Lesson 27

Lesson 27: BHFM and The Stoic Advisor

Weekly Habits for Success - Daily Task to The Habits for Success

“Don’t go expecting Plato’s Republic; be satisfied with even the smallest progress.” —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 9.29

The Greek philosopher Zeno once said, “Well-being is realized in small steps, but it is no small thing.”

As you continue down this path of self-improvement, remember that you are a work in progress. Just as you’ve been taught at BHFM training, you may not notice any changes in your life day to day, week to week, and maybe not even month to month. But make no mistake about it, you are making progress, slowly but surely every single day… progress that is imperceptible. But just like flowing water takes millions upon millions of years to carve the Grand Canyon, carving out your new life and building the exact business that you want will take time.

Just like most Stoic philosophers weren’t born great men, your path to your personal greatness will take time, study, and work with your mentors. Great men are busy men. You are a busy person. But you are not as busy as you think. You, like so many people, have extraneous things in your life that waste your time. Or you waste your own time doing things like worrying about situations that are out of your control. So how do you find the time?

There is a simple solution. It comes from Marcus Aurelius, who said the answer was key for improvement and for happiness. And again, the fact that it came from such a busy man with so many obligations and responsibilities should not be forgotten. “If you seek tranquility,” he said, “do less.” Not nothing, he clarifies, less. “Which brings a double satisfaction,” he writes “to do less, better.”

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, my parents told me that if I wanted to be successful, I had to work twice as hard as the next guy. It doesn’t take long to figure out that’s not possible. So we focus on starting small and building from there. As we build, we find that we eliminate the extraneous things from our life and get more done by doing less.

How do we get more done by doing less? We become, over time, experts at focusing on what is most important and doing only those things.

That’s why we started you out by taking 10-minute walks. Start small and build up from there. That’s why we’ve encouraged you to develop the habit of “thinking” or having interesting conversations while you walk. We want you to clear out your mind and get your mental faculties in order.

When Seneca felt that his friend Lucilius had excelled in his practices of intellectual betterment, he encouraged him to start cultivating “the other kind of health… if you wish to be well physically.” But Seneca warned Lucilius against spending inordinately long periods of time working out: “It is indeed foolish, my dear Lucilius… to work hard over developing the muscles and broadening the shoulders and strengthening the lungs,” Seneca explained. Rather, “There are short and simple exercises which tire the body rapidly, and so save our time; and time is something of which we ought to keep a strict account.” In other words, find exercises that you can do quickly and simply, and they will be more likely to find purchase.

That’s why we had you make a list of simple exercises that you can do throughout the day to keep yourself active. That’s why we’re going to ask you to increase your daily “simple workout” by a little bit each week. For example, if you are doing 5 pushups per hour, see if you can bump that up to 7 or 10 pushups (whatever you can do).

If you’re walking for 10 minutes each evening, see if you can increase that to 12 or 15 minutes (or whatever you can do). Don’t make it so hard that you quit. Just do a little more.

NEW TASK: Figure out how many reps/sets/minutes you are doing with each new activity and then increase those numbers by 5% - 10% per week.

NEW HABIT: Get in the habit of tracking your progress on your Excel spreadsheet and watch your improvement over time. Make a habit of recording all you do and your progress, just like you are journaling every day about your other goals.