"People don't have ideas. Ideas have people." -Carl Jung
I read a book last night called The Three Steps.
The cover and the title looked like another success self-help book, but the raving reviews caught my eye.
Anytime I look at a book on Amazon, I scan the first 3-5 reviews. Then if the top reviews stick out in any way, I'll immediately buy the book.
A few things about books:
- You don't have to finish a book, and you shouldn't if it's not doing it for you.
- Most books are not the right time. You can come back to a book later when it's relevant to your life at the moment.
- The most impactful books are those that come at the right time in your life. These books are always game-changers. Right now, there is a small handful of books out there that could change your life. That's why you always want to be on the hunt for new books.
- Buy any and every book that piques your interest. If you read the chapter and take from it one idea, the price will have been worth it.
Ok, back to the book at hand.
I read this book (on Audible) while driving from Texas to Florida yesterday. I wrote a few of the big ideas that stuck with me. The rest of this article are those notes expanded.
Here's the list:
- Stop being against something; start being for something.
- Stop all complaining and negativity - it only attracts more of it. Negativity begets negativity.
- Goals should be clearly defined, as specific as possible, and written down everywhere.
- Intention - Once you decide on a goal, focus on the intention to get it.
1. Stop being against something; start being for something
Mother Theresa said, "I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there."
Is being anti-war the same as pro-peace?
Nope, and that's the point.
I've never thought it this way.
The author talks about being FOR things you want rather than AGAINST things you don't.
That's a huge distinction.
Being for something is positive. You are focusing on abundance.
Being against something is negative. It implies struggles, fighting, violence, etc.
I'm going to put this into practice in my life today. From here on out, I am not against anything, but for many things.
2. Stop all complaining and being negative
This is an interesting one for me since I already identify as a self-proclaimed positive, optimistic person. Yet, I still have to constantly fight off my built-in negativity bias passed down from my ancestors. And you are the same. Our ancestors were designed by nature to always be a bit "too careful" since that was the best strategy for surviving in the harsh wild.
In a modern environment, we are safe from most of what our ancestors faced in the wild. Yet, we still have the same genes that believe we are still living in the wild.
Nowadays, instead of being afraid of a big cat eating us or stepping on a poisoning snake, we are glued to the fear-mongering news and stressing about all the what-ifs in our future.
One of the byproducts of our modern, physically comfortable environment is our tendency to complain. Since we have so much relative comfort around us, our primal brains look for things to be negative about.
And if you've ever spent time around a Negative Nancy, you know that there is always something to complain about.
I fall into this way more than I care to admit.
My goal now that I'm aware of this is 0 complaining and 0 negativity.
I think I can get there one day, but I have plenty of work to do.
The author recommends you start counting the negative statements in your life from yourself and the people around you.
It'll amaze you how often everyone complains.
No wonder we have a mental health crisis. We are complaining ourselves sick!
Life is really short. And what's so amazing about it is how much control we have over our experience.
Reality is our choice. Your choice. My choice.`
Now for goals and intention, an interesting way to think about goal setting.
First up are goals.
Goals are a funny thing.
I've reached many of my goals, but I also think I've reached more than I realize since I tend to forget the goals I set for myself in the past.
I need a better tracking system for sure.
I also feel like it's gotten harder to set bigger goals as I've grown older, and my experience now shapes my perceptions of what's possible and ends up being an anchor that makes my goals smaller. I don't like that. I still want to think big as I get older.
I used to want to become a billionaire. Now I want (at least) single-digit millions.
Maybe I'm aiming too low because I have a taste of how hard it is to make millions after making some.
I'm at this weird juncture in my life where I have a team and plenty to do, but I don't have t hustle or stress about it, which almost feels like "not doing enough."
I'm def having to adapt to slow growth mode and calm myself down from the earlier years in my career where I always felt a constant urgency.
So with this space, I've been thinking about what I should do next, or if I should do anything "next" at all, and just focus on what I'm doing.
It's not an easy or obvious answer.
One of my goals as an entrepreneur and human is to live a simple, stress-free life. So am I mistaking a lack of stress for lack of progress? That's the real question I wrestle with.
I have to constantly remind myself of wu Wei—action through inaction. To take it slow. To let things come as they may. To not force.
So the takeaway for me now is to set hyper-clear goals when I do decide what I want to do next. Then once that's done, I set intentions.
Intentions and goal setting
This is an interesting addendum to goals that I never really thought about.
The way he describes it in the book goes like this:
Goals are specific things you want to achieveIntentions come after you've decided on those goals (the deciding part).
The intentions are how you think about going after your goals in a precise way. They are the same thing but then not. So intentions fall more in the "specific steps' bucket that leads you to your goals. I like thinking about them this way—intentions rather than just small steps.