I was 8 years old when my parents who were in their 40’s at the time decided to build a second floor so that we can have a bigger space for ourselves. I was so young to participate in the making of it but I could see the amount of work they have done in 6 months to build our beautiful studio. It is interesting that I have as many memories of the process as the day I entered my new room. I admire the level of commitment they had to finish this project.
We all hear different stories of self-control and of self-discipline on our daily lives. Doing the impossibles in any field can help us gain the required energy and confidence to step in the world of unknowns. Commitment and hard work show to be the important parameters to move us forward with our short term and long term goals. But I am beginning to believe that the process of defining the goals and reaching them is as important as the goals themselves.
I have just finished the book Presence by Amy Cuddy and I strongly recommend it to anyone in search of his/her boldest self on a daily basis and the challenging moments. The book has different sections but the part that I found most interesting was the idea of self-nudge. As the author describes: “In each challenging situation, we nudge ourselves:we encourage ourselves to feel a little more courageous, to act a bit more boldly-to step outside the walls of our own fear, anxiety and powerlessness. To be a bit more present. When we see ourselves doing something with courage or competence once, we can recall that experience the next time we face a similar challenge, making it easier to perform well a second time, a third time, and so on. Our feelings of agency and self efficacy strengthen, our sense of deservingness increases, and our ability to be in the moment rather than worried about it improves.”
How many of us promised ourselves to commit to an activity at the beginning of each year? An activity too big to address or a behaviour change too drastic to follow and not only we didn’t manage to perform the change and gain the required confidence and the energy but we rather fell short on actualizing it and the clear result: Despair!
As Amy explains :”Focusing on process encourages us to keep working, to keep going, and to see challenges as opportunities for growth, not as threats of failure. New Years resolutions are result -oriented and too often they loom over us as threats not encouragements. Nudges, on the other hand are effective because they focus on the how not the what.”
Now I understand better that only commitment to a change will not necessary lead to a change. For any project we have to break down the process into small pieces and plans and enjoy completing every step like a little goal. I think of it now like building a house. When we want to build a big house we can’t think of the completed and furnished one from the day one; We rather focus on the foundation, then the walls and the floors and so on. The goal has to be tangible and the following step has to be crystal clear.
As Amy explains: “Self-nudges are minimal modifications to one’s own body language and/or mind set that are intended to produce small psychological and behavioural improvements in the moments. They are Tiny Tweaks with the potential to, over time, lead to big changes. When you give yourself a self-nudge, the gap between the reality and goal is narrow; it is not daunting which means you’re less likely to give up. As a result, your behaviour change is more authentic, lasting, and self reinforcing.”
I guess at the end of the day we don’t want to complete any project or face any challenge or change without being truly ourselves, our authentic selves.