Preserving Habits From Covid

Last week I mentioned how the “great pause” has led many to re-prioritize. More sunsets, less commuting. Probably wishful thinking. As things open up you will slip back into old patterns.

Consider Zack Kanter’s story about “the mechanic” capturing the essence of returning from vacation (emphasis mine):

My moments near the ocean feel like they will stretch on forever; in that instant, I cannot imagine feeling any other way. And I find that it is this way with all epiphanies – coming to some realization during a long talk with a friend, reading a particularly insightful book, marveling at the clarity of mind brought by a just-organized workspace. Yet the moments are always fleeting; we quickly return to our pre-enlightened state within minutes, or hours, or days. (Link)

Well, this is no time to be defeatist. We are going to need all the positivity we can muster. If you had a moment of clarity in the quiet, it was a privilege. The feelings of discovery or rediscovery are fleeting. The way to give your realizations permanence is to change their forms.

In mythology, the spirit sheds the body to find immortality. Here you must do the opposite. Maintaining the peace of clarity means transforming it from a feeling to physical actions. It’s not your mind that perpetuates the lessons from this “great pause”. It’s your habits. Be deliberate about how you will preserve what you found. Establish a new muscle memory. Turn the spirit into flesh.

How do you do this? Kanter has an answer:

And so I try to think in terms of process – that is, a specific action repeated on a regular basis, an improvement that stands the test of time. Try reframing one of your projects as a process: get in shape becomes go to yoga every day, declutter becomes put away one thing every time you enter the room, read more books becomes read for 15 minutes each morning. The truth is that all of your thoughts, wishes, and goals amount to nothing if they do not make the leap into your daily life.

The distractions are roaring back. If you go back to all of your old ways as the world re-opens make sure it was your active choice. These chances are rare.

After reading that “mechanic” post by Zack Kanter I read most of his blog.

Some of my favorites:

  • Why Your Kid Hates School (Link)
  • 10 Killer Negotiating Tactics [or, how I got $125,000 for nothing] (Link)
  • 8 Simple Philosophies That Changed My Life (Link). #1, #2, and #5 are in my top 5 as well. #6 is very wise and I think the most underappreciated.
  • 5 Steps To Creating A Product (Link). This is part of his “How I Make Money” series and this has really interesting business info in it.
  • What I’ve Learned About Love (Link). This short post has a beautiful reduction: “I have since thrown away my list and replaced it with a simple philosophy. Find someone who you feel lucky to be with, and who feels lucky to be with you. Someone who you admire, someone who you want to become more like.”

It’s a dope blog. Happy yakshaving.

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