Have you ever said you were going to do something and then not done it?
I know the answer is yes.
It is yes for everyone, including you.
Integrity is the top quality of every leader the world has ever had. To do what we say we are going to do is the most valuable quality anyone can develop. I say develop because out in the real world, the typical benchmark of integrity sits at less than 50%.
If I was to do more than half of the stuff that I said I would have done in the past, I would be in the top 1% of the rich list and would be running large parts of the world.
I did a weekend workshop called Waking Up Weekend around 10 years ago. The key learning of that workshop is to do what I say I am going to do – that’s it. I spent $750 to hear this message over and over in different formats throughout the weekend and eventually I had an experiential learning of this philosophy, and that changed the trajectory of my life forever.
I was 28 years old and had nothing to my name.
Be it pride, assets, love or health, I had nothing. Within 6 months of that powerful weekend I had more of the above than I could possibly have dreamed of and my life was on a great track for the first time ever.
Now, as I sit beach side in the heart of a Brazilian party island, tanned, fit, healthy, wealthy and wise, I reflect on what it was at the core of that renaissance ten years ago – and the thing that changed my life? It was simple – I started making my bed, every day.
Now you may wonder what the hell making my bed had to do with it?
But I must emphasize that there is another essential component to that task… I said I started making my bed EVERY DAY.
I had made an agreement with a ‘buddy’ I was assigned on the weekend. I had no real loyalty to this guy (I forget his name, and I will be grateful to him for the rest of my life) but by making the agreement in an environment based on integrity, for the first time I was being held accountable to my word. I said I’d make my bed every day, no matter what, and I was now aware of the implications of sticking to what I said.
I did it. I did it every day and it changed who I saw myself to be. For the first time in my life I was honouring my own word and it changed the way I saw myself more than any other task I had done before and have done since. I did what I said what I was going to do – no matter what.
Some mornings I was running late for work. And I made my bed.
Some mornings I was terribly hangover. And I made my bed.
Some mornings I felt like telling the world to go fuck itself. And I made my bed.
And even a few of the mornings I was not alone. And I made my fucking bed with the girl in it anyway!
Within 6 months I had stopped drinking. I had stopped smoking. I had started exercising. I had been on time to work every day for weeks on end. I had told my mother and father I loved them for the first time in my life. I had asked out the hottest girl I knew – and she said yes. And I had even bought my first house.
If you feel stagnant and want to turbo charge your life, make a daily agreement with someone who gives a shit – and stick to it for three months, no matter what, no matter what, no matter what.
Make your bed every day. If you already do that (good on you, your nanna would be proud) then choose something else that you know you should be doing but don’t. Make it easy. No, make it super easy as this way you are more likely to do it.
It must be something you can do every day. Your bad self will come up with a million reasons why you don’t have to do it far more often that you can predict.
It must be super easy and it must be something that you really can do every day regardless of where you are. If you travel or stay away from your home, can you still do it? If the weather is the worst you have ever seen, can you still do it? If your partner messes you around and gets in your way, can you still do it? If your house burns down and your arms fall off, can you still do it? (that one is a bit extreme I know but trust me, your lazy ass self will come up with a million reasons why you don’t have to do it far more than once in the three months.)
If for some reason you don’t do ‘it’ one day, you must tell your buddy and they must issue you what we call an atonement. An atonement is something that you have to do to ‘clean up the space’ as we call it. It is not a punishment, it is so that you can come clean and tell the truth and then do something that makes you feel even with yourself. If you don’t tell your buddy that you didn’t do it, you may as well call it quits. I tried many ways of not sticking to these rules and let me save you years of stupid experiments – if you don’t do it, tell your buddy asap. If you don’t tell your buddy and do the atonement, the following will happen:
Here are a few examples of an atonement:
An atonement should be difficult. It is both to clean up the space and to discourage you from not doing the agreement in the first place.
Conundrum: What if I don’t do my agreement and then don’t do the atonement? Answer? Basically if this happens you are fucked so just don’t do it. Trust me, I’ve tried and it is almost impossible to come back from that as the lies start to disgust you and you end up throwing it all away.
When you succeed at this process your life will be richer in every way. This is one of those things that to most, doesn’t make sense until it’s done. But just trust me on this, keeping your word for three months will probably be the most rewarding thing you ever do. It was for me and hundreds of people I personally know.
If you decide to do this, please feel free to run your agreement by me before you begin. I have done this with hundreds of people in the past 10 years and more often than not, people think they are Rocky Stallone and make an agreement of 20 minutes exercise, 30 minutes of writing, 20 minutes of play with my children etc etc. These are wonderful intentions and eventually you may get to a level where you can make and stick to an agreement of this magnitude, but please hear me my friends, you are not ready for this level until you have been ‘making your bed’ for well over a couple of years.
Design it so you win. The plan is to keep your word. To develop integrity. To do what you say you are going to do. The big stuff will follow in the years to come. That’s the way it works. x
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