The Daily Stoic for January the 16th. Never do anything out of habit.
“So in the majority of other things, we address circumstances not in accordance with the right assumptions, but mostly by following wretched habit. Since all that I’ve said is the case, the person in training must seek to rise above, so as to stop seeking out pleasure and steering away from pain; to stop clinging to living and abhorring death; and in the case of property and money, to stop valuing receiving over giving.”
—MUSONIUS RUFUS, LECTURES, 6.25.5–11
I have worked for the military, and for big corporations, on the fields of software development, cryptography and computer security. On both environments, there was little to no room for innovation, or making things differently.
“Let’s do this the way we’ve always have”.
Needless to say, I didn’t really enjoy working at those places. Actually, this monolithic way of thinking and lack of dynamism eventually made me quit the corporate world, and would be the first step in my path to becoming an entrepreneur and digital nomad.
Of Habits And Customs
“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” — Steve Jobs
Human beings are predictable animals. We tend to repeat what works as an evolutionary survival mechanism.
Nevertheless, that also makes us vulnerable to falling into routine and developing habits that are hard to overcome.
With the exception of the harmful ones -alcohol, smoking, drugs…-, there’s nothing bad per se about habits. However, when we do the same things day after day, just because you have the habit of doing it that way, you are closing yourself a lot of doors.
Doing things differently, changing your routine from time to time, and looking at things from different perspectives helps you develop as a person.
You really notice this when you become a digital nomad. Traveling the world forces you to know different cultures, and exposes you to new points of view. You visit new places, try new foods, and meet different people.
The same happens at a an entrepreneurial level.
Never Do Anything Out Of Habit
In Spain, there’s this rule that you should always arrive to the office before the boss has arrived, and leave after he has left. In most big companies I’ve been, it doesn’t matter if you are productive, they just want you to be at your desk. The bigger the company, the worse this situation gets.
If you have employees, don’t make that mistake. Give them freedom and actively encourage them to find new ways of doing their tasks, and innovate. Expect them to deliver, not to waste their lives in front of you. You’ll find out that not only is not the end of your company, but can be actually beneficial for it.
Similarly, if you are an employee, don’t let yourself be restricted or limited by the dogma of your company or colleagues. Innovate, do things differently, raise some eyebrows.
However, this is a blog about entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and digital nomads, right?. For us, change, and getting out of the routine is always beneficial. Traveling to new countries and merging with the local entrepreneurship ecosystem can really bring you new ideas or help your business grow.
In my case, the Baltic countries are really blooming with the blockchain scene.
There’s a lot of interest in Blockchain, many aspiring startups, and a very promising momentum full of emerging ideas. Being here it’s being a catalyst to a lot of new possibilities for me.
A Little Experiment
I want to propose you a little experiment. Choose a day of the week, like Monday -Monday works great for me because I’m just starting the week- and do something different.
Something you have never done before.
It can be as easy as not eating at the same restaurant in your lunch break or something as complex as offering a free consulting lecture to a customer that successfully refers you to three new clients.
Repeat that every week.
I can assure you that it will cause you no harm. On the contrary, you may learn new things, know interesting people and have some fun.
The Daily Stoic for today: “Never Do Anything Out Of Habit” discusses habits. Concretely, how we should avoid doing things blindly because of them. I think it’s a good advice. We should be more conscious of the things we do every day. Why do we do them? Do they still make sense?
I think re-evaluating our daily routine from time to time is a good exercise we all should do. What about you? What are your habits?