Weird Micro Habits? Sign of a Macro Problem?
This morning, while working on my ‘Morning Pages’, I noticed something a little strange.
You see, for my morning pages — I have a simple rule:
Write for 15 minutes, or two pages of A5 — whichever comes first.
This is to help me build (and keep) the habit. I find the process therapeutic. No matter how ‘small’ this goal might seem to die-hards writing 2,000 words every morning. ‘The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs’ (read on my recent ThinkWeek) was a good kick up the ass to bring it back into the routine.
I noticed that my timer was moving and I’m sat there with my brain stuck. Pen not moving. As I began to write more — quickly due to the timer — I made a mistake. I crossed it out.
Then, I stopped. I rolled my eyes. I tutted.
I had just done a ‘bad’.
I felt this strange wave of anxiety washing over me. In a flash of presence and clarity, I realised I have two (potentially/probably) weird habits while handwriting:
- I never cross something out, I always write over it.
- I write in ALL CAPS. ALL the time.
I’d gone against the first habit, now my weird brain was — for some reason — making me feel crappy about it.
I started to reflect on this.
‘Write over it’
I feel weird writing this, because it sounds crazy.
When I make a mistake, I often write over it — then say something in my head like ‘fucking paper!’. Even though I know it’s my fault.
Let me say that again — EVEN. THOUGH. I. KNOW. IT’S. MY. FAULT.
A quick “Five Why’s” led to — you guessed it — my ego:
- Why do you write over it? I don’t want people to think I’ve made a mistake.
- Why don’t you want people to think you’ve made a mistake? I can’t make mistakes, this has to be right.
- Why does this have to be ‘right’? It doesn’t, this is my journal!
This little habit is part of a larger problem with my ‘programming’ that I am trying to fix:
Mistakes are more than OK, they are part of the process — they are necessary.
Cross errors out, screw up sentences, paragraphs, the entire thing, it’s OK.
‘I MUST WRITE IN ALL CAPS’
At some point during my school life (can’t recall when) — I remember getting ‘feedback’ on how terrible my handwriting is. Fast-forward and now I find myself handwriting in ALL CAPS nearly all the time.
The thing is, it hurts my hands — especially if handwriting a lot (such as journalling). I’m tense, and work through the dull ache in my hands because it ‘has to look good’.
Look good for who?
These pages — especially these pages — are for me. If I want to write in crayon, with backwards ‘Я’ in my name — I will!
‘Mess’ is part of the process, you don’t have to fix or justify it
This moment and thought-path was a nice little reminder to me to drop some mental baggage.
It’s more than OK to blunder, bumble and fall — it’s expected. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
You are the Captain of your good ship ‘Destiny’, and YOU need to focus on the bigger goal of getting the crew home. Even if it means you arrive on the beaches bloodied and broken clinging to driftwood.
Focus on the goal. Trust the process. Make that process easier.
Don’t worry about people seeing your mistakes, or if they can’t read words by you, for you.
Do you have any ‘weird’ micro habits like this?
Now go be awesome.