Update on the Useless Stuff

I felt I needed to write an update on the Useless Stuff challenge because as November is ending soon, I’m struggling not to buy anything, and I failed.

The other day, I was browsing YouTube videos, and you know how it goes: you watch something, but your eyes are constantly straying to the “recommended for you” section.

So I clicked on another video about a girl who saved 100 000$ in a little over 3 years without a 6 figure salary. She explains in detail how she did it, but I couldn’t watch the full video at that moment because she mentioned a book that changed her finances.

Of course, I’m all pumped up because who wouldn’t want to save $100,000 in about 3 years? I want to know the secrets that she found in the book.

Chloe Morgane - Smart Woman Finish Rich

I headed over to Amazon, and searched for Smart Women Finish Rich. I immediately pressed the “Add to Cart” button. Had it been a Kindle book, I would’ve failed my buy-no-shit-November challenge.

I thought about all the books I already own on the subject of finance. I opened my Kindle app on my MacBook, and searched for “money”, “finance”, “frugal”,”rich”, and “wealth”. I created a collection from the results, and ended up with 34 books to add to my new “Money” collection! I’m sure there are more books that didn’t come out in the search results because the Kindle app searches only titles and authors, not categories.

Wow! I bought 34 books related to finance, and I’m still not a millionaire!!! 😛

Chloe Morgane - 34 Kindle Books About Finances

The thing is, I read only 7 out of the 34 books. One more isn’t going to make me wealthier. All I need to do is read the books I already have. Even better would be to reread the books, learn the lessons, and apply them to my finances.

That was the first time I almost failed at my challenge since I’ve made that IKEA list.

A few days ago, I convinced myself I needed a new camera and lens to shoot my videos. It shoots in 4K, is smaller and lighter than my GH3, and, well… It’s new! I had it in my Amazon cart along with one of the lenses I’ve been dreaming of. I was this close to purchasing it, but I remembered my challenge, and quickly closed the browser’s tab. I avoided a second failure.

But my impulses got the best of me yesterday.

Chloe Morgane - I Bought Word Hero

Every week, I receive an email with book deals from BuckBooks. It’s so easy and cheap to get great reads when you’re subscribed to the newsletter. I succumbed to the temptation after scrolling through the list of all the yummy books they offered me. 1.99$ later, I realized what I’d done. I didn’t even think, I mindlessly pushed the “Buy Now” button.

I didn’t make a big deal out of my failure, but I learned the lesson. If I don’t want to do something, e.g. eat that cake, buy that book, mindlessly scroll my Facebook timeline, I must eliminate my exposure to it.

**

I still have 6 days left in my challenge. I must stay vigilant. The buying impulse is sneaky, and the best way to not give in is to stay away from temptations.

Useless Stuff

To follow-up on last week’s post, We Have Enough, I thought I could put myself through a challenge.

Unlike many women, I genuinely hate shopping. It’s hard for me to understand the excitement my friends feel when they shop. I see this activity as a stress inducer, feeling no pleasure whatsoever in giving my hard-earned cash in exchange for a thing that might eventually end up unused after 3 months.

But I’m an imperfect being, and I do sometimes buy things I eventually don’t use. When I do, it makes me feel guilty, and, at some point, I want to get rid of the useless stuff I bought not so long ago.

We/I easily blame the media for this behaviour, and the marketing strategies they use to create needs. As I believe we always have a choice, I think it’s wrong to blame them for our consumerism habit.

The real reason I sometimes buy stuff I don’t need is my habit of mindless consumerism. I convince myself the thing I’m about to buy is going to make my life so much better. About 95% of the time, it ends up being the opposite. The stuff takes space in my home, in my mind, and robs me of precious time when I need to care for it.

Because I love challenges, and because I want to change this bad habit, I will experiment not buying anything for the month of November 2017. I’ll only buy food, and the essential personal hygiene products I absolutely need. I have enough clothes, kitchen utensils, and all the tools and product I need to care for my home, myself, my motorbikes, and my car.

If I like how the challenge goes, I might extend it to December. I will keep you posted in a short note on my weekly blog post.

Do you think I can make it? Have you ever tried a similar challenge in the past? And would you try it with me this month?

We Have Enough

You’re reading this, so I’m assuming you have the Internet and a device to serve you this page. I’m also assuming you have enough of the basic necessities a human being needs to live– food, water, shelter, clothing. We both have everything we need. Let’s pause, and say “Thank you”… (I just closed my eyes and whispered “thank you”)

Being More vs Wanting More

The thing is, we always want more. A better car, a bigger house, a new TV, a new computer, more clothes, more food. We know that this stuff won’t make us happier, it won’t make us more intelligent, nor will it transforms us into a better human.

I believe that being happier and healthier, being a better version of ourselves, are the things we really want. We want to be more, but we don’t have an easy way to achieve this. Let’s be real, being a better human is hard work.

And here’s another problem. We’ve learned to work for money to buy things. We feel great for a few days, or just a few hours after our purchase. So we think, maybe the key to always feel great is to buy more stuff. Isn’t that’s what our western, modern society teaches, and encourages us to do?

It’s everywhere, and everyone talks about their new car, bigger house, and the awesome food they ate at this new fancy-trendy restaurant. As if we were no more than our stuff. I hate that kind of small talk, it makes me feel empty and shallow. I don’t care about your car, your new country house… I care about what makes you vibrate, what energizes you, and the things you would die for.

Small Habits Pay the Most

To try and change my consumerism thoughts and behaviours, I’ve decided to write 3 things I’m grateful for every single morning. People are often on my list, so is my health and all the things I know how to do, like drawing, playing music, and riding my trial and off-road motorcycles. This simple, powerful habit reminds me that my life is plentiful, rich, and it gives me the courage to talk about and be the real things.

Because we have more than enough.

And we are more than enough.

All we’ll ever need is within us.

How do you remind yourself you have an amazing life? 

Use Simplicity to Take Action

When something is complicated, the mind bumps into, and focus on the complexity instead of taking action. To help you take action, breaking down what you want to do in simple, clear, small and easy tasks will often do the trick. When a task is so small that it takes only a minute to do, it’s easy to have a first win. That easy win will grow into more successes.

Whether it’s exercise, eating better, creativity, work, un-cluttering, or learning new skills, using simplicity is an easy to reproduce system for everything in your life that you feel needs a change. Starting simple, clear, small and easy will compound into big results over time, even if today, it seems ridiculous.

Can you think of big tasks you’ve put off because they seem too complicated, and break them into simple, clear, small and easy steps?

“When the book is open, it’s easy to lean inside and read a few lines.”

 

Our Default Self vs Habit Design

People rarely change their behaviour for good. Your brains tend to revert to your old ways of thinking and doing. The old pathways are still there and because they are so familiar to you, you use them when you’re not paying attention.

The habits you most recently acquired are the ones most likely to go first. The enemy of your brand new habit is your past behaviour.

There are a few things you must do if you want your new shiny habit to stick.

The behaviour you’re trying to make into a habit needs to be repeated  often, and/or must be perceives as having a high degree of utility. This means the behaviour needs to give you great pleasure, or help you avoid pain.

Indeed, a behaviour that provides minimal perceived benefit can become a habit just because you repeat it often.

Science has yet to determine the length of time it takes to form new habits. If you read it takes 21 days or 6 months to form a new habit, these are just myths that have been debunked many times already.

Habits are wonderful tools that can help you create a rich life. If you carefully plan which habits you want to establish, you’ll get more success in making your dreams come true.

Combine the formula to creating habits with frequency, perceived benefits, focus, and persistence will most definitely turn you into a master habit maker. The formula that creates habits (good or bad) is a follow:

Cue -> Behaviour -> Reward = Habit

If you think habits are boring, that you hate routines, and you think you are living your life with spontaneity now, think again. You are already living at least 40% your life through a routine. If you didn’t design the habits yourself, chances are other people — your boss, clients, marketers, spouse, children, friends, family, yogi master — have done it for you.

 

Don’t Rely Solely on Motivation

Because motivation is unreliable, you shouldn’t base your success strategies on it. Yes, it can sometimes help you get your ass off to the gym, or make you work on your side project. The problem is if you depend on motivation to get things done, or to accomplish your goals, you might end up achieving nothing because you have no control over when it’s going to hit you.

Motivation is simply a desire to do something. Often, when motivation strikes, you hit Google for instant gratification and an overload of information instead of working on a simple task that would bring you closer to success. Indeed, doing only 10 push ups is 100% better than watching 10 videos about the best workout in the world.

What about getting motivation from a reward, an external source? Looks like this is a poor route to take because as soon as the reward is removed from the equation, performance decreases.

A reward can also shift your focus from the task to the motivator (reward) when you need to use more brain power. Therefor, it reduces your accomplishments. However, it can work great for very simple or repetitive tasks where you don’t need to think.

If an external source of motivation won’t get you to do what you want to do, it’s time to take a look inside yourself, tap into this abundant resource some call drive, passion, self-discipline, or self-motivation. You can build strong self-discipline by starting small. You’ll still get a reward, but the reward will be your accomplishment. Progress, and the simple act of completing something are going to be your awesome rewards.

Are you a motivation addict? I know I used to be until I understood the simple distinction between external motivation and self-motivation. I can now rely on motivation to start something (see the big picture), and use self-motivation to accomplish my goal.

Thanks for reading, and take care!

If This, Then That

Back in 2003, I changed my life over, and learn PHP. I used this skill to build websites, and earn a living until something bad happened; I didn’t get paid for a big project I already had spend countless hours on. I decided it was enough. I used the skill to build my own websites, and be free of people who don’t pay.

I tell you this because many programming languages use the If/Then statement. It got me thinking that this way of conducting ourselves is being applied to real life situations. Except that we’re not aware this conditional statement is driving us.

What if we became conscious, and use the If/Then statement to create new habits?

Habits are created through a formula that goes like this: you get a signal, or cue, that triggers the desired behaviour. This desired behaviour is then rewarded.

Habit = Signal > Behaviour > Reward

The signal is the If in the If/Then statement, and the behaviour and the reward are the Then. Because the signal, the If, is what makes us do the desired behaviour, the Then, it makes sense to focus on creating strong Ifs.

There’s also the possibility to use the behaviour, or the reward, as an If. This is even better because it creates an infinite Loop of desired, rewarded behaviour that signal the next desired behaviour.

It might look like using this technique would make us behave like programs. Whether you like it or not, you’re already acting as a program. During any given day, we are 80% habit driven*, but most of those habits would need a major upgrade. Besides, I’d rather be the one taking decisions concerning the important things in my life.

Do you have a chain, or a Loop of habits that would need an upgrade?

* I don’t remember the source of this statistic, but when I do, I’ll add it as a reference that I’m not throwing numbers out in thin air for the fun of it.