In this series, I’ve tried to break down Benjamin Hardy’s ‘Will Power Doesn’t Work’. The book puts forth the edict that in order to achieve our goals, you have to take will power out of the equation and instead, replace it with the environment that enables success. The previous post was based on Benjamin’s ideas regarding designing a new personality by changing our behaviour. This post is the last instalment of the series.
As someone who designs environments for getting the best out of people, I completely agree with Benjamin’s key hypothesis – that if we don’t create and control our environments, they create and control us.
The idea here is to not force and bend our minds into action. It’s to create positive compulsions where we are spurred into action. In his book, Benjamin Hardy calls these ‘Forcing Functions’. Below are Benjamin’s 5 strategies which we can apply in life to carve out our ecosystem to fuel our goals:-
1. Invest handsomely in your goal: Investing in a goal is not just a function of the time, energy and mind-space we allot to it. Allocating a physical, real world price to achieving our goals –whether it’s an expensive gym membership or our mentors – keeps our eyes on the prize. You are thus outsourcing your obligations to help you work towards success.
2. Make your goals public: As much as we’d like to believe our good behaviour comes from within, it is a known fact that most of our leanings towards doing what’s right comes from social pressure. When we commit to a goal publicly, we are more likely to act towards it when under observation.
3. Challenge yourself: Once you’ve established your comfort level by settling into a new habit, raise the stakes by increasing the difficulty level. This is how small changes culminate into a sea change of behaviours that lead to success.
4. Make novelty a part of life: We adapt ourselves to the environments we expose ourselves to pretty quickly. This is why changing our situations is important to keep our minds agile and open to progress. It’s how we make our environment fertile for innovation and new ideas that are essential to success.
5. Set high compensation for poor performance: Most books define this step as ‘setting targets’, but Benjamin puts a twist on this by adding ‘punishments’ into the equation. Once we see that slipping from a positive habit has real world consequences, we automatically tune ourselves towards winning behaviour.
Over the last few years, I subconsciously adopted these strategies as part of my growth. But I am thankful to Benjamin Hardy for spelling these out as tenets to live by and evolve into. I hope these gems from Benjamin Hardy’s book change your life the way they’ve changed mine.