Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Does the Compound Effect work?

You know what it's like.  You find yourself looking at yourself in the mirror, thinking you're too fat/skinny/weak etc. and have the bizarre idea of going to the gym.  Then, when you get there, you find that you can manage say, 5kg weights and stood next to you, adoring themselves in the mirror, are these huge, good-looking muscle-bound guys lifting ten times the weight you are with their nut sack.

"Sod this", you think, as you slowly slip away and out the door, lighting a fag as you get in the car (walking is bad for you, remember?) and sulk all the way home.  Why would I bother spending all of this time and money on something that'll probably never happen?

You may be wondering what the hell I'm talking about, but hear me out.  The above scenario is exactly how I felt about personal development (and still is how I feel about gyms, to an extent).  I understood the concept of the Compound Effect, in that you do little things each day and they work out to big things over an extended period of time.  So why is it that so many people (myself included) find it really difficult to put the Compound Effect into practice?

You wanna read more books, but you don't have time, so you read for 10 minutes per night.  You could easily read 30-50+ books over the course of that year if you did that.  That sounds brilliant!  At the cost of 10 minutes per night, you can read more books in one year than you have in the last 5, or 10.  But you don't do it.  Why?  Why would you not commit 10 minutes of your day to do something that will benefit you?

You wanna get fit, but you hate gyms, so you get yourself some dumbells or an exercise machine of some sort, and say "I'm going to get fit!"  Then a couple of months later, you stare at said exercise equipment as it sits there with a blanket of dust and you wonder why you wasted your money.  10 minutes a day of exercise isn't much, right?  Especially if you can do it at home while no one is looking.  You do it for a couple of days, then you just stop.  Why?

You want to take up a hobby, so you get whatever it is that corresponds with that hobby, and you give 10 minutes each day to enjoy your hobby, get better at it, etc.  You do this for a week, then you stop it.  Why?  Why?  Why?  WHY?  WHY?!

I honestly don't know why I personally do all of these things.  It's the lack of commitment to yourself that is the main key, and it is one of the hardest attitudes to obtain.  To have enough self-respect to say you'll do something, and then work at it every time you said you would.  Last week I wrote a list of small, compounding goals that I could achieve on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis.  I kept that up for 2 days.  2 freakin' days.  My end date to reflect was a year from the point when I started.  Not two days after I started.  So, when looking back on it and asking yourself if it was worth it, you can easily tell yourself that it isn't.  I've not read a book, I've not felt stronger from the weights and I don't feel I'm a better drawer (hobby), so the compound effect doesn't work, right?  No.  You're an idiot, John.

So, I've written a new list of compounding goals for myself.  They all have the same benefits of the previous goals, but now I have a "time slot" for them.  For example, on a Monday and Tuesday, I look after my daughter while my wife works, so I know what sort of day I'm going to have.  So for lifting weights, I put that in for when my daughter has a nap.  That's fairly easy.  If I'm at work (or working the business), I can prioritise the business, and when I'm done, I can lift weights.  I've even written myself reminders such as "Don't sit down when you get back" and "Go straight upstairs and start lifting", so if I ever get tempted, I can refer to my own instructions and get on with it.  I will be able to tell you the next time I've posted that I've been doing weights for 10 minutes for x amount of days, and it should correspond with today's post (including today).

I've also written two different lists, for the same thing.  One is a 'Why' list, why I want to achieve this goal and what effect it will have on me when I have done.  The other is a 'How' list, where I've written, in bullet points, what I can do to achieve my goal, from the small to the big.  The goal in question?  To quit smoking.  That's been my biggest vice by far.  I used to smoke weed, and I can honestly tell you that I don't miss it.  I drink on a regular basis (a glass of wine/can of beer a night on average) but I can honestly say I could do without it if need be.  I wouldn't withdraw from either of those two, but cigarettes have a very firm hold over me.

On Sunday, I took my daughter up to Derby for my Grandpa's 93rd birthday.  The day before I wrote a list of what I should do for that day, and ways to keep me busy so I didn't smoke.  I ended up having a cigarette (well, half) before I went, and I had 2 while I was there before leaving.  I had 2 when I got back, too.  So in total I had about 5 cigarettes for that day.  That's not bad compared to a 20 a-day habit, but I wasn't happy with it.  I knew that limiting myself to 3,4,5 etc. cigarettes a day would work in the short-term, but it wouldn't be long until I was back up to 10-15 a day.  So, yesterday (Monday) I decided I wouldn't have a cigarette.  I was a bit grumpy in the morning, but that was partly due to not enough sleep, but otherwise, I didn't suffer nearly as much as I have in previous attempts.  Now I admit, I had one when my wife returned from work, but if she didn't have any on her, I genuinely wouldn't have wanted one.  Today, I got up, I had breakfast, gave Lillie her breakfast - the usual routine - and then I craved.  But it was different.  I didn't feel I needed to have a cigarette or I would eat the cat.  It was more like a small twinge.  It lasted 10-15 minutes or so, then it just went.  That was the only one I had for that morning.  I had a bigger one about an hour ago, but again that only lasted about 20 minutes (it was after food, a big trigger) and then it was gone.  I'm using Champix, prescribed from my Doctor, to help with stopping to smoke.  It stops your brain from receiving the hit of nicotine, basically.

What changed between this attempt and previous ones?  My why and how changed.  Sod will power.  That crap didn't work for anyone.  I'm sure the Champix have played their part, but because I've written down not just why I want to do this, but what I can do to combat the cravings, I have a big ally on my side.  During withdrawal, you do not think straight in the slightest.  Concentration goes out the window, because all you can think about is inhaling that thick, beautiful, creamy smoke and then exhale all of the loveliness out, as your problems and stresses float away.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, withdrawal sucks.  But, by using techniques based on Personal Development, I have personally found this go around much easier.  One of the great things about goal setting is that you look forward to the end result(s), and I really look forward to being able to say "I've not smoked for a week, and I never will again".  

This was sort've a ramble, because I've not posted in a while, it is a bit disjointed, but nevermind!  Thanks for reading.

Monday, 15 October 2012


I did write about the week before last, but it was rubbish.  I had planned to re-write it, but I guess I forgot.

Anyway, moving on.  This past week was bad.  Really bad.

I had been incredibly close to earning my 10% with Kleeneze.  It would've been my first time, too.  Unfortunately, through a lack of experience and confusion with deliveries, I spent 3+ hours waiting around for the delivery guy, when I could've/should've left a note.  Well, live and learn.

What I did learn is that for the next period, I will easily be able to achieve 10%!

This coming Tuesday I'm visiting the stop smoking nurse.  Between now and then, I'm going to be really conscious of when I crave, and when I smoke and essentially try to cut down now.  This should give me a head start for when I try to stop for good.  I've tried many times before, even spending £100 on a one-day Allan Carr Easy Way course, but nothing has worked.  The difference between then and now?  Personal development.

My Upline gave me Darren Hardy's Design Your Best Year Ever book.  It's designed so that you write in your goals, why you want to achieve them and how you can achieve them, which will help greatly not just with my business goals, but personal ones too, such as quitting smoking.

It's the one biggest vice I've ever had.  I could quite easily give up alcohol, and weed has never been an issue (not smoked in 2 1/2 years, and not noticed either).  It'll be interesting to see the difference with this try-around compared to previous attempts.

Provided the weather holds and madam isn't too upset, I'll be doing a mini-drop of catalogues today, just to further increase my points and therefore my income.  WOO!

...Spongebob is great.

Last night, I was working and just before I clocked out and went to bed (sleep-ins at work tend to suck), I planned what I would do today.  For some reason, I really enjoy planning stuff, doing lists and such, so it's not a new concept to me.  So instead of writing key things, I wrote everything.  What time I'd get up, what time I'd get dressed, what time I'd get back home, eat breakfast etc.  And it helped, really helped.  Sure, I would've done those things anyway, but I was able to do them efficiently, and it helped to control my cravings too, by keeping me busy!

My brain is starting to dissolve, so I'll end it here.  If you made it this far, you're probably as confused as I am.  Laters, tata's!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Week Two

The first week was pretty successful, in my mind at least.  I had fairly decent orders and was pleased with my activity, but there were some things I could have done better, which I didn't really notice until this past week.

(again, I will assume you know what I'm talking about)

Stragglers.  The poison that slowly eats away at your mental faculties.  The evil that picks at your sanity.  The best antidote, weapon and shield against these b*****ds is persistence.  You've gotta get them.  I didn't.  Well, that's not true, because I did.  But I wasn't persistent.  I went back two to three times to get them, but I didn't always knock.  And that was the key.  It didn't even cross my mind that knocking on the doors and physically asking for your catalogues would really make that much of a difference.  I still had over 300 catalogues back, that's enough surely?  300 isn't bad, but when you did have 450+, that's quite a blow to your stock.  Fortunately, I quickly learnt from this obvious miscalculation and got back a boat load of cats (as well as some tasty orders) by knocking on the doors and being persistent and committed to getting those back.  It killed me months ago when I first started, and I won't let that happen again.

Otherwise, I was pleased with my activity.  Wednesday was very much like last week.  I started 2 hours after I intended like last week, but I didn't oversleep this time.  We had a visit from the health visitor, as well as my cat needing to go to the vets.  That being said, I freakin' killed it (the day, not the cat).  I was surprised at just how quickly I was putting my cats out and picking them up.  Despite having started 2 hours late, I finished an hour and a half earlier than I anticipated.  So I spent the rest of the time making sure I had the cats turned, and making sure I was absolutely prepared for Thursday, which is typically my busiest day.

Thursday was even better than Wednesday in terms of how quickly I was doing everything.  I had to go to a completely new area, which of course meant writing the street/house names/numbers down, but again that didn't seem to slow me down.  Maybe my standards when I wrote my initial plan were low?  Probably were.  I guess I can use whatever time I have left to organise, read and learn about what I plan to do next year (more on that in a later post).

Friday was the best day for me.  I felt bloody brilliant.  I started the day by going for those stragglers around my village, then I helped a friend out by taking her to the surgery to see her mid-wife (due in 6 weeks).  Next, I hit 3 more villages by picking up stragglers, and I had a crap load of cats at my disposal.  Much more than I did last week, which means my stragglers this week are less than last week, compared to mistakes of the past, where it would be reversed.  I actually stayed up 'til 2am Friday night, without realising I had done, working the business, making sure everything was planned out for this week.  As a result of that, I can comfortably focus on my daughter today and tomorrow (other than a few pre-arranged deliveries to do) and not have any (or at least minimal) anxiety about this coming Wednesday.

Saturday morning, I made sure that all my slips informing my customers when I'd be delivering where out, as well as go to the bank.  Not particularly exciting, I know, but it was there that I realised that I was about to be very pissed off.  I don't know who or what I was pissed off with, probably fate:

(taken from Wikipedia)

"Allan Pease, riginally a musician, he became a life insurance salesman, and then started a career as a speaker and trainer in sales, and subsequently in body language and communication skills.
He first became known for his best-selling book Body Language in 1981, and has also written a number of books on communication and sex differences in human behavior. many jointly written with his wife, Barbara Pease"

That was who I was supposed to see yesterday.  As you can probably guess, I didn't.  Unfortunately Lillie had physio, as well as my wife and I seeing a geneticist (exciting stuff).  The most annoying thing about these two appointments was that I didn't feel I needed to be there.  We are not going to be shown anything until this coming Thursday as it relates to Lillie's exercises/physio and the geneticist just wanted to "have a chat".  Bugger all was done!  Suffice to say, I was annoyed, but I will just have to do more research myself, which is fine. 

Anyway!  This week wasn't as dramatic as last week (probably a good thing), but I feel I am starting to ride the waves of my own momentum.  Hopefully I can keep this up going forward and looking at bigger and better things next year.  I'll leave you with this quote by the legendary Jim Rohn.  I instantly thought of my mistakes in the past with stragglers when he said this:

"Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don't fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgement, repeated every day."

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!