How to Become a Momentum Machine: Combine Powerful Psychological Principles to Boost Motivation, Build Self-Esteem, And Be a Winner Every Day

blake-spiral-stairs“You’re a machine!”

“You’re always doing some stuff, it’s like you’re a machine man.”

“You’re a freaking machine dude — you just keep going forward.”

(Etc.,)

A lot of people have told me I’m a “machine” over the past 3 months.

The funny thing is that none of these people even know each other.

Anyway, this is probably the most flattering compliment I’ve ever got –because I feel I’ve earned it.

If I’m a “machine” now, I certainly was not a few years back. It took a lot of work and smart strategies to get where I’m at right now.

And I had to learn something important. . .

. . . Can you guess what that important thing is?

I think you can.

That’s right — it’s the concept of momentum. . .

. . . How to gain it. And how to keep it.

All high-achievers understand what it takes to create an empowering routine. They know how to implement positive habits. And they’ve mastered the fine art of becoming motivated. These people know all this stuff first-hand.

They may not understand the psychology behind it.

They may not understand of the processes behind it.

They may have just pulled it off intuitively thanks to having a strong internal compass. Maybe they got lucky?

I don’t know.

But I do know that. . .

. . . Every high-achiever has entered deeply into the positive feedback loop of momentum.

And today, we’re going to break down what this means. Here’s a glance at what we’ll talk about:

  • How self-esteem is built.
  • Why it’s usually best to use the process of incremental change to improve your life over the long-term.
  • How to use several powerful psychological principles to increase motivation and consistency of execution.

And. . .

  • How to win every day!

This is going to give you the magic formula for creating the kind of long-term motivation you need to become successful.


[Note:  This is a long-ass article, 5930 words. I could have turned this into an article series of 2-4 parts if I wanted to. But I think it would be less helpful to do it that way. All the things you’re about to learn are strongly interconnected and should therefore be memorized and used together in combination. And this is best done by first immersing yourself and taking in all this information in one sitting.]


 

Gentlemen: Open up your commonplaces, get ready, and let’s start with. . .

The Truth About Positive Self-Esteem

A lot of people nowadays think that having positive self-esteem means “being O.K with who you are”.

There’s something called the feel-good movement. You may have heard about it.

It consists of a bunch of “self-help experts” who run companies, write books, and give speeches on the agenda that you are already good enough as you are, no matter who you are.

In other words. . .

. . . They’re in the business of telling people whatever they want to hear. And guess what?

Inconvenient truths about success, motivation, and self-esteem don’t rank high on that list. It doesn’t sell.

These nasty bastards tell people things like:

“It’s perfectly fine to be a fat piece of shit if you are a few pounds overweight. You’re good the way you are. It’s not the outside that matters, it’s only the inside that counts.  Start loving yourself and blablabla. . .”

And then the little loser believes that. Because it’s comfortable. It’s a convenient truth. Plus he wants to believe it. If he takes on that belief he doesn’t need to lift weights or develop discipline.

So, the little loser tries to convince himself that he’s good the way he is (obviously that won’t work) by taking on some B.S “feel-good-belief”.

And guess what?

That’s a really dangerous belief to have if you’re looking to step up in life and become successful. Because success (in any area of life) is all about adaptability.

And if you think you’re already good the way you are — and that you don’t have to change your ways — what will happen?

I’ll tell you what. . .

You’re not going to set goals and have the motivation to execute on them consistently. Which, by the way, is how you build real self-esteem (more on this soon).

So a lot of people buy into various B.S “feel-good-beliefs” to cover up their lack of positive self-esteem.

And that’s fine. . .

. . . If they want to be losers.

If they want short-term consolation.

If they want to sit on their asses and do nothing.

But, it should NOT be confused with having positive self-esteem.

Positive self-esteem can only be earned by getting first-hand experiences of success, where success is defined as moving closer towards your goals.

Positive self-esteem is about trusting yourself to do the right thing. . .

. . . And what is the “right thing”, you ask?

The “right thing” to do is whatever you want and desire. If you have positive self-esteem you’re automatically going to step up and get whatever you want in life. Because you’ve built that habit:

Active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened

–Joseph Butler

It’s really that simple.

And the more you ACT on your desires the stronger they get and the better your self-esteem becomes.

So you see, positive self-esteem has absolutely nothing to do with that passive “feel-good” B.S.

That’s just a consolation prize for losers looking to delude themselves into feeling better about their lack of achievements.

And it’s weak, disgusting, and pathetic.

Those nasty bastards of the feel-good movement are professional liars.

For example, just the other week I was out jogging and I ran past a newspaper stand. On the front page was a news story on “The Dangers of Working Out and Eating Healthy”. The premise of that article was basically that you shouldn’t care about the ‘fitness fad’ so much because. . .

. . .You’re good just the way you are. And don’t even try to look like a movie star because you can’t, and it’s not good for you — says the expert — and it’s perfectly O.K if you want to have some candy and. . .

Yeah right.

You know, probably the #1 health issue in the western world is the combination of having a sedentary lifestyle mixed with a poor diet. And what kind of people abide by this hazardous combination?

It’s the lazy and unambitious people who are hooked on unhealthy modern food. They unconsciously use it as consolation. And guess what?

The last thing these people need is yet another excuse or justification for why it’s “O.K” to stick to their unhealthy habits.

The truth of the matter is quite simple, really. . .

People who sit around doing nothing condition themselves for what? To keep doing nothing.

And this is the very opposite of entering the positive feedback loop of momentum.

You should look at life as a long series of repetitions. And to change your life you have to deliberately induce the right sort of repetitions. The sort that carry you towards your goals and build self-esteem.

The question then becomes: What does it take to. . .

Build Positive Self-Esteem

In the movie Fight Club, Tyler Durden had it right when he said that:

You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. . .

Because none of those things matter much for your self-esteem. Your self-esteem is subjective — and it’s built on one thing only: Knowing what you want in life — and getting it!

And how do you get what you want in life?

First you ask yourself these three questions:

  • What do I want?
  • How can I get it?
  • What do I need to do specifically?

Then you have a goal. Nice.

But you want to make the goal more efficient by:

  • Making it measurable

And,

  • Turning the goal into something you can do every day (a daily action that you can implement as a habit)

When you’ve done that,

  • You start executing on your goal like crazy.

Like a general.

This — my friend — is how you build real positive self-esteem. Highly confident and successful people got that way by doing this. They’re deep into the positive feedback loop of momentum.

No wonder those people are so much cooler than the people in the feel-good crowd.

There is nothing strange about it.

Confidence is the natural result when your brain gets used to having its ideas come into reality.

You begin to believe in yourself.

You start to feel great about yourself.

You eliminate doubt from your mind and stop second-guessing yourself.

O.K.

Now you know that positive self-esteem is built by executing on your goals. But it can be tough moving towards your goals every day when your motivation is low, right?

So, the question becomes: How can you boost motivation?

And here’s how: You boost motivation by learning to combine powerful psychological principles.

And this is what we’re going to talk about for the rest of the article. Starting with. . .

How to Get Into The Positive Feedback Loop of Momentum

Did you know that many of the most highly skilled and successful people in history started “practicing” (getting experience) while they were still young?

Yes, it’s true.

Entrepreneurs and businessmen in particular. Now, have you ever wondered why?

It’s because they were lucky to have some smart older person nudge them in the right direction when they were kids.

I recently read a book about the richest people in Sweden. About half of them come from elite bloodlines. The other half are self-made.

For example, the richest Swede is self-made: Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA. And the 10th richest Swede is also self-made: Bertil Hult, founder of EF (they sell language-learning trips).

These two men come from completely different backgrounds — and it’s fascinating to study them. Why? Because they both had a clear turning point in their lives. This happened when they got into the positive feedback loop of momentum.

For. . .

Ingvar Kamprad

This happened very early. He displayed entrepreneurial skill already at age seven when he started buying and selling stamps and things like that. Of course, he failed a lot. . .

Ikea ingvar kamprad self-esteem

Ingvar Kamprad has built one of the best businesses in history

. . . But he was fortunate in that his grandmother quickly discovered his inclination for entrepreneurship, and made it her mission to support him any way she could. Each time young Ingvar failed she would  motivate him into trying again.

And every time he sold stuff (he imported lots of things) she would always buy from him.

Years later, when she died, they found many boxes hidden away. The boxes contained all the items she had bought from young Ingvar. She never used any of those things. She only bought them to encourage his “entrepreneurial practice”.

So, from a very early age Ingvar Kamprad was rewarded for going after what he wanted and for taking risks. He started getting into the positive feedback loop of momentum at age 7 and he still hasn’t come out of it at age 88.

Next we have. . .

Bertil Hult

Who wasn’t nearly as fortunate as Ingvar Kamprad.

Hult had a tough childhood. He started school at age six and quickly realized that he didn’t like it. The school system was strict. Children had to read out loud and follow orders.

If they didn’t comply they were hit and yelled at. This was a problem for little Bertil — because he had severe dyslexia. So every time he tried things — and failed — he was punished. And this happened often. He “learned” from his “mistakes” and stopped trying in order to minimize punishment.

As a result everyone thought he was stupid and he was soon put in a class with slow and retarded kids. For the next 10 years he was ignored by the teachers and he didn’t learn much in school. He drifted into a state of learned helplessness.

In his late teens he dropped out of school and his self-esteem was at an all-time low. He then got a job as an errand boy for a bank. At the job he had to wear a certain uniform. One day his boss told him to hand in the uniform.

Hult got scared and immediately assumed he was being fired.

But he wasn’t. The boss returned his uniform to him, with the pant pockets sewn shut. The boss told him:

“From now on, I want you to walk with your back straight, your head held high, and never to put your hands in your pockets again.”

The boss had noticed that Hult’s loser tendencies were reflected and manifested in his body language, and decided he would help him fix it.

From that point on Bertil Hult’s life improved dramatically. He had finally been noticed after 10 years of being ignored. And he started working insanely hard to make his boss proud.

He put everything he had into his job and got promoted several times over the next few years. Then the bank even offered to send him to London and pay for him to learn English (this was 60 years ago when Swedes still sucked at the English language).

Again, Hult’s dyslexia posed a big problem. But thanks to his highly developed listening skills he was able to pass — just barely.

When he got back to working for the bank he realized something very important: That there was no way he would ever run the bank — and make it to the to top of that industry — because of his dyslexia. He then took a major risk by quitting his job to start a business of his own. And the rest is history.

As you can see, these guys started “winning” early in life. . .

. . . And never stopped.

Kamprad’s grandmother helped him win from an early age. Hult’s first boss helped him win in his late teens.

There are literally “winners” and “losers” in life, and not just because I’m saying so. Winning turns you into a different person. It changes you on a cellular level, and if you want to get into the positive feedback loop of momentum you need to. . .

Use the Winner Effect

alexander winner effect self-esteemWhich is a term used in biology. I first learned about it from neuroscientist Ian Robertson while reading his book (which goes by the same name).

Basically, what the winner effect means, is that once you get the taste of winning you don’t want to go back to losing. Each win increases your self-esteem little by little. Winning actually transforms your biology.

Winning increases the dopamine receptors in the brain, which makes you smarter and more bold.

–Ian Robertson

The winner effect was first coined by biologists who noticed that an animal which had just won a fight for territory, was more likely to win its next fight as well. Can you guess why?

It’s because the winner gets an increase in dopamine and testosterone. (That’s right — winners become more manly and dominant than losers.)

And vice versa. If you’re consistently losing or failing at things you’ll have lower testosterone and dopamine levels. You’ll become timid and insecure. For example. . .

. . . Bertil Hult was in the “loser effect” until his boss helped him get out of it. That meant his stress levels (cortisol) were high and his testosterone was lower than it should be.

Skilled sports coaches understand the winner effect. This is proven by how they match up weak opponents for their athletes, to incrementally help build up their self-esteem.

Cus D’Amato who mentored and trained the young Mike Tyson, was very big on doing this. For several years he deliberately matched up Mike against weaker boxers, to build a long streak of victories for him. Cus referred to these opponents as “prey” or “food”.

And they were.Tyson winner effect positive self-esteem

Mike would knock them out early in the first round. When he was 16 years old his opponents feared facing him. Some would even back out or plead no contest. At this point Mike had a powerful winner effect going for him.

Much later, when Mike Tyson came back from his 3 year jail sentence and planned to reclaim his title, Don King used the same strategy. He gave Tyson two easy fights before the title to build up his confidence. Tyson scored a first-round knockout vs Peter McNeeley, and then a third-round knockout vs Buster Mathis.

When he finally faced the current champion, Frank Bruno of the UK, Mike won that fight (unimpressively) on a TKO and reclaimed his belt. If he hadn’t scored those two easy wins he might not have even done that.

In other words: The winner effect is important for your motivation and self-esteem.

And, fortunately, the winner effect doesn’t just apply to beating people up. For example, chess players and (video) gamers are affected by it too.

Some of the main ways you can use the winner effect, and get the positive boosts in testosterone and dopamine, is by:

  • Consistently outdoing yourself
  • Breaking (personal) records
  • Winning competitions
  • Rising to the top of a social hierarchy

And the question then becomes: What is the smartest way for doing this?

That, my friend, is via incremental change (improvement).

By deliberately setting yourself up for a streak of “small” consistent victories.

But wait. . .

. . .There’s more.

There’s also another psychological reason why it’s better to pace your progress towards your goals, as opposed to making sudden spurts. And this reason is that. . .

 You Want Positive Things to Happen Incrementally

And vice versa — you want the bad stuff to come all at once.

Why is this?

Well, it’s because of how the brain’s wired.

Here’s an excerpt from Peter Bevelin’s Seeking Wisdom:

Mary never wraps the kids Christmas presents in one box.”

Since our experiences seem longer when broken into segments, we like to have pleasurable experiences broken into segments but painful ones combined. That is why Mary puts presents in many boxes. Frequent rewards feel better.

Frequent rewards feel better.

Read on, and this will make more sense.

We prefer a sequence of experiences that improve over time. Losing $100 first and then gaining $50 seems more rewarding than gaining $50 and then losing $100. We want to get rid of the bad experiences first. Immediate losses are preferred over delayed ones. Just as we don’t like bad experiences, we also don’t like waiting for them. We like to get over them fast.

So, the implications of this are that:

  • To boost motivation and good emotions: You want to set yourself up for a sequence of consistently improving events, even if just slightly.
  • To minimize drain on motivation (sadness, grief, etc): You want the negative stuff to be over with as fast as possible.

 This is important to know.

O.K.

Now you know how to build self-esteem, set goals, and keep yourself motivated in executing consistently on your goals each day. But I know what you’re thinking: Are there more motivational tricks I can use?

Yes there are.

So let’s go over a number of psychological tricks that you can — and should — combine with what you’ve already learned. Starting with how to. . .

Understand And Use the Power of Consistency

Because your brain is biased for consistency in many ways.

First, I want to show you a few ways in which most people unknowingly use this against themselves. And you want to avoid that.

For example, if someone tells you something nice like: “You’re so confident and smooth”, guess what will happen?

You’ll want to live up to that. And you will want to act in congruence with the expectations placed upon you. Skilled negotiators know this, and give their opponents compliments early in the negotiations to get a better deal:

“Wow, you really did a good job giving us all the details. You’re such a nice guy Rob, you always give us a great deal.”

When Rob hears that he’ll unconsciously want to act nice and give the other guys a good deal (if he’s a poorly trained negotiator). This is sometimes called “The Pygmalion Effect“. (More on this soon.)

Another aspect of the consistency bias is the concept of cognitive dissonance. If you take some specific action you will post-rationalize your thoughts to create a compelling narrative which explains why you did it.

For example, let’s say you’re driving on the highway, and you see a guy on the sidewalk who looks like he’s cold and hurt. But for some reason you’re slow to react to this, and you unwillingly drive past him. What will happen?

Here’s what you will probably think:

I should’ve stopped to help him. . . But. . . Whatever. Some other person driving past will help him anyway. Besides, I need to get to my meeting now. Yes. I’m really busy. I don’t have time to turn back.

Here’s another example, assuming you’ve skipped going to the gym for some bullshit reason:

“I didn’t go to the gym because I. . . I. . . felt tired. That’s right. And they say it’s a bad idea to lift weights when you’re tired. Yeah. . . I could get seriously hurt. And I don’t want to risk my life.  Yeah, I’m too smart for that. Good thing I didn’t go to the gym!”

Consistency bias is a powerful thing, and it has a wide range of application.

It applies to ideology, beliefs, and your actions.

Say you decide to go to the cinema with someone on a first date. Then the two of you sit down to watch the movie, and 30 minutes into it, you both realize that the movie SUCKS.

Your date is headed for disaster!

You better do something.

The rational thing then is to do something else. Something different: To leave the cinema and choose a course of action that yields a higher value for the time the two of you spend together. Right?

Right.

But that’s NOT what will happen.

Nope.

Here’s what’s going to happen. . .

. . .You’ll both shut up about it and pretend watching the movie is fun.

Why is this?

It’s because:

  • You’ve invested money in buying tickets
  • You’ve invested 30 minutes of time watching the movie, plus the time it took you to walk to the cinema
  • You’ve invested your social status — and you don’t want to “make a scene” by walking out of the cinema while everyone’s watching the movie
  • And, maybe the most important psychological aspect in the case of a first date: You’ve invested yourself emotionally. . .

. . . And so, you care — a lot — about how you’re going to be perceived by the other person. You want that person to like you.

Meaning: You don’t want to admit you made a bad decision. Because it could backfire and make you or the other person — who is equally invested — lose face and get uncomfortable. And the other person may dislike you for pointing it out!

So in all likelihood, you’ll shut up about it and endure the boredom. And what happens next?

You guessed it — cognitive dissonance!

You start convincing yourself that the movie really is good after all. And that you really did make a good decision. And you will probably be successful in deluding yourself about this. . .

. . .Just like the losers (who don’t have real self-esteem) that I told you about in the beginning delude themselves with “feel-good” beliefs.

Then, as you and your date walk out of the cinema hand in hand, you both agree it was a great movie and you had a good time.

Then you never talk about it again.

Because it wasn’t a good movie and you don’t want to admit you made a mistake in watching it.

Alright, so now you know. . .

Now you know — and can anticipate — some of the ways in which your brain tricks you out of doing the “right thing”.

Let’s turn it around and look at how you can use this stuff to your advantage, starting with how you can. . .

Tap Into the Power of Consistency

Because it’s powerful.

And as you realize, most people are using various consistency principles against themselves.

Now, the first thing you want to know when it comes to using your brain’s bias for consistency is. . .

The Pygmalion Effect

Which is a catchy name for explaining the fact that our expectations or thoughts of ourselves are self-fulfilling. If you think good things about yourself you will form higher expectations of yourself. Higher expectations make you bolder.

In Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with one of his statues and wished it would come alive and marry him. Then it did -- and got pregnant.

In Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with one of his statues and started kissing it in hopes that it would turn into a real woman. Then it did — and it got pregnant.

This is one of the reasons why affirmations (autosuggestion) and complimenting other people improves self-esteem and performance.

If you think that you are a winner — you soon will be.

This means that starting now you will. . .

. . .Never think, speak, or write negatively about yourself.

Because it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy that puts you in a “loser effect”.

On to the next one. . .

 

The Consistency Chain

Which is my own catchy name for building up a streak of consistent actions.

The power of the consistency chain lies in the fact that once you do something every day consistently — without fail — for a long time in row you will want to continue what you’re already doing. It’s based on a combination of psychological principles like loss aversion, the sunk cost fallacy, and formation of habits.

This changes your thinking from, “I shouldn’t smoke a cigarette today” to, “I haven’t smoked for 40 days, and I’m not about to start today!”

Once you’ve started you don’t want to “break the chain”.

"Don't break the chain!"

“Don’t break the chain!”

The longer you do it, the easier it becomes to simply continue what you’re already doing.

But there’s more. . .

Next you will involve a visual element to remind yourself of your achievements.

This will help you put your work in perspective, which is a big motivation booster.

Here are three famous examples of the consistency chain:

  • Will Smith’s father forced Will and his brother to build a brick wall. It took them 1.5 years of daily work. At first they wanted to quit, but after they had laid the foundation they didn’t want to stop
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger would write on the gym wall using chalk for each set he did
  • Jerry Seinfeld used big calendars where he put an “X” for each day he wrote jokes. (You’ll find a free printable calendar like this at the bottom of the article)

Here’s how you combine the consistency chain with goal-setting:

  1. Choose a goal.
  2. Choose a deadline for when the goal will be completed (18 months is a good time frame)
  3. Transform the goal into a format that allows you to take action towards it every day. You do this by. . .
  4. . . . Making the goal measurable. Break it down into parts. Like this:

Let’s say your goal is to write a book that’s 200 pages and your deadline is 2 months. That means you need to write 3,33 pages per day. That’s no problem for you, right?

Writing 3,33 pages per day is an outcome-oriented goal.  You could also choose to make it a time-oriented goal by writing for 2 hours per day.

The time-oriented approach may be better if your self-esteem is low. Because it’s easier to put in time than it is results. And that might be a good idea, because — like I said in the beginning — self-esteem is built by consistent execution.

It’s up for you to experiment and find out which works best for you.

Now, onwards to the last psychological trick.

Finally we have. . .

The Commitment Tendency

Which means that if you commit to doing something you’ll increase the chances of success.

At some point you’ve probably heard about research claiming that people who put their goals in writing are more likely to follow through. But is this really true?

Yes, it’s true.

So be sure to write down your goals.

And after having written your goals you will look at them daily to improve pattern recognition.

There are a lot of smart people who never transcend mediocrity — despite their talent. Guess why.

It’s because they don’t have the balls to commit to any definite course of action. They’re scared to set goals and stick to them. They’re scared to fail. They’re scared of embarrassing themselves. . .

. . . And the reason I’m telling you this is because everyone benefits from making commitments. You might not be comfortable doing it, but you will benefit from it.

Everyone will not necessarily benefit from making  public commitments and becoming accountable to other people. However, some people will. You should experiment to see which type you are.

(I’ve talked about this before when it comes to goal-setting: should you talk about it or not?)

Here’s something for you to consider. . .

. . . Given the things I write about on SGM, under my own name, do you think this makes me more or less motivated in stepping up my personal development?

What do you think?

Exactly.

That’s about what you need to know about the psychological principles of consistency.

Now, let’s look at some typical questions excuses.

FAQ on Momentum, Motivation, And Consistency

Help! I am not in the positive feedback loop of momentum and I am over 30 years old! Is it too late for me?

Calm down.

No, it is not too late for you. Never think that.

Never think a thought that hinders your success. Choose to be delusionally positive. Use the Pygmalion Effect. Think like a winner and soon you will be one.

Many people self-sabotage themselves before they even take action. They do this because. . .

. . .They’re in homeostasis. And their brains try to keep them from using more energy than they’re used to. If they’re inactive they’ll find any reason to remain inactive. The brain doesn’t want to evolve. But remember. . .

. . . Your brain is not your boss. Nor is it your friend. It’s your employee.

Treat it as such.

You have to anticipate this resistance — homeostasis — when you’re changing your habits and entering the positive feedback loop of momentum.

Now, whether you don’t have momentum right now is irrelevant. Put that out of your head. It was out of your control until just now. Don’t waste energy blaming yourself for things you didn’t know about.

But you do know now.

So do what it takes to force yourself into it. Combine these things you just learned.

Be pragmatic.

Help! How do I use the “winner effect”?

First, you want to have a clear goal for what you’re going to do.

Second, you want to start making incremental progress towards this goal.  You do this by deliberately setting yourself up for a series of small consistent victories.

And it’s important that these victories are consecutive. You want to win as often as you can, preferably every time. Frequent rewards are best. How can you ensure this?

By starting smaller than you would otherwise. . .

. . . And stepping it up a little every time.

Here are some personal examples of how I’ve used the winner effect with positive results:

  • Last month I ran almost every day. I started small and stepped it up incrementally. The first day I ran for 35 minutes and the last day of that month I ran for 95 minutes. I think most of that change was mental (not that my legs got stronger).
  • 2,5 years ago I started taking cold showers. I started with lukewarm water. Then I lowered the temperature a bit each time. At first I had trouble breathing and couldn’t stand in the cold water very long. Today, I can take the coldest water on my head for minutes and still breathe somewhat normally.
  • 3+ years ago I started reading. I replaced video games with reading books. At first I couldn’t read for longer than 15 minutes without losing my focus. After a month I could easily read for over an hour.
  • 1,5 years ago I started writing in my commonplace book every day. Setting up the system was troublesome. But once I’d done that it was easy to continue. I’ve been working on improving the system ever since. Oh, and by the way: Imagine how much I’ve committed/invested into this process — the consistency bias ensures my ongoing motivation.
  • A little less than a year ago I started blogging seriously and began guest posting. When I did this I deliberately started out small to pace my progress and incrementally build my confidence. Now I feel comfortable writing for just about any big site in the world. No way was that true one year ago.

Help! I’m afraid other people will think I’m arrogant and cocky for talking about my goals or ambitions.

Well, in that case just keep it to yourself.

But. . .

. . . If you are the kind of person who benefits from becoming accountable to others (public commitment) you should find a way to use that. Like Muhammad Ali did when he told everyone he was “the greatest”. And remember, he kept that up for years until it eventually became true.

"Now who's the greatest?"

“Now who’s the greatest?”

Most people don’t have the guts to do that. They’re afraid people might think they’re arrogant, and that they’re bragging.

But . . .

it’s not bragging if you mean it.

There’s a big difference between being cocky and being confident. If other people aren’t smart enough to understand this — screw ’em.

Tell yourself you are the best and act as if it were true.

In some countries — like Sweden — people losers will tell you to be more humble. How do you deal with this?

You don’t. You ignore them. No one cares for a humble loser anyway.

You can be humble when you’re a winner.

Got it?

Good.

How to Be a Winner Every Day

Now that you know about the positive feedback loop of momentum you want to start using it in your own life.

Here’s how:

  • You build real positive self-esteem by executing on your goals. And you set goals by answering the questions:
  1. What do I want?
  2. How can I get it?
  3. What do I need to do specifically?

Then you turn that goal into something measurable that you can take action on every day. Time-oriented or result-oriented daily goals. And then? You execute like a madman.

  • Your self-esteem isn’t just based in achievements —it is mostly based in your consistency of execution. You build self-esteem incrementally, bit by bit every day by breaking records, doing scary things, and creating new references points.
  • You want to set yourself up to use the “winner effect” as soon as possible. You deliberately set yourself up for a series of consistent victories and build confidence a little at a time. You enter the self-reinforcing cycle of dopamine and testosterone.
  • Incremental change builds more motivation than sudden change does. You want the good stuff — the rewards — to come incrementally. And you want the bad stuff to come all at once.
  • Your brain is wired for consistent behavior. There are many explanations for how consistency tricks your thinking. This can be both a bad and a good thing. For most people this is a very bad thing. Because they unknowingly let it work against them. You must find ways to use this to your advantage by using. . .

–The “Pygmalion Effect” by only ever thinking, speaking, and writing positively about yourself.

–The “Consistency Chain” by turning your goals into a format which allows you to take action towards it every day and lets you build a long chain of consistent execution. Then you add a visual element to remind yourself of your progress and achievements (see resources below).

–The “Commitment Tendency” by putting your goals (no matter how small) in writing or by stating them in public and making yourself accountable.

When you combine these psychological principles you will become a machine–a momentum machine.

 


If you like this article, check out my book Breaking out of Homeostasis.

You’ll learn (1) how to be more adaptable and stress-tolerant, (2) what it takes to change your life, (3) how to use your brain and feel more alive–with 200 unique exercises, (4) how to increase mental vigilance (5) how to learn faster through pattern recognition, and (6) the most important thing for choosing your career before age ~30.

“Breaking out of Homeostasis is one of the most important books I have read in a long time. You read one or two books every few years that completely change the way you see the world and this is definitely one of them.”
~Martin Sandquist, Billionaire (Founder Lynx Asset Management) 

 

Comments

  1. It is impossible. But what if the whole world was full of winners ? Do you think Ikea ar else would still be what they are ? That there would be mega-rich people and mega-poor ? I don’t think so…

    Also this blog is obviously a positive thing, but sometimes I sense you let yourself be submerged by “confirmation bias” or whatever biases… I mean, there are probably a ton of worthy people who never made it, without being their fault, without being WEAK.
    I’m not accusing you, but I think sometimes you might forgot that it’s not all about will and genetics.
    Also you said Kamprad started for nothing then prove it’s false since his grandmother was helping him. I mean, ressources aren’t always monetary, so, he did not started from nothing.
    I tend to think that 99% of people at the top have had help from wise parents/protector, giving them an unbelievable edge. For exemple : Do you now the name of Mozart’s father ? Probably not. But the fact he was a music teacher (not rich or famous) has made Mozart a true genius.
    I did not read the whole article btw, trying to avoid information overload, which is my biggest weakness hahaha.
    Keep up the good work.
    Regards,

    a French fellow.

  2. “The real reward isn’t success… it’s becoming a human success *machine*”.

    -heard that somewhere

  3. A great long post! totally worth reading.

    I have read most of your blog posts and now I’m reading them again, taking notes and giving you positive constuctive feedback.

    You’re making a great work distilling the great wisdom that is out there from all the incremental noise in this information society.

    Vi ses!

  4. This article is too good, I’m struggling to find the words…
    Life changing shit.
    Love how you leave no stone unturned when it comes to making an article, helpful, memorable, entertaining, visual etc etc
    Thanks you so much man

  5. i just landed on your site the other day and i have to say im impressed with the content you have posted on it. i myself struggle with motivation. i waste time playing video games and watching tv. and not going to the gym and eating unhealthy. but im looking to change all this i just don’t know where to start.

    • Start by quitting video games cold turkey and replace it with something that satisfies the same stimuli (dopamine rush), but more character-developing.

      –I did that, and started by reading books 20-30 min per day (my concentration was horrible at time) and incrementally worked my way up by forcing myself to read 5 more minutes each day. That turned things around.

  6. This is one of the best blogs I’ve stumbled across. This post was truly engaging! Good stuff!

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