Made with DevXBlog, a free dev blog creator.

Push yourself further with no zero days

Posted Feb. 18, 2022 by in  Thoughts

Everybody is on constant look for methods to boost their productivity, to achieve more, be it for the money,for the status, to prove somebody wrong or simply for the fun of it. Some know it as the hustler mindset, somerefer to it as being an high-achiever, in some circles it goes by the name of entrepreneurship.

The truth is that we are all looking for it, and everybody knows it. We are all looking for that toolto help us become more productive and be able to reach our goals and dreams, or simply to help usstop procrastinating.

The big number of productivity apps, motivational speakers and blogs are the proof of that, that there is a demand,that people are still searching for it. After all, why wouldn't they?

I was one of them too. I was trying all kinds of methods to boost my productivity. I was always envying thepeople who were more successful than I was. I was constantly wishing for more. I started practicingvarious productivity techniques such as the Pomodoro technique, daily to do lists, waking up earlier to squeezein a few more hours of work on my personal hustles before going to work, etc.

I was reading about them, and I was convinced (or being convinced) that they work. After all, the peoplepromoting them and talking about them were more successful than I was. So they must have been doint somethingextra that made all the difference. Maybe this was it.

About the survivorship bias

Biases are all around us, and we fall to them all the time. A bias is a faulty way of thinking about something,an inclination to believe erroneously a statement or event, even though the numbers behind it contradict it.After all, we are human and we are fallible, we go with our intuition most of the time, and the truth is thatfrom time to time, it is wrong.

The survivorship bias is basically when we read in media and see all over the internet only the success storiesof some individuals, and we start to believe that their characteristics are the reason for their success. Butwe fail to take into consideration that many more people with the same characteristics and who do the same actionsare not successful, and because of that they are not covered by magazines or other publications.

After all, mass media sells glamour and gossip, and talking about the failures and learnings of other people is notgoing to attract clicks. It's not sexy enough.

So we start to believe that all successful founders start their companies in their garage, put their own andtheir families livelihoods on the line for the big gamble of success, live for months or years sleeping on the floor andeating ramen. But we don't realize that a lot of other people took the same actions and failed.

And more than often, there are untold sides of the success stories as well, but they are not sexy details that sell.Nobody is going to share a story about somebody kick-starting their company with a few million bucks from their family.

Non-Zero Days

Over time, I have found that the only way to push yourself further you have to:

  • stop comparing yourself with others
  • be consistent

The 2nd item is by far the most important. A popular phrase that says "motivation only gets you started, disciplinekeeps you going" is a perfect way of putting that into words. Or my other favorite: "If you can't fly, run. If you can'trun, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving forward"

So, in order to improve, the only person you have to compete against is yourself, or better said, the "yesterday you".

And to do that, you need to build a mental framework that will keep you going.

I have found the Non-Zero Days movement that really helped me shape my mindset on growth. More than often, it's notabout explosive growth, but about linear and constant growth.

Non-Zero Days got started from a simple Reddit comment, in response to somebody who was looking for a doseof motivation from strangers: https://www.reddit.com/r/getdisciplined/comments/1q96b5/i_just_dont_care_about_myself/cdah4af/?context=3

It is a very interesting read, but I'll summarize it for you:

It boils down to making small steps every day, to be consistent. You have some goals, and you want to achieve themeventually. There's no gain in setting a hard deadline for them, because it will just make you put in all the efforttowards the end, and if you don't hit it, you'll get disappointed and stop trying.

The approach instead, is to do at least one thing that takes you closer to your goal every day. To have non-zerodays. Each day do something, no matter how small, that moves you one step closer to what you are trying to achieve.

Let's say your target is to have a healthier lifestyle. Even on days you are stumped and don't have timeto hit the gym, you can do simpler things that will count for your bigger goal. For example, you can do a few pushupsor squats at home. Or eat some fruits or vegetables. It does count towards having a healthier life.

The goal is to be consistent with your actions, not to do big sudden changes.