A TED Talk A Day, Day 29: This talk by Mel Robbins touches on topics that are important to all of us: how to get what we want, and to really get that sh*t done.

  1. The first question to ask is: “What do you want?” Ask this in the “selfish” sense; this is not meant to sound good to others, it is about you, or me.
  2. Getting what you want is simple. But it doesn’t mean it is easy. The information about how to get what we want is already out there — on the Internet, in bookstores.
  3. One of the problems is the F-word: “fine”. We tell other people we are fine when we are not, and the bigger problem is that we say it to ourselves and try to convince ourselves that we are fine not having what we really want.
  4. Saying we are fine is also way of telling ourselves we don’t have to do anything about the things we really want. That is why we don’t push ourselves to get there.
  5. We are fortunate: the odds of each of us being born in the situations we were born in are 1:400,000,000,000 (400 trillion). Yet what is the first decision we usually make every day? We hit the snooze button. And we “snooze” not just our mornings, but other things that we do.
  6. The fact is this: we are never going to feel like it. It is what scientists call activation energy — the effort it takes to switch from auto-pilot to doing something new.
  7. It is our job to make ourselves do what we don’t want to do so we can be everything we are supposed to be. The problem is we keep waiting for ourselves to feel like it, but we’re never going to feel like it.
  8. We have to force ourselves to break our routine. Robbins sees our brains as having two modes: auto-pilot and emergency brake. Most of the time we operate on auto-pilot; but when we are asked to do something we don’t want, our “emergency brake” is activated. Try this: set your alarm of 30 minutes earlier, and when it goes off, jump out of bed immediately. This puts us face-to-face with the physical force that is required to change our behaviour. This force is the same one that is required for us to do the things necessary so we can get what we want.
  9. It’s our routine, our auto-pilot, that’s killing us, because we are doing the same thing most of the time.
  10. When we feel stuck or dissatisfied, it is a signal about our life, the same way we feel hungry when we need food, and thirsty when we need water. But it doesn’t mean our life is broken. It is a signal that our need for exploration is not being met.
  11. We all have a need for exploration and growth, and the only way to get that is to be uncomfortable. To do that we have to get out of our own heads, past our feelings, outside your comfort zone. The first moments of getting outside our comfort zone is difficult, but after that it is fine.
  12. The 5-Second Rule: If we don’t take action on an impulse we have within 5 seconds, our  brains pull the emergency break on us. “Your problem isn’t ideas, the problem is you don’t act on them.”

Suggested action step: I will do the things that lead me to where I want to be, especially if they are uncomfortable. I will act quicker on my impulses (something I have already tried to practice).