MAKING A HABIT OF HABITS
In his early 20’s, American novelist Stephen King was scratching out a meager existence writing spec articles for pulp publications, like True Crime. But King dreamt of becoming a famous novelist.
His problem? Every time he began penning the great American novel, King suffered writer’s block. Realizing he needed a different approach, he tried something new. Instead of struggling with his end goals, Stephen King began focusing on developing the habits of a successful writer.
Rather than waiting to write until he had his plot and characters all perfectly structured, King set about a different process for writing. He simply established the habit of writing something each day, until he had produced 10 pages of copy. He put himself into a new action and committed to it. Fifty years later, through this process, he has produced over 80 novels, 3 non-fiction books, dozens of screenplays and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.
Following Stephen King’s writing habit of 10 pages a day won’t ensure an aspiring writer’s success. However, it generates productivity AND also tends to improve quality.
Creative people tend to get into a flow.
And getting into a flow, where our highest levels of expression and inspiration pour from us, seems to have a pace and cadence to it. When Stephen King began the habit of pumping out 10 pages of writing a day, he eliminated any doubt that he was committing himself to writing.
When he had focused on writing “the” killer novel, his insecurity, around whether he had the ability to reach this lofty goal, tended to shut him down. However, by simply laying down what came to him in the moment, new ideas sprang forth and completing his daily goal became easier
and easier. Not only did his productivity become better, but so did the quality of his work.
You will know you have truly internalized The SHARP Method when you commit to the habits of behavior and thinking you’ll need to realize your dreams. Sometimes this can be a simple new habit, like Stephen King used to become a prolific and successful writer.
For example, let’s say, in the creation of your WHO AM I?, you declare yourself to be “curious” (a particularly useful trait). The question then is “how do curious people behave?” In other words, what are some of the habits supporting the intention of becoming more curious? Here’s one I highly recommend:
Every time you read a book or magazine article and come across a word you are unsure of its meaning, underline it. Then, when you are done reading, go back and look up the meaning on the dictionary app on your phone (you DO have the dictionary app on your phone…Right?). The benefits of this habit are numerous, but here are just two:
1. Your reading comprehension will exponentially expand: not only will you understand the subtlety of the text, but you will also generate a higher-level focus in your reading.
2. Becoming a curious reader leads to becoming a curious listener. Curious listeners have better personal relationships and more productive business relationships, and have a tendency to be well-liked.
So, what new habits are YOU going to start today?” . . . Just curious!