How simple an action is, or looks, is directly related to how quick you will implement it.
On effectiveness, getting unstuck, the beauty of simple, action and habits…
Years ago, when I was still training for my Body-Mind-Centering* certification, at some point we were asked to participate in an exercise, that when my teachers explained, it, I felt like:”Duh, is it really why I’m paying you hundreds of Euros a day?” Because it was so simple. It sounded just stupid and ineffective.
(*Body-Mind centering is a somatic movement and touch practice)
It turns out this exercise gave me a major breakthrough, and I was shocked afterwards about how simple and quick it was, versus the value that I got from it in terms of what I learned.
I guess that day I got the same look on my face that I see now and then on the face of my coaching clients, when they give me the “too good to be true” look.
Our rational minds love complex solutions, because they look somehow more serious, more legit. Seeing all these steps, the logical progression, it looks reassuring.
Another thing is sometimes it can be painful to face that the solution was so simple, it can feel like:”Oh God, if it was so simple, why didn’t I do it already?”. And sometimes we didn’t because it is so simple we dismiss it, we convince ourself it just won’t work.
But again, and again, and again, both in my personal life and in my professional life in coaching sessions with my clients, I am reminded that simple it what is what helps us move.
The most important moment is the start
So if you’re stuck, or if there is just an action that keeps not happening, don’t look for a ten steps process. Simplify it! Make it simple and easy to start moving, because the most important moment is the start. That’s when it goes from one zero to on, from one state to a different one. And that’s the harder moment. Going then from one to hundred is much easier, it is just scaling what already exists. But going from zero to one, we need to change something, to create a new behaviour, to start an action…
Let’s look at changing habits. What works is taking away the resistance to change, because more often than not, the habit in itself is not that difficult, but oh, the resistance…. That’s another story. Simple lessens the resistance, or make it vanish.
In an instant we will see how to apply it in real life. But first let me make sure we are on the same page.
The power of “small” things, or how I began meditating daily
We often dismiss an idea because it is too small it wouldn’t make a difference. But we really don’t know how small or big the consequences are going to be.
I’ve been meditating daily for quite some years now, but at first it was a struggle. I had this idea that I needed to meditate half an hour at least, or it just wasn’t meditation. And going from meditating sometimes to every morning for half an hour? It’s a big step! So I never found the time or at least not daily.
Until I changed my assumptions about this: I realized I didn’t care how long I meditated, the most important thing to me was doing it every day.
So I decided that I would meditate at least one minute a day. And it sounded ridiculous. But the hardest thing again is going from zero to one. And that one minute was too ridiculously small for me to pretend I didn’t have time. The next thing I know, I have been meditating every day ever since. Because the hardest thing was making a habit to sit and meditate. Of course, I go way over this minimal minute. But it also gave me permission to not beat myself the days I really don’t have time because I’m taking a plane at four in the morning and I’m not getting up thirty minutes earlier to sleep-meditate… It’s OK, I still have my minimum one minute meditation and the habit sticks.
One trick of changing habits, as for taking action, is to make it dead easy. So don’t underestimate any small thing just because it looks small, Even if at the time, it looks a bit ridiculous, it works and that’s the more important thing.
Simple is effective. Complex is really seductive, but simple, that is what is effective.
How can you simplify and start moving?
So coming back to you, how can you use that?
Maybe you are stuck, or there is an action you want to take, but it’s not really happening. How could you simplify?
What does your solution look like at the moment? How complex does it look? How could it simplify it so that you ease the action taking? There’s a few ways you could go with that.
You could ask yourself what is the next smallest action you could take? Can you break it down to make the steps so small, that it would be ridiculous not to take them, like my one minute meditation?
If you have a ten step process, how can you simplify it? Is any and every step absolutely required? Can you maybe you can find a way to change a little thing so that one step isn’t required at all? Can you merge two steps in one? How can you streamline this process?
What is something you could do to ease the action taking so, for example, if you want to go running every morning. What about every evening before, you take out your running shoes and clothes. So the next morning when you get up and want to put your clothes on, you’ll find your running clothes. And now that you have your clothes on, you might as well go running, right?
So, again, a small step, but it could make a difference. Who knows? You loose nothing trying, right? So why not try?
And if nothing, absolutely nothing comes to mind, try decluttering. We really underestimate how the visual clutter is tiring us. Just having less distractions around you, that makes it easier to think about the important stuff. If we have clutter around us, we see it and we mentally erase it. We are not aware of that because it’s running in the background, but it’s still happening and it’s taking bandwidth in your mental processes. I’ve seen people getting really unstuck with just that one.
The elegance and effectiveness of simple is one of my favourite tips. So simple, so effective. I am really curious, as always, to hear how it will make a difference, how you will use it. What idea are you going to apply it to?
Your weekly dose of fierce love
A mix of love and brutal honesty!
Boom, life just got easier!
You like this, and you want more? subscribe, so you get your weekly dose.
You want even more? Hop on my socials, and share your thoughts and comments. I love to read them, and reply… with fierce love.
Stay tuned for the next episode, à bientôt. 😉
(Intro music for the podcast: “Tiny people”, by Alexei De Bronhe )