Posted on November 8, 2022
We're all creatures of habit. That poses a serious threat to your quantum leap.
Like everyone else, you mostly follow your normal routines. You have your habitual ways of working, thinking, spending money, taking and avoiding risks, interacting with people, and using your time. Those ingrained behavior patterns come natural to you now. They also keep you on the well-beaten path of your status quo.
And that's the problem.
Your customary ways of doing things feel comfortable and may be working reasonably well. But if you stick with what's familiar, you're going to get stuck with familiar outcomes. The jump from you to you² is an abnormal achievement. Your normal behavior has little chance of producing such a breakthrough.
Our lives are shaped by cause and effect. A quantum leap requires new causes, different moves that can produce far better outcomes. You need to un-normalize your approach and change the game. The shifts in your approach don't have to be harder, just more powerful.
But let me warn you up front: Going beyond the boundaries of your routine behaviors—trying differently—may be tougher than you expect.
The High-Powered Benefits Of Hope
Beware of the impulse to pursue a quantum leap by merely "trying harder." That's a natural tendency, mainly because it lets you keep living inside your habits. Maybe you've been relying heavily on your premier abilities and believe that remains your best shot at achieving you². If that's your plan, you'll probably need to deploy those talents differently. Not more diligently. Find a new way to use them that can produce massively better results.
Instead of trying harder at how you've been doing things, why not rely more on some of your secondary skills and try a new angle? You don't need to be an ace in your new approach. You just need an approach that provides a promising route to you²
It's hard to let go of your prevailing ideas, but step back from the situation and ask these questions: "What am I overlooking? Where could I be wrong in my assumptions and beliefs? What am I failing to consider?" Play devil's advocate with yourself. Challenge your current thought process, disagree with your prevailing arguments, and come up with your own "second opinion" regarding how best to pursue your goal. Also solicit other people's perspective to help you discover what you don't know. We all have blind spots. Others can help you see possibilities that lie beyond the boundaries of your own thinking.
Become an adventurer—take a road less traveled. Experiment with novel approaches, take different risks, be willing to make new mistakes. The uncertainty and ambiguity can make you uncomfortable, but it beats being stuck in a rut of old habits. To use the words of E. L. Doctorow,
"It's like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
You won’t have a comprehensive and detailed roadmap to follow. You may be short on key resources. You'll need to work your way around or through a variety of problems. But like the improvising hero in the old TV series, you can "MacGuyver" your way forward in pursuit of your quantum leap goal. Make use of whatever materials, options, tools, and methods you have at hand. Be resourceful and inventive. Ingenuity can lead you to breakthrough.
Impose artificial constraints on your situation and see how that would shape the pursuit of your goal. For example, imagine that you must achieve your goal twice as fast. If you have only half as much time, you'll be forced to use a very different approach. Here's another example: Instead of you playing the key role in pursuing your goal, let's say you have to rely on somebody else to be the main agent. How does that reshape your thinking? Who might actually be better positioned than you to play the lead role in delivering your breakthrough? Constraints and limitations force you to challenge your assumptions, reframe the situation, and come up with original ideas.
Follow the advice of Tim Ferriss and ask yourself, "What would this look like if it was easy?" Search for the simplest, most elegant solution, an approach that could eliminate complexity, effort, and risk.
When you begin to try differently, don't be surprised if your habits ambush you. They don't give up easily and they fight dirty! Habits will try to con you into believing your goal isn't worth the effort. Or they'll try to persuade you that it's beyond your reach.
Habits naturally revolt against behavior change. They want you to abandon your big ambition and retreat to your default behavior of "business as usual." Of course, that sort of relapse can be appealing because it would put you back into your comfort zone. But are you willing to surrender your best odds for making a quantum leap?
You can keep your habits, or you can make the leap from you to you².
ABOUT DR. PRICE PRITCHETT
Price Pritchett is one of the foremost experts on fast-growth strategies and breakthrough performance. His firm—PRITCHETT, LP—is recognized worldwide for its thought leadership on mergers, corporate culture, change management, and accelerated achievement. These writings define the behaviors and individual mindset underlying fast growth and innovation.READ MORE