Here’s a simple question: are you someone who gets stuff done or are you admittedly a procrastinator?
We all like to think that we are do-ers and get stuff done. Deep down inside, do you really believe this? Do you really see yourself as someone who starts and finishes things?
The Inner Game of Productivity
We’ve talked a bunch of times on the blog about the inner game of productivity – the way you think, what you believe and the way you see the world has a direct effect on how productive you are.
Inner game is a term borrowed from the book The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey. In the book the author explains what separates the best tennis players from the rest. The main idea in the book is that the psychology of tennis players is the deciding factor. The technique of the tennis player ranked at #2 is not much different than the player who is ranked at #11. What Gallwey found was their way of thinking was the key differentiator.
While knowing this, Gallwey worked with tennis players on their inner game and saw a significant improvement in their game over time. For example, by just changing the way the tennis players thought about themselves and the way they responded mentally to failure during games had a major impact on improving their game.
This idea is applicable as well in the world of getting things done at work and in your personal life. One of the core ideas of inner game is the idea of your self-image – the way you see yourself. This mental picture of yourself directly affects your productivity.
I’ve written about this before in our monthly newsletter. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do that by clicking here. Below is a edited reprint of that newsletter.
The #1 Limiting Factor Inside Your Head
One of the things you need to realize is that the beliefs and mindsets that are floating in your head have a major impact on your life. While Aaron and I have covered many important mindsets already, there is one overarching idea that your beliefs and mindsets support: your self-image. In other words, the picture you have of yourself and its scope.
If you see yourself as someone who isn’t organized… well guess what? You can’t become a person who is organized. The way you see yourself is crucial and it will determine everything in that specific area.
Here is why: you cannot outperform your self-image. That statement is worth repeating: you cannot outperform your self-image. It’s the number one limiting factor for most people.
In other words, if you see yourself as someone who isn’t organized, everything you do will be within that scope and you will not ever be organized.
Need to clean your desk? “Well, I know I’m not organized so I’ll skip it.” Need to be somewhere at 2pm? “I know my time management is horrible so I’ll try to be there before 2.30pm.” And this can go on and on. It’s like a vicious circle. It can go on for years unless you consciously decide to make the change or someone else steps in.
Tips for Improving Your Self-Image
The interesting thing about a self-image is that you have many of them. They don’t necessarily overlap. While one of my self-images is someone who is organized, my self-image in the area of car repairs is a disaster. Fortunately, if you can recognize a bad self-image, you can change it.
Make it a priority to keep expanding your self-image in different areas. While I cover it in the context of becoming more organized, you can apply this to any other area of your life. If you want to read and study more about this topic, I can highly recommend the book Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Reframe any negative thoughts into positive ones.
- Setup your mastermind with productive people.
- Avoid joking about your negative traits.
- Read, read and read books (check out our list of books).
Reading expands your horizon. It allows you to see the world through a different set of eyes which helps changing your self-image.
Just remember that this is a continuous process. It takes time and patience. This is not something you can fix overnight but if you work on this every day you can become Asian Efficient (or the equivalent in any area you want to improve on).
I don’t want to go too woo-woo because I don’t like that myself. I like to stick to scientific facts as much as possible, but I will stick my neck out for this concept of the self-images. I have reinvented myself numerous times because I realized in certain areas that I needed to work on my self-image. I wish you will do the same.
Before we part ways, I want to ask you one final thing. When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Someone who gets things done? Or someone who cannot get anything done at all?
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