What is Your Pattern
Waking up you pick up your phone from the bedside table. You browse through your social media feed. Your emails. Your company chat rooms. Then you slowly come out of your bed and move. This is your morning every day.
In interacting with people, in critical discussions, you tend to be more interested in sharing your opinions and ideas than listening to others. Even when you listen to others, you don’t do so with the intention of understanding, instead, you do so with the intention of replying. As a result, you are never fully engaged in conversion and you are never listening fully.
When you are dealing with difficult challenges you often give in to distractions. You are working on a complex project but you don’t enjoy it. While working on it, every few minutes you check your social media feed, check your email, etc.
You avoid difficult conversations. A client is not happy with work. You avoid the client. Your relationship is suffering from misunderstanding, you don’t want to face them. Sales calls frighten you. Fear of failure and rejection stop you from pursuing new ambitions and goals. You put off things for tomorrow. You commit to exercise, you do it for a week. And then the next week fails to maintain for a day, which leads to not going to the gym for the next few months. You start a habit and give up in the middle. You are afraid of showing your work because you don’t know how people will judge your work.
You are already overburdened with work. And then your partner or colleague requests you to take on some extra work, you say yes, although you wanted to say no. And you know you would hate yourself later for saying yes.
We all have playbooks and patterns that we maintain. We necessarily don’t always notice these patterns. Because most patterns run on autopilot and we don’t pay much attention to them. Running on patterns is comfortable. There might be even deeper conditions behind the development of some of these patterns. For example, we avoid difficult conversations or difficult tasks because it encourages a feeling of helplessness in us and we feel that things are getting out of control. We find some control in indulging in distractions.
For us to become truly productive and in control of our days and life, understanding and breaking our pattern is a necessary work. Being able to say no when you truly want and need to say no is necessary for your growth and sanity. Being able to control your morning instead of going on to an autopilot of social media browsing is important for your productivity and mental clarity.
Now how do you break out of your patterns?
- Notice your pattern: pay attention to your patterns. This is an act of meditation. You need to be in a meditate state to be able to notice your patterns.
- Journaling, time tracking are some of the techniques that can help you identify your dominant patterns.
- Bring intentionality into your day: Be intentional about how you spend your time and day. When making your choices and decisions, be intentional, and do things that you truly want to do. Don’t say yes to anything mindlessly. When you want to do something or do something, take a 5 seconds pause and think about it.
- Practice self-awareness: Pay attention to your responses and behaviors throughout the day. When you stay aware, you develop a deeper understanding of why you do certain things and avoid others and eventually can develop effective strategies to break out of your patterns.
Patterns are comfortable to live with. But comfort does not always bring long-term happiness and meaning. In fact, the opposite is true. Living with unhealthy patterns often makes our life difficult over time and we become dissatisfied with life.
In order to live a meaningful life, achieve your goals, and excel in what you do, you have to, as Derek Sivers puts it, “the hours don’t suddenly appear. You have to steal them from comfort”. Your patterns are eating into your day and productivity and motivation. You must find ways to break out of your patterns. The first step to breaking out of your patterns begins with noticing them.
Ruhul Kader is a technology business and technology policy analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at [email protected]