Discover 4 Hightest-compounding and Universal Life Habits
Build the bridge between where you are now and where Warren Buffet is.
A question about high compounding life habits got the great traction on Quora. This is indeed a question everybody should ask at a young age and then pursue the answer with all their might.
I see two common threads in existing answers:
The highest compounding habits involve thinking.
The various habits mentioned in the whole thread are often just tools to harness the thinking power in a specific way.
Journaling works very well for me, as well as reading and creative writing. For others, networking is what gets their creative juices flowing. Others prefer meditation and prayer. Yet others learn by listening to podcasts. But they all involve thinking at high levels.
The highest compounding habits are important, but not urgent.
Thus, they are hard to develop and rare.
If you have bills or debts to pay, it’s not likely you will get busy with reading for three hours a day.
If your relationship is in shambles, it’s not likely you will meditate for 30 minutes a day.
If your health deteriorates, your mind will not be occupied with writing in journal. You have urgent matters to attend to!
And your life goes by.
Keeping that in mind, I’ll tackle this article from the “efficiency” angle.
First of all, if you don’t have a habit, you won’t compound it.
This is an obvious, but overlooked issue. You need to develop those habits and stick with them for a long period of time, years and decades, to reap the fruits. But our attention span got worse than goldfish’s attention span! Most of us cannot stick with something for 10 seconds!
I mean, try to be a Warren Buffet and think and read for 80% of your waking time. Or at least 80% of your work time. Good luck with that!
You need to scale up to his level, and you need to have something to scale up in the first place.
That’s why I’ll give you four habits that will help you build the bridge between where you are now and where Warren Buffet is.
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal.
“Gratitude rewires human brain into positivity.
When the brain is positive, every possible outcome we know how to test for raises dramatically.” — Shawn Achor
Everything means everything. Have you ever played role-playing games? Gratitude is like a magic item that immediately enhances all your characteristics by 15%. The difference is, it’s not a game, it’s your life!
With the attitude of gratitude, everything in your life gets increased by about 15% (this is what Achor meant by ‘dramatically’ as he explained in this podcast episode) almost instantly. Well, it took more or less 30 days according to scientific studies on gratitude. Thirty days compared to your lifespan is indeed a moment.
Rewire your brain into positivity and everything — your strength, resilience, emotional intelligence, cognitive skills, and health — will get better. Not only personal metrics, but everything scientists could measure was better: sales, grades at school, happiness, savings, chances for promotion and so on.
By the way, they didn’t find a single exception. Whatever they could measure, got better. Always. Gratitude is indeed like a magic item.
Every morning write three new things you are grateful for by hand.
Here is a 2,300-word article elaborating over this formula:
As you can see, it’s amazingly easy to develop this habit. It takes very little time. You don’t need any resources or special skills. Everybody can do it. Very few do.
The exact way to implement this habit is secondary. The big-picture issue is getting into this habit at all. We desperately need some silence in the modern world. Thus, meditate, pray or journal; do whatever it takes to slow down your mind and shut up your mouth.
Would you believe scientist discovered that silence can actually create new cells in your brain? Can you imagine a higher compounding habit than the one that grows your brain?!
Separate from external impulses. Be alone with your thoughts. Or touch the divine for a moment with your prayer.
Every above mentioned practice provides multiple benefits that can serve you for your whole life. I consider the multiple health benefits (lower blood pressure, lower levels of stress and so on) just a nice secondary effect.
The silence habit provides foremost self-awareness that is essential for your wellbeing. If you don’t possess this quality you are not able to control your life. Whatever happens, triggers some automatic reaction within you and you react without much (or no) thinking.
“In the space between stimulus (what happens) and how we respond, lies our freedom to choose. Ultimately, this power to choose is what defines us as human beings.” ― Stephen R. Covey
When you develop self-awareness, you can step between the stimulus and your reaction. You can take over the steering wheel of your life.
I read about everything ever published on habits and there are just two keystone habits documented by science: one is healthy eating and another is exercising.
I consider ‘healthy eating’ quite confusing in today’s world. There are so many contradictory opinions on what’s healthy and what’s not.
Opinions about exercise vary as well, but in the end it comes down to moving your butt. A 5-minute walk is an exercise as well and it certainly beats sitting on the couch for five minutes.
But what is a keystone habit?
“Keystone habits are habits that have a multiplier or a domino effect in your life.” — Brian Tracy
How do they provide this domino effect? They spawn other good habits seemingly without effort.
Why does this make the difference? Because habits determine who you are. Your personality, personal philosophy and character are the function of your habits, and they decide in the long run how your life will work out.
“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” — Benjamin Franklin
Usually, developing a new habit is a hurdle with a doubtful outcome. You need to pay attention to your new behavior, cultivate it, track it, you fail, and you get frustrated… A keystone habit eliminates 90% of this cycle
You simply feel like trying something new and you do it without much conscious effort.
So, exercise regularly (daily, if you ask me) and you will create more good habits for a fraction of their ‘nominal cost.’ Habits that would take other months of hard work to develop will appear in your life out of the blue.
4. Morning Ritual.
Developing and cultivating good habits takes a lot of time and attention. Even if you attract them by instilling a keystone habit, you need to dedicate your time and energy to creating the exercise habit first.
Have you ever wondered why so many successful people have their morning rituals? There is no better time of day to start any (or all) of the habits I recommend than in the morning right after you wake up.
Why? Because then you base your new habit on the most reliable trigger in your life — waking up in the morning.
You immediately take away at least half of the struggle that usually comes with establishing a new habit. You have an ironclad time in your schedule. You never forget about your habit. The trigger is highly repeatable, so consistency is less of a problem and your new habit solidifies faster.
As I said in the beginning, you first need something to scale up. Have a look at Hal Elrod’s formula for a killer morning ritual that can be done in six minutes.
Hal called his formula SAVERS. It already includes exercise, gratitude journaling (scribbling in the formula) and silence.
You don’t need dozens habits. You need only four habits for the beginning. I studied (and practiced) habits a lot. Trust me, the four above are most efficient when you start and they compound amazingly.