This is I think the best one to think about as your what are you going to do today invisible structure. Programs are basically acquired behavioral patterns that are so regularly followed that they have become invisible. And Gretchen Rubei says that 65% of our daily habits and activities are simply programs. I would the other 35% we're just sleeping. 'Cause most of what we do is programs. And programs are built around environments, stimuli, and obligations. So basically, a program will sound something like whenever I do blank, I do blank. So whenever I go to the movies I buy a large popcorn. Whenever I get in the car, I turn the radio on. Whenever I, for me, okay this is the last time I make this example. Whenever I'm doing drawing, I'll smoke a little weed. Okay that's just me. 'Cause it loosens me up. But I've programmed that in a way where I feel like if I'm drawing I have to be smoking which is not true. But these are programs, right? Programs are a direct cause and effect that are ...
linked by the invisible thread of habits. There's something that is really cool about programs because they're running in almost every period of our life. So you think about like for instance, when you wake up in the morning and how you start your day. You wake up usually on the same side of bed. You go to shower at about the same time. You brush your teeth in the exact same way. I mean everyone has programs where they're literally I brush the bottom right row first then I over to the bottom left row and I go up, it's the same way every time. I watch TV around the same time. I'm going to get in the car, get dressed all that stuff around the same time. These are programs built in. Same thing with our schedule. For the most part, we're doing the same activities around the same with the same people every day. This is creating this loop of the known, the known, the known of staying inside of this box. Again, think about everything that you know and think about the fact that it's really hard to get to the unknown if you're staying inside that box. The way you get to work is a perfect example. There's, have you ever experienced this? Where Apple Maps tells you where you want to go before you go there? Have you all experienced that? It is freaky. I will get in the car and Apple Maps will pop up and it will say you going to work? I'm like, what do you mean? And it will say here's the fastest route. They think they're being helpful. I think that's way too much. But that's actually very telling because a lot of times they're right. Why I'm freaked out is 'cause they're right. Sometimes it will be like, this is the freakiest thing guys. I will get in the car and it will suggest directions and it will be like somewhere like, oh are you going to your friend's house? And I am going to my friend's house. It will map it out and I didn't tell Apple that. Why do they know that? You know, but it's because we have these patterns built up that are even recognizable enough for an algorithm to pick up. So the algorithm, you know this, all about this in the dating apps world. The algorithm is so strong and our habits are so consistent that we can mathematically predict where we're going to be and what we're going to do. And that's a straight up program. Think about the programming that happens when we're on our phones, checking social media. It's like when I get a text message, I have to respond. That's programmed, it's like Pavlovian dog. I get a text, I respond. I get an email, I respond. That little signal goes up, little one flares, and now my brain fires and I have to create a response to it. And neuro chemically, biologically, and socially, these programs reward us. Sometimes the reward is just clearing off the notifications which feels kind of good. And sometimes the reward is more physical or psychological. And the reason why these work is we invest a lot of energy into these behaviors and usually even if we don't know it, these behaviors are giving us a reward. Once we realize what's causing us to make these choices and what the reward is, it's easier to dismantle them. Same thing with, and we were talking about this a little bit earlier. Same thing with like for instance, the weekend. We can even take periods of time and create whole programs around sets of days. So you can say whenever the weekend hits, now it's time for me to drink. It's like there's nothing unique about Friday through Sunday that means it's time to drink 45 beers. It's more like I've been doing this for a while. If I don't go my friends are going to think I'm a little bit weird. It seems to be fine. Everyone else does it. It's on TV. And it just happens, it's a program. And it's almost like when they say you want to go out this weekend? And you're like sure, 'cause that's what I do. When it's the weekend, I go out. But we never stop to consider why that happens. It goes from the macro level of how we view our days to the micro level of what side of the bed I'm sleeping on. All of these are programs that are running at all times. You can take your power back from programs and use them for good. Really the first thing that comes down to is looking at your day. Looking at how you're acting. Looking at what you're doing. Looking at how you're eating. And understanding that once you live inside of these programs, you're eventually going to become addicted to the way things have always gone, even if you don't think that's true. Even if you're inside of some programs that are negative and hurting you in some way, the more you reinforce this programming with consistent action on the program, the more addicted you become to the result of the program. And so you can even become addicted to negative emotions. You can become addicted to the way things have always gone 'cause that's the way they've always gone. And that's how you project your future. And so what ends up happening is you become addicted to emotions of the past because you're used to doing it like that. Rather than thinking about what's going to happen in the future, you project your emotions that you've already felt into the future assuming that's how you're going to feel in the future. You get addicted to those emotions, then you essentially live in your past. Every time you're creating this idea of what's going to happen in your future, you're only referencing things that have already happened before. 'Cause you're living inside this box. So you're essentially living in the past. And it's impossible for you to create a new future living in your past. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence the, is not an act, but a habit. This is a really good quote. And we've heard this one a lot. But what does it actually mean to build a new habit? Building positive programs. This is the inverse. If we've talked about what negative programs look like, how do we build a positive one? It starts with basically the cue. The cue is the thing that happens to create the response, right? So the cue might be again, you get home from work and the cue is, it's 9 p.m., and you sit on the couch. (sighing) Okay, that's the cue. Now what happens at 9 p.m.? What happens when you're on the couch? Well now that you've received that signal, it's time for a routine. So whatever the routine is, you're gonna eat this certain food. You're going to call your friends. You're going to create this activity. And usually the reward is you end up feeling a certain way. You end up feeling good or you end up feeling sleepy. You end up feeling something that pleasures you in some sort of way. We have all these cues and routines and rewards built around our negative habits and now it's our job to start creating them around positive habits. Charles Duhigg has a great book called Power of Habit which you should read if you haven't already. And he talks about this and he gives a simple example of wanting to run in the morning. Lots of people get up and they want to run. And they don't end up doing it 'cause it's hard and it sucks to wake up in the morning and run. What he says is the cue is you set your alarm and every day you put your running shoes and your outfit by the end of your bed. Right, so that when you wake up the first thing you see is your running attire, your outfit. And that's the cue, right? And you make a mental note in your head that every time you see that outfit, your routine now is to get out and get on the road, and hit the road. You feel like a complete asshole if you walk past this thing that you setup for yourself. Knowing that you're not going to do it. It actually creates a negative sensation. So since you've already made this cue, it actually becomes more painful to not do the thing than do the thing. 'Cause now you'll go through your whole day saying oh I should've done that thing. It was right there. So you have to do that thing. Over time you build this habit. So you start with the cue of that by your bed. You create this routine of going out to run and then when you're done, he has something even cool in his book where gives himself like a small piece of dark chocolate. Even though the dark chocolate isn't really related to the running itself, it creates a positive dopamine effect in his brain. Where he's like look, I woke up, I saw the thing that I wanted to see and I created this routine, and I'm rewarding myself. The reward could also be the runner's high as well. But the idea is installing these habits. So it's now thinking about what it means to create positive habits in your life rather than just be susceptible to negative habits.
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