Repetition Is The Mother of Mastery 

I don’t write nor publish my rabbiting-on for no other reason than I’m enjoying this form of expression. It’s both fun and cathartic, and has now become an essential part of my daily morning routine.
Mornings are my mental ‘flow-state”.
It’s my time of the day to establish the processes, habits and actions that I want to hone and persevere with.
It’s a time where I highlight areas that I’d like to curb, change or relinquish…to remind myself each day on the actions, thoughts, words and intentions that I’d like to dominate my next 24 hours. I’m a believer that repetition is the mother of mastery. I’m only going to remember to remain focused on my thoughts, my choices, my habits and desired outcomes only if I keep them front and centre…that, and reducing the distractions that steal my ability to remain motivated and focused on the conscious decisions I make.

I’m probably jumping ahead a bit, but bugger it…I’m writing this…I’m a huge believer that  it’s by only living a sober* a life as possible (*sober – free from ‘stuff’ that influences and contradicts our abilities & motivations to consciously observe and act, Influences like alcohol, drugs, poor thinking, negative self-talk, compulsive behaviours, self-sabotaging, poor sleep, poor nutrition, lack of movement, Crocs…all that good stuff that few of us want to acknowledge nor relinquish when undertaking the process of self-improvement etc etc. It was nearly always the first questions I’d get from clients, when starting a 30 or 60 day program a few years back, was “Can I still drink?”) 

Back to “Flow”…

This morning routine is, in simple terms, a neural rewiring process. It’s both an uploading new information, and a removing of old tired, corrosive, toxic software, so that it becomes my new default, rather than a ‘reflex’ response or an act of self-sabotage. 
And when things do go to shit, as they do all day everyday, even when I forget to react the way I’d like, I soon quickly remember to reset my thoughts, before allowing my brain to send me off to ego-la, la land.
One of the best ways to challenge your ability to remain focused on the here and now is to task yourself with little, manageable challenges that, and what James Clear from Atomic Habits calls “Habit Stacking”. Creating new habit actions that will only foster and propagate your key self-improvement lifestyle choices. The big ticket habits items that are referred to as KeyStone habits…these are the big ones…what I refer to as non-negotiable. 
Optimised Sleep
Growth Mindset
Optimal Nutrition
Movement & Strength
Because I’m weird, live alone and enjoy this personal life-hacking process, I actively, and yes deliberately, test myself on a very regular basis.
It’s what I call personal stress-testing, and I deliberately practice and apply it all the time.
On insignificant things and bigger picture stuff..why?
It improves my grit and resilience, my decision making, my self-knowledge, my health and my ability to, and without wanting to sound like a woo-woo douche bag…be present…it’s real-world applicable acts mindfulness.
For example, only this past fortnight I’m…
Stress-testing my diet…my diet is pretty good, but I noticed that my cream consumption was on the rise. I use cream in my coffee (I drink 3 coffees a day between 4am and 11am). I use cream occasionally throughout the week if I make frozen berry ice cream (awesome on hot days…FYI peeps reading this o/s, we’ve had about two-weeks of 40/104 degree days). In caloric terms, I was consuming 1000-1500 calories a week in cream. So I ditched it….have you tried training off 1,500 calories in a week!?? 
No cream for you!…(said in your best Soup Nazi accent)

TIP: Audit your food / beverage choices, what are you consuming a lot of…is it unhealthy or high in calories or both? Swap it or eliminate it…you’ll be staggered the amount of calories you can reduce in a week, just by making some smarter choices. I’ve had clients in the past remove or reduce some key foods and it’s meant up to a 2500-3000 reduction in caloric intake for the a week. That’s massive! These folks lost a lot of body fat, without doing any thing else! Try training that off in a week, with out eating more food!

Stress-test my habits…this is going to sound weird/funny but my light bulb blew in my bathroom, so I thought as a test, I wouldn’t change it and see how long it took before I would stop automatically (trying to) turning the light switch on when entering the bathroom…admittedly I’m a bit of slow learner, but it took about 10-days for this habit to break. The light is still out by the way…I’m loving my salubrious, romantic showers with myself…my hair is a real mess though. 
Stress-test my training…decided to add running back into my training schedule, haven’t run since living in Nice, so the first couple of efforts were god-awful…now is gooood. 
Stress-test my opinions…I use my journaling a lot for this, plus read and research areas that can conflict with what I think is right….why?
Simply because much of we think we believe is either nonsense or wrong. AND the stories we concoct around these false opinions generates a HUGE amount of negative internal dialogue in our attempts to defend them when challenge by others.
Resist the urge to respond.
Even if it is true…who gives a shit…there’s possibly 7 billion people who don’t believe it…

My big-ticket stress-test I exercised this past month was to send out an email to 20 friends, acquaintances and colleagues simply requesting feedback on my weaknesses.
Now this wasn’t an easy email to send and I spent hours cogitating over its content and if I should actually send it.
Anyways, I decided to sleep on it, which i did, then the next day promptly sent it.
Within seconds i said “why the f**** did I send that!!!!”
My ego kicked in big time with the internal narrative generating a never-ending negative, loser-inspired self-talk…like Fox News going non-stop between my ears.
This mild mental meltdown was especially exacerbated when i didn’t receive any replies that day, nor the next day…or the next.
I wasn’t so much crushed, but my ego certainly had an absolute field day saying “good one Luke!” you know, in that awesome sarcastic self-talk that we all have…we do right…don’t you?? 🤔

However…yes, there is a ‘however’ is this little fable.
4 days later I get a reply from one of my most nearest and dearest. An individual who’s known me (and my family) most of my life…since I was about 18 in fact…you know who you are ❤️
Her opening line was “Finally got some space between the neurons and some breathes at sunset here in tropical Qld… For this (email) was not some quick emoji haven’t got time response – kinda question… this needed serious contemplation…”
(Gulp…shit’s getting real…)

The content of this beautiful reply brought me such warmth and a few tears – that, this one reply, made the whole exercise completely worth it…and in childish terms, it was a real “F*** you ego” moment…I did actually say that out loud. My neighbours must be thinking ‘who’s this crazy guy with the bad hair, yelling at his ego’.

A few hours later another reply came through…again, someone saying that they wanted to take time to respond.
The next day 2 more replies…over that week, and until just this current week, I have received 13 replies, from the 20 emails sent.
Every email, well thought out. 
Every email had slightly interpreted my request slightly differently.
Some of the feedback was very personal, sent only AND received, with love.
Some of the feedback pertained to work, and the project Im currently working on.
It was an awesome exercise.
And one of the most profound aspects to this process is that requires the individual (me) to not only accept and understand the comments, but it demanded that I carefully sift the feedback through you own beliefs, my ego and where and what I could do better.
Because receiving feedback, feedback that you have requested (because lots of feedback received can be mostly unsolicited…like people who wear Crocs) you’re asking for an opinion.

And the delightful challenge that arises is that some opinions can be based on assumptions, nothing wrong with that per se, if the feedback has been requested. Different story if you’re lobbing your assumptive-based opinion at someones choices of rubber footwear…because assumptions can be tricky (and best avoided in my book) for both the assumptor and assumptee (<—-two new words in the English Dictionary) because for both parties what is being assumed, at each end, may or may not be true (probably isn’t), real, fair, understood, appreciated, respected etc etc.

What’s that expression?
Don’t make an ASS out of U and ME (ASSUME)
And that’s the kicker here in this exercise…it challenged me to practice how to be responsible for the interpretation, understanding and, if you like, cataloguing of my emotions.
It stress-tested my ego and the internal narrative.
It heightened the hell out of my awareness on how much drivel goes through my head…and how the ancestral mindset default mechanism will always go into ‘protect mode’ …which is often, these days , not the best reaction.

Ultimately what I found is that it was another opportunity, another exercise to challenge my “can’t-mindset”.
As I swagger, trip, fall-over, get up, swagger, trip, fall over (repeat) down this gorgeous road called living,  I realised that a lot of my past (most of it) and still to this day, my actions and behaviours have been a reflex action (non-conscious) to my “can’t-do” attitude.
Maybe this was an onset from my learning difficulties, that were further exacerbated by booze n no-snooze activities during my 20’s and 30’s…ahem…and 40’s
Knowing that I’ve been a can’t for the majority of my adult life I’m finding, again through my sober lifestyle choices, that I’m very very happy to look at ways to reengineer my life and how I spend my time.
The realisation that midlife is full of transitions is tremendously liberating.

And it’s navigating myself to repurpose my life, to make myself more self-accountable…more response-abled…and less of a can’t is what I’m now cherishing most.

Here are 10 tips that I have developed and read often to keep on track and self-accountable 

1. Reject being incapable – purposefully pursue solutions, seek, search and be diligent in your efforts to overcome obstacles

2. Be fearless – face the most difficult task head-on, face on…the very difficulty of it means you must.

3. Stop complaining – you complaining is a reflection on you and your ability, or lack thereof to respond properly, and not the problem or issue at hand. Plus it’s a huge waste of time and energy.

4. Be empathetic – perspective, from other person’s position or situation, will enable you to weaponise your best-decision-making ability

5. Find purpose, and passion will follow – purpose and realism will trump passion and vision. Passion is most often matured and propagated via purposeful action

6. Do the best you can…always – exceed your own expectations and you will achieve the unimagined. 

7. Think. Be. Do…never ever wait for ‘that perfect moment’, don’t allow excruciating fear, worry, anxiety or the pursuit of perfection to interfere with your progress…do it!

8. Be adaptable – your ability to adjust to change is determined by your understanding of the process at hand. Resist determining that ‘the goal’ is the endpoint. There is no endpoint, only the process that moves you forward…’ fall in love with the process and the results will follow”

9. Be committed – you’ve had the initiative to start, you’re a self-starter…now close the deal. Keep that internal dialogue/ego of yours in check and don’t allow it to bury your ambitions

10. Quantify results by the commitment you exhibit – this is not only self-perpetuating and self-motivating but also contagious to others. Flagrant joyful commitment will see new resources and opportunities open and unfold in front you by default.