There are forces out there responsible for delivering you the same average year, over and over again. One of them is thousands of years old – and an expert at survival. Let’s call him Caveman You.
Caveman You is the part of your brain whose job it is to keep you safe in the short term. He’ll always choose what you want “now” rather than what you need most. He also likes to optimise. Because food was limited in caveman days, he created a rule that anything you did on a consistent basis for more than three weeks or so became a habit. That way, you didn’t have to waste energy consciously thinking about a task.
Kaizen is a decades-old business philosophy that advocates small, continuous improvements.
New You, on the other hand, is the “modern” part of the brain – the frontal lobes – that makes us different from other animals. New You harbours hopes and dreams, wants to build an empire and do great things. But how can you with Caveman You sitting on your shoulder, asking “Are you sure?”, “What if you fail?” and ‘Why risk it?”.
The result, of course, is stalemate. Part of you is desperate to try things, part of you is desperate to stay the same. How do we solve this conflict?
There is hope, in the form of a Japanese warrior called Kaizen. Kaizen is a decades-old business philosophy that advocates small, continuous improvements. One of its major components is to chunk things down into such small tasks that you simply cannot fail.
The major reason people repeat the same year over and over is that they don’t spend enough time planning and chunking. If you compare the care, effort and detail that goes into planning a wedding with what you put into planning your business, what do you notice?
So, if you’re not spending a minimum of three days planning your upcoming year, you are not going into enough detail.
The victory is made in the architecture phase. If you wanted to build a dream house, the first person you’d hire is the architect. The architecture is where your effort needs to go. However, most people start building first and then get confused as to what they’re meant to be doing.
So, if you’re not spending a minimum of three days planning your upcoming year, you are not going into enough detail. You’re not chunking enough. And Caveman You is going to have a field day.
I run a test with my clients. I ask them to describe their 12-month vision for their business. If they can’t tell me with 10/10 clarity what they are building over the coming year (only 240 working days!) we work on that first. I then check in with their quarterly plan. This should take, at the very least, one full day each quarter to chunk and write.
There are opposing forces at work in your head. However, with a little bit of help from Kaizen and some committed planning time up front, maybe New You will emerge victorious.
Find out more at blakesergeant.com