The Life Long Habit Rule : Turns Out Einstein was Right (again)

I recently came across this crazy article called ‘People who talk to themselves aren’t crazy. They’re actually geniuses.

In the article, they pointed towards a couple of shocking studies by Swingley and Lupyan in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

They had two groups of people.  The first group they told without any instruction, look at this image and try and find the banana and they timed how long it took on average for that group to find the banana.

Then they got the second group of people and told that group to talk to themselves by consistently repeating ‘banana, banana, banana, banana’, and then they timed how long it took for the second group to find the banana, and when the results came back they found that the group that was talking to themselves found the banana much quicker than the group that wasn’t.

But this isn’t all.

Albert Einstein used to repeat this sentences softly to himself and we’ve all seen kids talk themselves through a task that they’re doing. A study done by life science says that when a kid is walking himself through tying his own shoelace, it’s almost as if he’s trying to keep focused on the task at hand by talking to himself. So from this we can see that both science and geniuses have reported that talking to yourself can help you stay focused, can increase your memory and can help you work through a problem.

But not only this, i found that talking to myself has allowed me to create whatever habit I  want to do. If me personally and going about the process of starting a new habit of getting rid of a bad habit talking to myself is the methodology I use to make this behavior change.

I don’t use habit trackers, I don’t use any habit apps or any of the habit technology or methodologies that we hear about like cue-routine-reward, I talk to myself but i don’t talk to myself in the way that these scientific studies are referring to.

I talk to myself in a new way,  in a way that i haven’t heard of before but in a way that i’m very excited to share with you. You see imagine we’re trying to get a Christian and an Atheist to go to church regularly.

With the Christian, it’s not a problem. They go to church every single Sunday and they do it happily. The Atheist on the other hand that’s a completely different battle. First of all, they do it begrudgingly. They don’t want to be there. They’re annoyed. Maybe they use habit trackers to try and instil the habit, but sooner or later they use an excuse – maybe church shuts down and they completely forget about the practice. Any excuse that comes up, they latch onto it. Most people when they try and make behaviour change focus on the completely wrong thing.

No habit tracker or behavioural technique is going to get the Atheist to go to church regularly. Habits are more related to beliefs than to the action itself and imagine what it would be like if we could change our beliefs so that they were aligned with the behavior that we want to be taking on a regular basis.

What would happen then?

Well first of all you’re going to get the habit done if the belief is part of who you are. You’re going to get that thing done. There’s not even going to be any questions asked. The Christian is going to church and he’s finding a way to do it no matter how close he is to the church. No matter how easy the habit is it’s getting done and it’s also getting done in the long run.

It’s going to be a habit that sticks if we can change our beliefs to align with the actions we want to take. Those habits just stick as Nietzsche says, he who has a why can bear almost any how, and secondly you will enjoy it if something’s deeply aligned with your core beliefs, you enjoy doing that habit it’s not even.

What appears like work to others becomes play to you, because it’s so deeply a part of who you are. You get the hard things done and you enjoy them. If we can manipulate our beliefs, we can manipulate our behaviour and if we can manipulate our behaviour. We manipulate our results. What would it be like if you could fall in love with the habits you want to implement?

You would fall in love with going to the gym. You don’t have to make yourself go. What would happen if you despised your bad habits? You hated smoking, that unhealthy food was even a thing. What would happen if you could align your beliefs with the exact actions that you believe are going to get you towards your goals?

Well it would be pretty incredible right?

If that was real, it really would be life-changing, but is this even possible or am i just hyping this up? Well imagine you’re a surgeon trying to do an operation blindfolded. It’s just not gonna work!

The first step is for us to identify our beliefs and then we can go about the process of changing them and this is where Dilt’s behavior pyramid comes in.

Dilts behavioural pyramid

Dilts discovered that our identity leads to our beliefs. Our beliefs leads to our capabilities which is our thoughts and our thoughts leads to our actions, so what we can do to identify our beliefs is, we can look at our behavior and we can look at our thoughts. We can look at the behaviors we take on a day-to-day basis and that’s going to point us directly to our beliefs because our beliefs are the things that manipulate our thoughts and our behaviours.

If you struggle to go to the gym and you’ve been struggling with this habit, this behavior for months, chances are this is because of a belief that you have that’s causing this to happen.

The Atheist has a different behavior to the Christian and the Atheist has different thoughts to the Christian. Both of these things are indicators of the beliefs that the Atheist has which is different to the Christian –  obviously one believes in God and one doesn’t, so whenever your behavior isn’t what you want it to be, whenever you’re struggling and failing to make change, you’re making habits, you’re not sticking with them, you’re promising yourself you’re going to be better and it doesn’t happen – you can follow your behavior up the Dilts model to try and understand whether there’s a belief that’s causing all of this to happen.

The lifelong habit rule states that if you want a habit to be for life, your beliefs must be aligned with it, and at the end of the video you’ll get a lifelong habit worksheet that’s going to walk you through for free. You don’t need to enter your email or anything.

How you can actually create lifelong habits by manipulating your beliefs, but once we’ve identified our belief,  how do we go about the process of changing them?

Well we can view our belief like scales.

Take a belief about starting a business – on one side of the scale it says that you can do it,  the other side of the scale says you can’t do it,  and as you experience the passage of time that we call life,  you have experiences that place weights on either end of the scale.

When you were younger, your father had a business which places quite a heavy weight on the side of the scale that says that you can start a business,  but when you were a child your teacher told you if you want a stable job you must get a nine to five job. Businesses are unstable, and that places evidence on the other end of the scale, and whichever side of the scale is heavier is the prominent belief that you hold in your mind, and we have literally thousands of scales on every single topic that you can ever think of, and collectively these make up who you are, and as we know your beliefs determine your behavior on a day-to-day basis for the most part.

A habit will fail if it’s not aligned with your beliefs –  it may work but then it’s going to fail. A habit that is aligned with your beliefs that’s a lifelong habit, and i’ve found four different ways in order to alter our beliefs and one of the most powerful ways you can do this is by speaking with people you respect or by listening to mentors.

jimmy donaldson aka Mr Beast
Jimmy donaldson aka Mr Beast

A couple months ago, Mr Beast commented on one of my videos and let me know that he wanted to speak with me, so i got on the phone with him and one of the key takeaways i got from that phone call was him letting me know how powerful he thought youtube was.

He was letting me know how YouTube, although it seems like it’s been around for a while, it’s still in its early stages and most people don’t recognize how powerful this is going to be. He told me that it’s growing and growing and growing every year and it’s a massive opportunity.

Whilst i knew this logically i’ve always known how valuable YouTube is and how valuable YouTube’s going to be, hearing Mr Beast say this- someone who I look up to, was like dropping a piano on the set of scales about the value of youtube, instantly my beliefs changed and instantly my behavior changed. I started taking this so much more seriously. Every video i try to cram in as much value as possible. I want to help you. I want to change your life and all of that was done because i spoke with a mentor that helped me change my beliefs.

Every word that comes out of the mouth of someone you respect is an incredibly heavy weight that you can use to balance the scales in a way that benefits your life. But i know that this isn’t always possible. I know that getting a mentor isn’t always within your control.

There’s a second way that i found and it’s thanks to the illusory truth effect, whereby a repeated affirmation fixes itself in the mind in such a way that is accepted in the end as a demonstrated truth, and this repetition is often used in propaganda and often used in advertising.

We know politicians that repeat the same slogan and we all know mcdonald’s catchphrase, then we can use this for good. If you consistently expose yourself to positive beliefs, your brain is far more likely to accept those things to be true, and this is one of the reasons why books can be an incredible tool for convincing yourself of certain ideas.

If you read the book ‘essentialism’ the idea is going to be repeated to you multiple times in multiple different ways, which is going to make you believe the idea is true and you’re going to form a belief about the power of essentialism.

But on top of this, books can provide us with logical arguments as to why this belief is incredible, which leads me onto the third way you can manipulate your beliefs.

Understanding the logical arguments of a new belief is the fundamentals of cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s all about applying an analytical lens over your emotional problems.

Imagine you’re walking along a road and a cyclist comes past and smashes into you. A massive weight has been placed on the scale that says the cyclists are crazy and they’re reckless. CBT would state that this is over generalization. You’ve taken one incidence out of thousands of incidents you’ve had with cyclists and you’re generalizing cyclists as negative. Because of this one incidence, and often once you see this in such a logical way, there’s no arguing with it. The belief goes away.

And the fourth way is through experience, or your behavior. If you go to the gym and you push yourself and you force yourself to do exercises you don’t like, it’s just going to cement the belief that exercise is bad.

On the other hand, if you pick an exercise that you enjoy that’s going to enhance the belief that exercise is good, so you can either use behavior as a way to manipulate your beliefs, or you can just do things that are already aligned with your belief.

Instead of going to the gym if you don’t enjoy it, pick a sport or an activity that you do enjoy that is aligned with your beliefs and you can make behavior change just by shifting the behavior you’re doing, as well as letting your actions shift your beliefs and as you do this over time your beliefs will start to change, and as your beliefs start to change, your behavior will start to change, and as your behavior starts to change your results will start to change and as your results start to change your life will start to change too.

That is the lifelong habit rule.

See also The Cycle of Performance – How To Get Better Results By Controlling Your Thoughts

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