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Copying the Habits of Successful People Is Not Enough

Do not mindlessly copy the habits of successful people until you learn this

Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash

Books and articles regarding the habits and routines of successful people are useless for most readers.

Too harsh?

Maybe… but reading the never-ending list of habits of idols is rarely enough to see any positive change in your life.

Therefore, in this article, instead of giving you a curated list of “absolutely the best success routines”, I will teach you what you have to know before even looking in the direction of other’s routines.

Curious? 

Let the journey begin…

The importance of the adequate algorithm

Where is a problem, there must be a solution. Unfortunately, mindless copying of the habits of other people and pasting them into your life rarely gives the desired outcomes. The nature of your issue is specific because the combination of your characteristics and your situation is unique.

Most people don’t get it. They think that if something worked for others, it must work for them as well. But such a philosophy is insane. Look at the mirror. Are you the same as the person you want to copy? Are you in the same position as your idol?

I doubt it.

Thus, act wisely and never mindlessly copy the habits of others before looking at your life first. In fact, never adopt blindly even the objective truths from the scientific papers.

Statistics does not matter for individuals.

Nowadays, scientific study prepared on a large scale is much more appreciated than analysis of several individual cases. But what is fully understandable in the case of plant science should not be glorified considering studies on humans.

Looking at the field of corn we can search for the statistically most effective solution to improve the yield. Usually maximizing the harvest would require sacrificing some plants. We can live with this regarding plants, but this doesn’t mean that we should use similar approach to humans. The elusive good of the society rarely is worth compromising your well-being.

You might be the innocent lamb chosen to sacrifice for a bigger case, but you can always refuse the offer. Start with the change in your approach to science and idols. Simply, don’t follow them blindly as such a move can only decrease your happiness and well-being.

Don’t get me wrong. The results published in scientific journals are correct. The habits of successful people work for them.

However, for the best possible effect, you should use researches’ findings and idols’ stories only as a starting point for your own experiment to find what works best in your specific situation. Get what should work, customize it to serve you in the particular case, and finally take a whack at it. This pick, tweak, form formula is the first habit you should form if you are serious about reaching your fullest potential.

It’s the individualization, stupid!

Today’s world bombards you with the generic, best habits. The only widespread alternative is to try multiple options to find what works for you. Unfortunately, both approaches are inefficient and ineffective.

First, because you’re unique and not like anyone else.

Second, because it just makes you busier, as a chance to pick up the optimal habit randomly is slim. Moreover, in some cases, you might mistakenly ditch a habit, while it could perform perfectly well after a little personalization.

Almost every journey to success begins with a unique touch of an individual. Therefore, it is not surprising that following the generic guidance regards habit formation usually produces merely mediocre outcomes.

Only putting some effort into the personalization and customization can provide the outstanding results, as individualized is always better than even the first-rate generic formula. Everything (from a habit to golf stick) customized to fulfill your exact needs is always better than the generic version (the habit or stick designed for someone else or for an elusive average person.)

If you don’t believe me, look at an extreme example, which is the Paula Radcliffe’s style of running. Even the untrained eye of an amateur can see the obvious departure of her movement from the optimal bio-mechanic form. However, despite the issue, the lady is probably the greatest long distance female runner in history. Moreover, when she tried to fix the visible problem of her shaking head or suboptimal (according to biomechanics) step length her results became worse.

Thus, let me repeat once again; statistics does not matter for individuals including you, so never copy mindlessly and always personalize everything to meet your unique situation.

The power of co-creation

I have to admit there is a side effect of individualization. Thanks God, it’s a good one.

It has been shown there is a cognitive bias in which consumers place a disproportionately high value on products they created even partly. In other words, if you create or co-create something, you value it much higher. This phenomenon has been named the IKEA effect after the Swedish manufacturer and furniture retailer.

What does this have in common with your approach to habits? A lot, as in order to establish a routine, you usually copy others without adding anything. Such an approach is a missed opportunity.

Instead, you can design your own version to increase the perceived value. When such a value is higher, you want to use the created solution more, as you deeply know it suits you perfectly. In consequence, you not only form better habits but you also form them more easily.

If that’s not enough, co-creation is the perfect pre-commitment. When you put some work into designing, you already begun the journey. You feel as you have already done the most difficult first step, and now your only job is to maintain the momentum. Such a pre-commitment alone is often enough to successfully form your personalized habit.

Conclusion

Individualization is good for your life from every single perspective. It’s fully scientific (if you know how to analyze scientific data). It’s moral. It gives the best results.

However, I will not sugarcoat the true. Individualization works well, but it is only a small piece of what you can do to improve your habit formation. You might need a step-by-step plan and other methods to extract the absolute maximum from your effort. For that, consider the book mentioned below.

Want more?

This article supplements my book: “HABIT LAUNCH: 10-Step Formula to Tailor Routines You Love to Perform and Skyrocket Your Well-being”, which you can grab on Amazon (click here). You might also look at my author site at moniuszko.net

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