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Homework. X.

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Everyone is flawed. No single person has every answer.

Success, as a process, comes from learning as much as you can. As you figure out what your weak points are and correct them, you will become better. Your patterns will get more efficient. You’ll get more done in less time. Finally, your patterns will change.

Over the past few months I have had certain goals– different ones than I usually have for a totally different kind of project. All of these goals are things I have never really done before, and I wasn’t sure how to achieve them.

It was during a meeting a while back that it clicked. I was too stuck in my own patterns and making decisions based on my own worldview. As Bruce Lee would have said, my prison was my own ideas. I needed a change.

Here is how I did it.

Homework.

Today’s homework is to make decisions, for at least one day, as if you were a totally different person.

Find someone you admire. You may not like everything about them, but in at least one capacity, find someone you feel does things right.

Take the quality you like about them and, in that quality, act exactly like they do.

Here are two examples of ways I have done this recently– but you can use this for anything.

One guy I know is amazing at connecting people, and I needed to meet more people, more often. So I set myself two goals– one, to meet two people every day, and two, to connect others as often as possible.

One of the advantages of this being a person you know is that you can literally text them– as I did, often, and ask– “hey, how would you behave in this situation?”

Turns out, this works. They answer the text, and they dictate the behaviour. You change your pattern as a result.

A second quality I wanted to emulate was to be more aware of my spending, and I had recently been reading a book about John D. Rockefeller Sr, Titan. (Ryan Holiday also recommends this one.) One of his primary attributes was to carry around a book in which he recorded all of his spending– even though he was wealthier than almost anyone around him. So I started doing this with the Traveling Salesman Field Notes edition. It works.

Do this today.

Choose someone. Act like them. It really is that easy.

* Filed by Julien at 11:46 am under homework


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

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13 Responses to “Homework. X.”

  1. Olivier Goetgeluck Says:

    Thank you Julien,

    This idea of acting like someone else actually works.

    It’s funny you mention him but I’ve actually used Ryan as that person for a while now – particularly for starting off on my own terms after graduating.

    That’s probably one of the reasons why reading a lot of books is that valuable:

    Why make all the mistakes yourself if you can pick out any historic figure you like and increase your learning rate by ‘acting’ like them?

    Olivier

  2. Alison Clement Says:

    Years ago, as a Catholic child in Catholic school, we learned about the lives of the saints. They were our heroes and our way of measuring ourselves. I don’t think it’s particularly healthy for children to want to be like the martyrs, but I think the general idea is important. When I taught primary school children, their heroes were people like Brittney Spears. I’m afraid you can learn a lot about a culture by its heroes. Not the ones it pretends to love but the ones it rewards, celebrates and teaches its children to imitate. That said, I appreciate your post. I think it’s important that we have models and heroes, people we want to be like, people we admire. And, as you say, let some of them be people we know, normal people in our own lives. Thank you.

  3. Gloria Lucia Says:

    Great Julien.
    One of my “Chosen ones” is my husband .
    The other one, (I don’t want to sound selfish ) , it’s
    me……..there is something I always like in me and because of my laziness , fear, shiness , I ‘ve never developed .
    I am going to work on it. Thank you for opening windows in our life’s

  4. April Samp Says:

    I get this and I don’t get it. I understand how you’re to emulate someone and slowly build up the skills and understanding to adapt it the way you need to adapt it. But what I don’t get is how I do this and still get my job done, the laundry done, the house cleaned, the kid to school, etc. Am I to emulate these people while doing the mundane, as well?

    • Sarah Says:

      I know this problem very well (just replace kids with going to university) and it’s difficult to get the art (nope, I’m not an art student) and the laundry done at the same time. But everyone has laundry and dirty dishes and the majority of artists I admire has a crappy day job as well. I think this could be the quality which is really worth emulating, finding time for learning and progress (in whatever field you choose) DESPITE the rocks life throws in your way. But I have yet to figure out how to do this.

  5. TomD Says:

    This is a cool idea because it gives us lots of mini-mentors. Will try.

  6. Mitch Jackson Says:

    Julien- Your post hit home with me. I don’t know if you have children but one of the cool things (and also one of the biggest challenges) if life is to teach your own kids these kind of life lessons. Having said that, sometimes, we need to be reminded ourselves as to effective ways to deal with “issues” or “challenges”. Handling a situation like Mr. X or Ms. Y is an outstanding approach for so many physical and emotional reasons. Thanks for reminding me/us of this. P.S.- Spreecasting Tuesday with Seth Godin. I’m sure that my experience with you and Chris helped open the door. Again, thanks so much and let’s do it again sometime! (also giving away copies of the Impact Equation to several close friends as holiday presents :-)

    Mitch

  7. Claire Says:

    Hi Julien, I’d pick my other half two, since he’s Captain Super Confident when it comes to meeting new people and networking. Stuff I’m not! Also I’d recommend YNAB..(you need a budget) for tracking where your money has gone. It’s not free but the phone App means you can keep on top of your money paper free. Takes a little bit of time to figure it out, but its a system worth the money (about $60). I’m using it to avoid overspending and repaying the visa card.. so far so good:)

  8. Miri Says:

    Great post! I started doing this homework the minute I read your post. Those two examples are great to understand how simple and effective it is as long as you know rxactly who are the persons that you admire… Klick… and it is yours..
    Thank you Julien :) I love your posts.

  9. Positive Business DC Says:

    What a great idea – a different slant I hadn’t considered. I am going to try this. :-)

  10. Becky! Says:

    Love this. I think it will require decision making for the week though. One day is enough to make me want more. Thanks to my alter-ego-Andy yesterday, I reached out a wee bit more on the internet and didn’t fear rejection. Also, though didn’t actually quit my job, I’m going to next week and I finally chilled out for a second.

  11. cindy Says:

    hi, thank you so much for your great ideas and inspirations. since i started reading your articles i must acknowledge that a new turn has taken toll in my life. i am thinking of expanding my business, i run a cyber cafe but i havent experienced any progress for five years since i started this business. i need your help, need your advise. thanks in advance

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