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How to Level Up

Here are three questions that I’ve recently started using to help focus my weeks. I’ve been doing some version of these questions for years, and it has always ended with promotions, better relationships, money and most frequently, fulfillment.

Here they are:

1) What are you grateful for this week?

2) What have you failed at this week?

3) What scary or uncomfortable thing have you done this week?

I usually start my Tech Sabbath by writing my answers to these three.

A few comments on the questions:

For number 1, gratitude is most powerful when you have a down week. Building the resilience to find something to be grateful for, especially when life sucks, can be the difference between being stuck in a rut and getting out of one.

For question 2, there’s a scene in Fight Club where the Space Monkey’s are required to lose a street fight with a stranger. Simple enough: annoy someone until they snap and let them pummel on you. But as the Fight Clubbers soon learned, most people will do anything to avoid conflict, even if pushed to their brink. The same thing happens with rejection – people will go to extreme lengths to not say no to someone.

Which makes the second question so valuable: failure is a lot harder to achieve than one would think. Pursuit of failure often ends in a streak of success. And when the occasional failure is finally encountered, there’s a ton of learning to be had.

The 3rd question borrows from a biological process called hormesis. When the body is exposed to small stress, like bacteria or cold, it can make the system more resilient and healthy. Same applies for anything else in life, applying some hormetic stress creates a stronger person. Seeking to do hard things builds life muscles.

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