#Weekly experiments / Wise

How keeping track of good things made me do more good things

Seth Godin recommends in Tools of Titans to keep track of good things – because what we track changes our perception.

And this was what I was doing. Every day throughout the whole week I wrote down all the moments when I’ve done something better than usual, helped someone or was helped, stayed calm in a tough situation, pushed my boundaries and went out of comfort zone.

Interestingly, this not only had positive impact on how I felt about the day and about myself. It also gave me additional motivation to do those good things even when I felt lazy or uncomfortable.

This created a positive loop : good things -> good narrative -> more good things -> even better narrative -> repeat.

I disagree with Seth about keeping track of the negative things. He recommends not doing it, but from evolutionary point of view, whoever didn’t do a good job at that, didn’t get to pass on his/her genes.

So I still kept track of the negative things as well. For example I remember very well that I screwed up the 2 meetings that week when I had a chance to get a job in an awesome company.

And that is fine. Fuckups – big and small – are important part of learning.

My attempt to find the positive side of it made me more open to appreciate the experience. Instead of dismissing it and trying to quickly forget about it, I dutifully wrote down notes and tried to learn from it.

This “keeping track of good things” ties really well with suggestion of Scott Adams to look at the world through the lens of systems, instead of goals.

Every situation, every event has some positive and some negative aspects. We should design our lives in a way that no matter what is the direct outcome, we will still gain something – whether it’s learning new skill, getting experience, meeting new people, or just trying new things.

Week 13 experiment turned out to be another good advice. I’m writing this a few weeks after the official part of the experiment, but I still do a “good things” inventory check almost every day. And “finally publishing this article” will definitely be one of them.

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