Book Reviews

Superhuman By Habit by Tynan -Book Notes, Summary, and Review

25. Superhuman By Habit - Tynan

Get it on Amazon

Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 5th – 6th of July, 2017

Description: This is a tactic-oriented book about habits. With a mere 80 pages, the author shows us a step-by- process on how he lost most of his bad habits and how he grew some great habits. 

 

My notes:

 

Introduction

 

“Rather than making me feel like a robot running through routines, building habits has made so much of my life automatic that it feels like I have complete autonomy because I don’t have to worry about the basics. They get done in the background.” ( :3)

 

BUILDING HABITS

 

“This is the engine that drives the people we most admire: those people who consistently seem to excel at their work, stay healthy, stay connected to those around them, and do all of this while remaining calm and happy.” ( :4)

“a bank account as a metaphor. Those who build habits are like people who live below their means, slowly building up an impressive balance in their bank account. When expenses come up or their situation changes, they’re able to cope with it effortlessly by accessing the past deposits (and interest) in their account.” ( :4)

“By creating habits, we can move things from the “hard” category to the “easy” category, thus freeing up willpower to tackle more of the hard things. We don’t give ourselves the ability to accomplish more by sacrificing health and sanity, which causes burnout, but rather by making some of those hard things easy.” ( :5)

“Good habits aren’t more difficult to execute than bad habits, they’re just harder to build” ( :5)

“Well, for six months of focused effort I now get fifty years or so of loving to work and the enjoyment of the dividends it pays.” ( :6)

“New habits are things that you do, but old habits are things that you are. There’s a difference between waking up early and being an early riser, eating a healthy meal and being a healthy eater, getting some work done and being a productive person.” ( :6)

“Each new habit strains our willpower, which means that there are a limited number of new habits that we can have at any given time. Old habits, being automatic and subconscious, can be unlimited. So, the ultimate process for self-improvement is to add as many new positive habits as possible, working diligently to convert them to old habits and make room for more new habits.” ( :6)

“5% interest per year on your financial investments for the rest of your life than 50% interest for one year, it’s better to maintain a modest life-long habit than to start an extreme habit that can’t be sustained for a single year.” ( :7)

“Missing two days of a habit is habit suicide. If missing one day reduces your chances of long-term success by a small amount like five percent, missing two days reduces it by forty percent or so. Three days missed and you may as well be starting over. At that point you have lost your momentum and have made it far too easy for you to skip in the future.” ( :8)

“This is the difference between giving up on a habit and losing its benefits, and simply putting it on pause because there are other factors that have a higher value at that time.” ( :9)

“So what do you do when you’ve promised yourself that you’ll write five hundred words every single day, but you’re sick, tired, busy, and can’t think of a single thing to write about? Just do a terrible job. Write about how bad you feel or about how you don’t want to write. If you can’t muster the willpower to do either of those things, just write five hundred random words.” ( :9)

“Remember Mister Miyagi from Karate Kid? He was a tough sensei, working Daniel-san to the bone, and exerting strict discipline on him. He wasn’t cruel or petty, though. He loved Daniel-san, truly wanted the best for him, and had faith in him. That’s how you want to treat yourself, too.” ( :11)

“Punishment, as described previously, should be productive rather than punitive. But how do we reward ourselves?” ( :12)

“Take Pride in Process, Not in Results” ( :12)

“You have full control over your actions, even if those actions don’t guarantee any given result once they’re subjected to the outside forces of the world.” ( :12)

 

CHOOSING HABITS

 

“This may all sound difficult and unpleasant, and it is those things, but it is also the first step towards building the most effective habits. It’s easy to create habits to improve marginally at things you’re already good at, but it’s much more difficult to cut to the heart of the issue and begin a new habit that addresses a fundamental core weakness.” ( :13)

“The difficulty of the habit in question is far less important than how much it means to you.” ( :14)

“To say that something is your fault, or that it is someone else’s fault is an oversimplification. Circumstances are usually more nuanced and tangled than that. Perhaps you were robbed, and you blame that event for your poverty. Being robbed was certainly a factor, but cannot be the only factor. Did you do anything that made it possible to be robbed? Why didn’t you recover faster? Assuming that everything is your fault is a shortcut for finding those areas where you have control, and opening the door to exerting that control for positive change.” ( :15)

“In every single case I’ve been awed by one thinghow normal they were.” ( :16)

“I came to understand that people we think of as exceptional aren’t that way because of who they are, but because of what they do. In every single case they had a set of habits that led them to the top of their fields. In most cases their natural proclivities created those habits for them, but I’ve also seen plenty of examples of people systematically rewiring their habits to orient themselves for success.” ( :16)

“You can do just about anything if you break it down into habits and execute on them. That’s not to say that it’s easy, only that it’s possible. The key is to be honest about what’s stopping you from success, take responsibility for it, and create new habits to correct.” ( :16)

“As an extreme example, when I wanted to date more, with the first step being going out and talking to more girls, I made a list of six things I was allowed to do (work, eat, sleep, read after midnight, play violin, talk to girls), intentionally making it so that talking to girls was the most fun thing I was allowed to do. Through subtracting I got myself to add.” ( :16)

“If you are not going to follow through with a habit, it is better to never start it at all.” ( :17)

“to be there for your family, that motivation will sustain you through the hard times of the habit. On the other hand, if you want to eat healthy foods because your friend called you fat, that probably won’t sustain you.” ( :18)

“1. What good things will happen if I implement this habit? 2. What bad things will happen if I implement this habit? 3. What good things will happen if I don’t implement this habit? 4. What bad things will happen if I don’t implement this habit?” ( :18)

“You’ll get the greatest compliance by maximizing frequency and minimizing intensity.” ( :19)

“Then you increase to five minutes, then ten, then fifteen. Once you get there, you’ll be so used to meditating that cutting the frequency to every other day while doubling the duration to half an hour will be manageable.” ( :19)

“Start small, become consistent, and increase at a manageable pace. That’s how you optimize for the finish line, rather than the starting line.” ( :19)

“I’ve written every day for the past six months or so, so if I didn’t write today, something would feel wrong, just as if I forgot to brush my teeth.” ( :20)

“If you need five hours to clean but only have two, you have to skip. If you need thirty minutes but don’t feel like spending that time, you can convince yourself to suck it up and be a champion.” ( :20)

“Put in the effort up front and then make it easy.” ( :21)

“The purpose of the loading habit is to completely remove all associations with your old habit. You start small, build up to your loading habit, keep at it until you believe that your new behavior is fixed in place, and then switch to maintenance.” ( :22)

“So although the effort to build the first simple habit may not be worth it in isolation, it is worth it when you add in the benefit of the next habit being slightly easier to build, and the next one afterwards even easier than that.” ( :22)

“digging down to their true motivation for wanting to implement a habit, others may have trouble choosing the best habits for them at any given time, and others may have trouble sticking with the habit.” ( :22)

“One particularly valuable habit in this regard is reading every single day. You will consume so many books that you’re bound to run into some that contradict your beliefs and occasionally run into one that changes your perception in an instant and births a new lifelong habit.” ( :27)

“The three main disruptive habits are the use of drugs, the seeking of stimulation, and the habit of hanging out with negative friends.” ( :28)

“Those who have a problem with seeking stimulation are never content focusing on one thing. Instead” ( :28)

“they jump from one to the next, trying to get a quick hit of dopamine. To build good habits, you must be able to focus on the process of what you’re doing, both for personal satisfaction, and as a mechanism for improving your habits. An addiction to stimulation makes that impossible, and traps you in a cycle of web browsing, channel surfing, or simply focus-shifting.” ( :29)

“A big part of our environment, one that isn’t always looked at critically, is our peer group. Having friends who support you as you rebuild your habits is a major advantage. Having friends who are also motivated and building habits to help them reach their goals is doubly good.” ( :30)

“Whenever I adopt a new habit, I have the urge to share it with everyone I know and try to get them to switch to it. I used to act on this urge, but I’ve grown to believe that it was a mistake.” ( :30)

“Real change is the product of motivation, either prompted by a problem in life or through analysis of one’s goals. When you adopt a new habit and try to convince others to do the same, they’re skipping the stage of discovering or building that motivation. Without it, they’ll give up when the going gets tough, feel bad about it, possibly resent you for succeeding at it, and be ever so slightly less inclined to create other new habits. By trying to help them, you may be doing them a disservice.” ( :30)

 

PRACTICAL ANALYSIS OF VARIOUS HABITS

 

“Live Long Enough to Live Forever by Ray Kurzweil.” ( :35)

“Replacing French fries with plain kale will be tough, but replacing them with baked sweet potatoes is pretty easy.” ( :36)

“It’s easy to have willpower when a beautiful spread of healthy food is laid out in front of you, but it’s a lot harder when every option readily available to you is full of sugar or white flour, and you’d have to go to great lengths to get something decent.” ( :37)

“Light, particularly the blue light from screens, tells the pineal gland in our brains that it’s still daytime. If you have trouble falling asleep, as I used to, it may be because you’re exposing yourself to screens up until the time you try to go to sleep.” ( :38)

“The most tangible benefit I noticed from meditation was that it created a space in between feeling an impulse and acting on it. This sounds vague, but once you experience it, you will know exactly what I mean. Before, I could be working, and without a single conscious thought, I’d be browsing Facebook, thinking about how I should get back to work.” ( :40)

“Dick Talens is. He’s the co-founder of Fitocracy and has successfully trained the full spectrum of clients, ranging from Miss America, to– well– me. In the past I had tried a variety of methods to try to gain lean mass, and had little or no success. He claimed that he could give me a program that would minimize time in the gym and maximize my gains. In two months I gained fifteen pounds of lean mass.” ( :43)

“Work out three days a week, doing three exercises each day. Monday is deadlifts, pullups, and rows. Wednesday is bench press, incline bench press, and curls. Friday is squat or leg press, straight-leg deadlift, and cable crunches. Deadlifts of both varieties are two sets of 4-6 reps, pullups are three sets of 4-6, everything else is three sets of 8-12.” ( :43)

“vacation and traveling. One is an escape from reality, and the other is a means to connect more deeply with it.” ( :45)

“Once per week, two weeks, or month, make the time to go see masterpieces. A masterpiece is anything made by someone who is an expert in their craft. Obvious choices are art museums,” ( :47)

“symphony performances, and operas, but I’d extend the category to include stuff like factory tours of impressive companies.” ( :48)

“This habit is also a classic example of focusing on the process rather than the outcome. Let’s say that you see an attractive girl and you want to go talk to her. You may be scared, and would normally be inclined to chicken out, but you have set this habit and now you have to go do it. If you walk up to the girl, say hello, and she immediately tells you to leave her alone and walks away, you’ve completely succeeded. The success is in the process of expanding your comfort zone.” ( :49)

“If you don’t like cleaning, as I didn’t, you’ll be very surprised at just how quickly you can clean your house to this standard. Once you mentally accept how quick it is, it will be very easy to stick to the habit.” ( :50)

“It’s also important to understand that the true value of stuff is a combination of its utility to you and the present day amount that you can sell it for. The original price you paid, or the utility that you would get out of it in ideal (and unrealistic) conditions, is wholly irrelevant.” ( :53)

“The biggest change I noticed when I started being exactly on time to everything was that many people in my life started taking timeliness seriously. It’s easier to do that when you know that the other person is going to be on time. You might think that by always being the person who is on time you end up waiting around for people. This is true in the short term, but in the longer term everyone around you tends to be more on time, so there’s less time wasted on both sides sitting around and waiting.” ( :56)

“If you do this regularly, you can become one of those people who seems magically good at keeping in touch with everyone they meet. It also builds discipline to not ask for people’s contact information if you won’t actually contact them, because you get used to making that “delete or contact” decision.” ( :57)

“Twice, then Quit is very simple. When you want to quit working for the first time, don’t. Push through and work some more. The second time you want to quit, also don’t quit. Push through again. The third time you want to quit, go ahead and quit.” ( :60)

“When you push through twice but still want to quit, you can be confident that you gave it a solid effort and that you need a little bit of time off before tackling the problem again. That lack of ambiguity erases unnecessary guilt.” ( :60)

“That would be a mistake. The trigger for twice, then quit, should be feeling exhausted, being unable to focus on the work at hand, or feeling like you’re not able to muster the effort towards creating high quality work.” ( :60)

“tasks first thing in the morning. This habit works on the principle of “what gets measured gets managed.”” ( :61)

“tracking the time I started key bits of work every day, I could effortlessly cut out the procrastination that usually preceded them, I began to look for other habits that would work because of the “what gets measured gets managed” principle. One of the most effective was also the most simple: rating each day made my days better.” ( :63)

“Every night, before you go to bed, rate your day on a scale from one to ten. I recommend that you rate yourself on how little time you wasted, rather than on raw productivity or output.” ( :63)


Check out more book notes at How I Read 90 Books In The Past 2 Years By Reading 20 Pages A Day

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