Jan 23, 2019:  ~ 6 min read

Everything affects everything else; use it to your advantage

Continuing from last time, I’d like to explore the idea that nothing is too unimportant, which is another way of saying that anything and everything affects everything else.

What does that actually mean? Well, it has no hidden or deeper meaning, it means that how you do one thing, you do everything. It means that any activity you have or you adopt influences both your current ones and the ones you’ll adopt in the future; both for the positives and the negatives.

Think of it like this:

  • If you buy a new TV, will that influence you to read more, or will it attract you to watch more shows/movies?
  • If you buy a new blender, will that influence you to make more smoothies, or will you start eating more sweets?

These are obvious examples, you might say, and you’d be right. But this isn’t a one-stop relation, because, remember, everything affects everything else.

Darren Hardy gives a pretty good example in his book, The Compound Effect, which I highly recommend, but I'll share the short version:

Buying a new TV will lead to watching more of it and, probably, staying up later. This will lead to waking up more tired, which leads to less energy at work. And this means being less productive, which can lead to negative feedback.

The final result is more stress, less energy and less willpower. After coming home from work it will be much easier to reach for that remote again. It’s an easy way for the brain to release that stress.

Of course, this doesn’t stop here. If you have a life partner, this stress, lack of energy and more time in front of the TV will affect your relationship. You'll both end up being even more stressed.

On the other hand, deciding to read more will lead to more knowledge. This means a better understanding of what’s good and what’s bad for you, so you might want to stay up less. This leads to waking up more energized. And this leads to being more productive and receiving positive feedback at work.

You can see where I’m going with this, it’s literally in the opposite direction, isn’t it?

A few more examples, out of my own life

Reading more has made me want to watch more seminars, to learn more. Up until last year I was watching "motivational videos" to motivate me, to boost my morale a bit. Now I want to learn from them, I'm extracting information.

I also started writing book summaries after I finish them. Which led to writing summaries out of the videos I watch. Which led to me wanting to summarize other stuff in my life, like my day, so I started journaling every day. I now summarize my days, weeks, months and years.

All this summarizing led me to start tracking what I eat and to be aware of what I consume. I then moved onto tracking how much water/tea I drink. This made me realize on my own that what gets measured gets improved. Even though I had read it before, I now internalized it. Finally, I started tracking what I spend, making me more aware of my poor spending habits.

How you do one thing, you do everything

We saw a few examples of how adopting new activities affects us, but what about the existing ones? How do they influence other areas of our lives? Well, they kind of act in the same way.

There is no such thing as ”I’m only careless with this area of my life”. Be honest with yourself and you’ll find out that you’re probably careless with other areas as well. If you’re slacking in one area of your life, you’re probably slacking in others too.

I’m not trying to be condescending. On the contrary, I’d like you to realize the actual situation, so you can improve it. I’ve been there, and until I became totally honest with myself, I couldn’t see the actual truth. I considered there’s nothing to improve.

The negatives

Do you think getting pissed off in traffic is the only place you’re getting pissed off and talk inappropriately? Are you 100% sure it doesn’t happen with your kids, your dog or your spouse?

Or if you’re careless while driving and you don’t respect the laws, limits and other drivers, are you really respecting your coworkers, friends or neighbors?

If you have clothes all over the place in your room, are you really you aren’t careless with your work ethic or how you spend your time and money?

And if you don’t care about others, your time and money, do you truly take care of your health, mentally and physically?

The positives

The opposite is also true. When you reach a point where you’re disciplined and careful with a big part of your life, you’ll start noticing the areas of indiscipline, of carelessness and they’ll start to annoy you. You won’t be able to be indifferent about them. And you’ll start fixing them.

If for the past 6 months you’ve been reading everyday and taking care of your health, won’t it become clear that you probably should take care of your mind, as well? You might start meditating and/or being careful of what information goes into your head.

If you put in the effort and do your best when, say, washing the dishes or cleaning the house, won’t that train your mind to do your best in other areas as well? At work, for example?

And if it’s been long enough since you’ve taken care of your mind, health and work, how can you be indifferent to how your relations unfold?

Ignore nothing

By their nature, small things don’t have a big impact by themselves and they go unnoticed. But we now know that one small thing influences another small thing. All these small things add up to a major result.

What negative discipline do you ignore that might influence some other area of your life?

What do you think it’s too small to matter, but it might add up on the negative side?

What new positive habit could you adopt that would make you adopt others too?

Like I said last time, no step is too unimportant. Now we also know that everything affects everything else. I hope you’ll stop ignoring the small things, because those are the building blocks for the big things.

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