The Most Powerful Concept I learn from Self-Development

By W.carter [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Personally, I think the self-development field is a mist. There are ideas that worth trying and have a scientific background and there are “Gurus” who have this wonderful tip that will solve every single problem of your life.

Instead of taking a large part of the article trying to explain how this concept will radically change your life in the beginning, I just want to share you a story. A true story about my cousin. If you find this story interesting and inspiring, then consider the Red Pill.

The Story

Recently, My cousin talked to me about his latest IELTS score, he got 5.5. Unfortunately, he needs at least 6 to be able to make it into his dream university.

We had a conversation like this:

Me: You have prepared for a very long time, why it turned out to be like this?

Him: I just didn’t work hard enough. And there is some situation going on when I take the test.

Then some excuses for all sorts of conditions……

Me: OK. I get it. but how do you prepare for it? I remember you have taken some courses before the exam?

Him: Yeah, but I just can not control myself. After the course is over, I haven’t done much work and just thought that with my current ability, I can simply make it. Ah, I need to control myself more.

To be honest, I really hate myself. I want to prove myself… Next time, I will definitely force myself to study and get this done……

Me: I understand that you really want to prove yourself. But if you take the test again, you know this time it will be a completely different situation. Although you may gain some experience and feel more comfortable about the procedure, you are doing it the second time and your clear fresh memory will start to be intertwined. You may falsely think you have already digested some of the concepts or pieces of knowledge, so you skip them and as a result, you may not get a result as high as the first time.

Him: I know, that’s why I will work much harder……. (some plans about him working so hard that he doesn’t have time to sleep much😴)

Me: 🧐En, let me put it this way. How likely do you think you can achieve what you plan here?

Him: Not much…… But one should be confident and have faith. If I don’t think this is possible, how will I improve myself and become a better person?🤓

Me: It is possible, I admit. en…… What about we do a little game here. You see, you are the person who understand yourself most in the world. What about you doing a little prediction of a typical day.

Him: Well, I wake up…… And then I plan to do……

Me: Forget about what you plan to do, what will most likely to happen.

(He is likely to study in the morning and then rest in the afternoon. After a few hard-working days, He will be lazy and rest for the entire day completely)

Me: OK, so based on those behaviours, you will highly likely to end up at the same score or even lower.

Him: How do you know? Besides, prediction is not accurate, Everything is possible. 😎😎

Me: If no radical change or disaster happens, that will be the most realistic description, that’s your pattern.

Him: Yeah……

But this is so desperate. I don’t want this to happen……I tried so hard and I didn’t get the result I want……(and he starts to cry)

Me: Right, if you have done nothing these days, that will be the case. But right now you have suffered from the test result and that pain makes you the smartest person in this period of time . So you can make a change, but it is in the recent 5 or maybe even 2 days. After these days, you will be a dull machine which will only follow your old patterns.

What you need is a time bomb💣 to activate at a certain time and to modify your behaviors. When it explodes, it will remind you something and hopefully, change your old pattern.

Him: My friend suggest me to take a look at my test score result when I feel low.

Me: OK, can you predict what will happen when you take a peak?

Him: Nothing.😢

Me: That is not useful, right? So if you want to change your behaviour from now on, think about placing a time bomb in these days while you are smart. Every option should be carefully considered.

Him: I can’t think of any.

Me: Be patient. If you can think of one choice in such a short period of time, you would have solved this problem already. I suggest you take a piece of paper and write down the options. Don’t reject an option too soon, just mindstorm and think about what you can do. Then, use your prediction to see if you take that option, what will happen.

Him: (thinking for a long time)

I know what to do. If I can not control myself well. I will take class till the day before my next exam. I need the environment to help me learn and teachers there will help me finish my homework.

Me: So how confidence are you about the test score?

Him: If I take the class, I think I will make 6 this time.

Me: Great, That’s a good option. You see, here you have confidence, right? Confidence doesn’t come from your ego on what I should have done, but derive from you careful plan about your future. You know when the old pattern happens, you have planned ahead to deal with it. And that’s confidence.

Him: But what troubles me is that taking courses doesn’t improve myself. I know I can do it in this way but I don’t gain any control on myself.

Me: If you have done this planning once and succeed it. You will gain a lot of experience in your planning and predicting ability. The next time you face such problem, you are more confident to solve it.

Him: Alright. But to be frank, I really want to try to deal with the problem alone this time. I want to prove that I can make it on my own.

Me: Well, you can but if I were you, I will take the course cause the result is quite vital to me. I want to smash it with 200% confidence. But no matter what you do, use your prediction to see whether it works or not. And don’t hope you will solve it few days later, by then you will be dull again. So think of a solution in these days or take the course.

Him: OK. Let me think about it in details.

Does this story inspires you a little? If so, maybe try the red pill in the following.

The Red Pill

From the above story, it is clear that the concept I talk repeatedly is Prediction.

Prediction is a natural born ability and yet few of us have ever used it to its full potential.

What comes with prediction is reality. Well, not the “reality” itself but the reality about yourself. What will you do, how will you react and what are your behaviours.

This is plain simple truth and a way to see yourself crystal clear. You will see our strengths and your weakness will also be witnessed in an amplified manner. Because you never see those things in this way, exposing your weaknesses in the spotlight is so strange.

It is painful indeed but it lets you realize a lot of things that you presumed you had already mastered. Those drawbacks really hurts.

But if you just stay there and think you are doomed to failure, that is useless. You are here to seek an answer and prediction is just your tool.

There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain. The sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things. — House of Cards

Knowing what you will likely to do actually gives you space to plan ahead and comparing all the options that you can think of to shift your situation.

And when you actually sit down and do this.

Take your time.

Right now, You are at the best stage of your life. You are now the cleverest person in a period of time. If you can not think of the best solution, choose the better one.

Because after this wonderful introspection moment, you can not make a better decision. You will be the dull robot again

Don’t hesitate, make the decision. The more you procrastinate, the worse situation it gets.

Besides, I want to mention a typical pattern here.

We love going round in circles. When we think of a solution to a problem we have fought for a long time. It is almost our natural instinct to say:

It won’t work. Let’s just find another way.

For some cases, it won’t work indeed. For others, it is because we have rejected this solution for a long time, Denying it has become a habit.

So the way to justify this is still prediction. Let’s predict if we adopt this method, what will happen. If the prediction turns out to be good, then there is a better chance that this method will work.

It is a painful journey but also a rewarding one. When I started to predict my future, I have done it poorly. So poor that I messed up a lot. Now as I pay attention to my behaviours and patterns over and over again. I have learnt and improved so much more.

I don’t use fancy techniques like visualization, I just predict what I would do and seeking ways to improve it. I also realized that(there is no scientific proof yet) if you want to adjust your behaviour, don’t force yourself to change it directly. There is always a “foreplay” linked with that behaviour. The key to planning is to change your “foreplay” and the main course behaviour can be tackled easily.

How is this red pill? Hope it lets you see more.