Foster Flowing Habit, Not Gritty Discipline

A number of coachees often ask me why I am so good at doing certain things, especially in the context of NLP where I aim to create powerful distinctions for myself and my students.

Some of these distinctions, in my mind, are easy. A small change enables me to view the same thing in a different way. In a sense, this is a kind of learning. The anomalous “thing” called knowledge is never fixed, and the growth of such knowledge can actually lead to realization of Truth.

However, there is one place where you don’t always want to keep prodding and examining over and over. This is the zone of systems and processes. If you want productivity and efficiency in your life, you have to read all the way through.

If you are a business owner, and you are not automating your process, I guarantee that you are wasting a lot of time. Heck, even this blog post is sort of automated, but not really by machines.

You see, human behavior is not driven by “random” thought. Actually if you think about it, thought is a systematic process. It is predictable, even though it is complex. Hence, I can do things in my mind that enable me to write a blog post quickly. [This post took around 30 minutes to write.]

I am aware that most solopreneurs don’t have proper procedures, and it’s not for a lack of trying. It’s really due to experience and knowledge about knowledge (metaknowledge) that makes the difference. If you know how to know, then you are better at knowing.

In early stage process thinking, you tend to think in big chunks. Not precise. This is why anyone with a big idea and launches it is often simply going to fail.

The next stage of process thinking is about not making assumptions anymore. You take what you have done and recall what you really did do, so that someone else can take what you have noted and achieve the same result.

The advanced stage of process thinking is to look at how robust that process can be. You may have some things you do in a certain way on some days, but others that you might do differently. Much like driving a car, you might have several routes to a singular destination that you can choose from in the event that other highways are locked down or blocked.

Here’s the thing: If you don’t have these contingent actions, it means you are going to have to spend time to think about them again. If you spend a lot of time thinking about the food you want to eat, you are going to spend way too much time there. If you are a school enroling students and do not have some form of automation, you are simply wasting resources. If you are a leader who has to think about each individual without having the basis of thinking about them, your entire philosophy of each individual will have to start from ground up, leading to indecision and wastage too.

If you are running a business and do not have a set of practice to follow, you have not routinized yourself. If you have not routinized, it probably means you don’t have a habit of doing it. If you don’t have a habit, it probably means you haven’t written it down. If you haven’t written it down, it probably means it’s still a mess up there in your head.

No wonder people get foggy!

If you have a system map, this is still not guaranteed for your success. It merely shows you how successful you are. If I look at your processes, I will not only be able to tell if you have time efficiency, I will also be able to tell if you are ready to scale your growth. Having an advisor, reading books or even building a team is not sufficient to scale your growth if you do not have your processes in place.

In some cases, systems are not reliable because of the nature of the context. We know that no matter how systematic we are, we can only do so much during a pandemic. This means that when you want to achieve great results in an ambiguous environment, you will need plenty of energy to push through the challenges of reliable and valid information.

If you are the kind of solopreneur who is haphazard in doing what you do, but still producing results, then you most certainly want to understand what it will take to handle business processes without being put off by the details. After all, if you want to outsource things, you still need control over your process to outsource and manage effectively.

The key to create effective processes is not about charting workflows. It is about charting mindflows. Here’s how you can start off.

Step 1: Think about a repetitive task you have to do.

Example: you do podast interviews.

Step 2: Draw up the steps that you take to do it.

Example: you have to find interviewees, collect their bio data and information, reach out to them emails, track their responses, set up the landing pages, set up the meeting, conduct the interview, edit, label and store the recording, back up the recordings, upload the recordings to your respective sites, drive traffic to the interview.

Step 3: Dive into the sensory modalities you use, in sequence, in order to do those steps.

Quick Example: Finding interviewees requires you to search Google and Amazon by industry, or topic, looking at the search results; you then need to make a decision about who to reach out to first, and therefore internally you have to weigh the decision and priorities. Just know that each action verb component will contain a sequence of sensory modalities that will lead you to do this action completely.

Step 4: Test, Track, Hack

Example: Once you have a mind flow of your actions, you review it by testing and assessing if this is the best way for you to do it. This way, anyone can adapt themselves to a better or different way that is smoother for them but just as effective. Once you can do that, you have a choice of adoption, and to see which is better, you simply time it for efficiency. This way, tracking turns into hacking.

Step 5: Installation… in the Mind

This step will require a combination of different strategies, such as visualization, hypnosis or NLP (which incorporates them anyway). A strategy I frequently use to creat habituation is called the Swish Pattern.

Step 6: Test Habituation

Often, you will encounter interrelated habits. For example, you may not realize it but you need an anti-distraction habit. It means that whenever your focus disintegrates, you have a mechanism built into your habit that enables you to return and complete what you were supposed to do.


A lot of people believe they need discipline to achieve what they want. While this is true, it is also quite unnecessarily painful if you need to be disciplined to do everything. Once you can consciously attend to something, you can transform it into unconscious behavior. It’s about taking something that was not automatic, and turning it into something automatic. When you realize the limits of the conscious mind and the limitless potential of the unconscious, you will probably want to hand over that new habit to your unconscious so that you will arrive at a state of flow.

If you want to set up your own personal productivity system that hacks your mind to maximize your advantage, contact me for a discovery conversation!

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See also  The Theory of Consistent Discomfort

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