. How come?

The “Secret” Behind Success

The answer is simple: consistency. It seems it’s not a secret at all. Successful people were pointing out that persistence is a key to success since the dawn of history. I would say, it’s a prerequisite of success. It doesn’t give any guarantees, but its opposite gives a guarantee of failure. If you give up, you won’t succeed.

So, why is this secret, kept in plain view, still a secret? Why was I in the top 2% of millions of walkers using the Huawei smart band? Why was it so frickin’ easy for me?

This answer is obvious too. Consistency is not flashy. It’s not sexy. You don’t see headlines with the words “perseverance, consistency, persistence, grit” very often.

In fact, for years I’ve been doing a Google experiment: I’m typing two words into the search bar: perseverance and success. And year after year, the results are the same. For every single result for “perseverance,” there are about 20 results for “success.”

So, it’s a widely known fact – persistence is a key to success. But clearly not many are following this common knowledge. It’s still a secret for most.

Back to the Being in the Top 2%

The most mind-blowing thing is that in those 10+ months with the smart band, I was never higher than 76% among all the users in any given month.

Never! Not once!

In fact, I was a few times below 50%. Well, I’m a number freak, so it hit me like a ton of bricks. If you are more of a human and less of a nerd, here is the visualization of my walking achievements:

An Ultimate Secret to be in the Top 1

Compare it to the cumulative achievement:
An Ultimate Secret to be in the Top 1%

Does it hit you now? Does it blow your mind? How come I was moderate to good and I ended up excellent?

Excellence is not an act but a habit.

I was better than 44% of users one month, 75% another month. But it seems those who were better than me were hares. (If you don’t know The Tortoise and the Hare fable, catch up.)

Plenty of people can beat my step count in a given month. Month over month, more than 1,400,000 people walked more than I. But most of the time, they were different people. And they lacked consistency.

They made 400,000 steps one month and quit walking. Or quit it at that level of intensity. So, I was better than them the next month. On the cumulative scale, I beat them very quickly.

So, What Is the Secret to Success?

I already told this on this blog and in my books. Show up.

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
― Woody Allen

It’s enough to be consistently OK to become excellent. Why? Because the bar is set so low. Those hares have no chances against a steadfast tortoise. They are outclassed by an order of magnitude.

I didn’t track this step-count metric very closely, but I recall noticing after a few months, when my monthly result was around 50% (usually below that), that I’m at the top 20% of users. I beat over 80% of all users just by being consistently in the middle of the pack.

Show up. That’s the secret to success in anything in life.

Why Is It so Easy?

Simple: people don’t show up consistently over time. They may show up once or twice, or for a week, maybe even for a couple of months. Then, their dedication expires and they are gone. Anyone who shows up is better than them.

Our monkey brain is wired for anything new and negative. Some claim this is the evolutionary effect of looking out for dangers. Maybe. But it is a fact no matter what reason is behind this mechanism.

It is especially tempting nowadays to chase those shiny objects. Social media feeds are full of novelty. Media are full of negativity. Your inner monkey has all it needs to run in perpetual circles. And you stuff your life in between, from time to time.

However, if you can quiet down the monkey, and let the human take the driving wheel, biology is your ally.

We naturally excel in everything we regularly do. That’s how our brains are wired. The neural circuits which are frequently used grow and strengthen. Myelin is covering those circuits and it grows thicker too. All neural signals are transmitted faster and stronger thanks to this substance.

Practice makes master. Practice, and whatever you do will become easier the next time around. Practice consistently and this discipline will become seemingly effortless.

Leverage Time

Time is the ultimate club to beat down the competition. It’s a lever. Long enough leverage can move the whole Earth.

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”

― Archimedes

Show up. Practice. Your lever will increase its length.

Others may be more talented, more intelligent, tougher, stronger, may have better connections. But it means nothing, if they don’t consistently show up. Their lever is not getting longer.

Yours? It gets longer every time you show up. Your victory is just a matter of time.

It Always Works

I shared this story in The Art of Persistence:

I’d been third to last on the list of students admitted in my first year at university. But by the fourth year, I was among the top 25% of students and I got a scholarship. I didn’t really know how I achieved that. I certainly wasn’t among the brightest. I didn’t study the hardest, as I had no time to do so, having two children.

But I showed up. I attended almost every lecture and took notes. This simple discipline allowed me to be better than 75% of my peers. Basic and effective. Nothing more.


It works in business. Tony Stubblebine tells a story on how his business survived despite juggernaut, venture-capital funded competition here:

It was enough to outlast the competition.

Supposedly, most of the books don’t sell even 500 copies in their lifetime. Each and every book of mine sold more than that.

My last few books sold over 500 copies in their first month since publication date.

How to Be in the Top 1%?

Just keep going. Since I started writing this post, in a few short days I advanced in the Huawei smart band app from 98.03% to 98.17%. I got into the top 1% slowly, but surely, in March 2021.

Don’t give up. Don’t stop. Don’t be inconsistent. Keep going at a decent level. Not the superhuman, top 1% level. It’s enough to be regularly in the top 70% to advance to the top 1%. Day in, day out. Week in, week out. Month in, month out. Year in, year out. This is how you climb to the top 1%.

The Success Rule of Thumb

Be consistently around the middle of the pack. It puts you in the top 20% in the long term.

Be regularly better than 66% of everyone else. It will easily land you among the top 2%.

Show up, add just a little extra (around 75% of the average performance). It makes you the top 1-percenter.

Why Is It so Easy to Get Addicted to Things that Are Unhealthy but so Difficult to Get Hooked on Healthy Habits

Why Is It so Easy to Get Addicted to Things that Are Unhealthy but so Difficult to Get Hooked on Healthy HabitsThe short answer is: those “unhealthy things” hack directly into our bodily reward system.
Thus, we get an immediate reward (usually: pleasure) from doing them. We crave the pleasure, so the behavior gets reinforced. It easily becomes a habit.

The long answer is more complicated.

The reason why hacking directly into the reward system works so well is that it bypasses the conscious mind. The subconscious mind knows only one tense: now. It is not concerned with the future ramifications of present actions. And it’s quite a primitive creature. Do you feel pleasure? Well, it means this action feels good! Let’s repeat it and get the same pang of pleasure!

No reflections. No pondering of consequences. And your bad habits create on autopilot.

Good Habit Are Easy

Getting hooked on healthy habits is not so difficult. It seems difficult only in comparison with the “zero-effort” way bad habits form.

One of my healthy habits is to eat at least one raw vegetable or fruit a day. It’s very easy. All I need is to remember about the habit (now, after several years it’s my second nature), get a veggie, and munch it.

Yet, it still takes some effort, some investment on the part of my conscious mind. I need to remember. I need to have veggies or fruits at my home. I need to actually perform the action.

Hard Beginnings

It’s even more bothersome at the very beginning when the whole routine is new to you. Even remembering the habit can be an effort. Then, you need actually do it. It’s also beneficial to track it. It’s all the mental effort.

And the reward is not so big. Well, in the beginning, it’s hardly noticeable. And it is certainly not immediate. You switch your diet or exercise for a week before you can see any significant movement on a scale (a few pounds). But you don’t want ‘any!’ You want ‘many!’ And you don’t want them next quarter, but yesterday!

See? Your emotions are working against you. Instant gratification is getting the worst out of you. While developing unhealthy habits you feel nothing but pleasure. While developing healthy habits you often feel disappointment and frustration.

Emotions Are the Problem

BJ Fogg, the behavioral scientist from Stanford University, invented a brilliant addition to the process of developing new habits which make your emotions an ally, not an enemy: you celebrate your habits.

You don’t let your emotions to fend for themselves. You consciously entice the feeling of joy from doing your habit, not from its results. You create your own immediate feedback loop.

How does it look in practice? You do some gesture, or say something nice to yourself like “Nice job!” or “I’m awesome!”

If you have any difficulties imagining what those words or gestures could be, imagine yourself cheering your favorite team in the championships. They just scored! What do you do?! Jump in place? Roar with joy?

This is exactly what you should do to help your healthy habit to develop. Eat a vegetable and roar with joy. Do 10 pushups and jump with excitement. Drink a glass of water and pump your fists in triumph. Prepare a meal and tell yourself: “Well done!”

It takes time to develop good habits. They are worth both time and effort though.

“An immediate reward for lack of discipline is a fun day at the beach. A future reward of discipline is owning the beach.” — Jim Rohn

A future reward for healthy habits is health.

Celebrate each instance of your healthy habit and hack into the emotional reward system of your body.