WN#19: Create Your Habits First and Then Your Habits Will Change Your Life

This week includes topics as creating habits, leadership lessons, Parler, remote onboarding, companies with positive impact, the competence trap, and more. I hope you like it. 🙏

Hello! Welcome another week to a new issue from my newsletter, this week number nineteenth. I am still thinking about what I can prepare for next week, but I have no idea. Do you have maybe any suggestions?

Sorry if you were expecting this issue to arrive on Sunday morning. I apologize for any inconvenience. Sometimes things don’t work as expected, and I was unable to have it prepared on time. You will probably be receiving it and reading it on Monday.

By the way, if you find that Monday is a better day than Sunday, please let me know.

Today my selection of topics includes creating habits, leadership lessons, apps with “free speech”, remote onboarding process, gen z’s higher purposes and positive impact desire, a podcast, and more.

I hope that my problems this week don’t affect the curation and final content. My goal is that you find here something interesting or something new.

As I always end this introduction, please, do not hesitate to add your comments or share your feedback. One of my goals is to learn from you. And if you like it, please share it. The more we are, the more we will share and have fun.

See you next week. Stay safe!


⚙️ Creating and Changing Habits

Why should you think about creating new habits? Maybe your life is perfect as it is. But sure, you could find little things, patterns that you would like to change, or perhaps you always wanted to start any new ones, any new activities, but you always procrastinate.

Don’t worry; we were programmed to procrastinate, but the good news is that habits can be changed. You can be the victim of your habits or the architect of them. Things you do once in a while don’t change your life; are the things that you do consistently.

I decided to write about habits based on a quick interview from Susan David with James Clear, bestselling author of Atomic Habits. In the interview, James shares some tips for creating and changing habits thinking in the current situation.

It is interesting how this pandemic and working from home can impact our behavior. We had our own identity, and we are used to concretely doing things, but then everything is changed. These changes, the loss of our identity, usually cause demotivation and a sense of imposter.

Establish Identity-Based Habits

James reveals that people say that habits are methods for achieving results, which is entirely true, but there’s also a psychological role. He identifies it as “identity-based habits“. Every action you take is like a vote from the type of personality that you want to become.

These situations require mental adaptability and flexibility. Easy to say. But the truth is that you can look for ways in this new context to show up still. Maybe the business is different, but you can still think of new ways to exploit your traits, new ways to think creatively, be a leader, be a good manager, and be a builder who makes things.

Also interesting is that maybe you don’t have to change completely, to give up, but just to adapt your behavior and direct your attention towards aspects of that. You cannot meet people face to face, but you could surround yourself with people online.

About changing habits, there were great insights in the following Jim Kwik’s podcast, with special guests BJ Fogg, Tara Mackey, and again, James Clear. It is interesting how they point to the trigger of the habit, or how to avoid it, in the way to change a habit. For example, using your smartphone as an alarm clock will lead you to check emails and social media, so put it away in another room and use a different alarm clock.

Another interesting point is that technology could be an ally to change a habit. For example, you could be using a timer to put your wifi router on/off. The challenge here is avoiding addictions, especially with social media. In this case, your brain continues a habit despite it no longer serving you as a solution, and you need to change it with time and persistence.

Reward Good Behavior

Another lesson from James Clear is that bad habits usually have immediate outcomes, but good habits have ultimate results (you see results in long term). When you're fighting to change a bad habit, this is important to keep in mind.

The speed in which you feel good or bad about your behavior teaches your brain whether it should be avoided or repeated.

Behaviors that get immediately rewarded get repeated. Behaviors that get immediately punished get avoided.

Only one positive outcome from a good habit probably wouldn't make the difference, but you could imagine the change in your behavior when you know that you are driving ten good habits. As Jim Kwik usually says, "Little by little, little becomes a lot."

Follow the Two-Minute Rule

James shares a critical rule in the interview, and in his book, it is the two-minute rule. I have talked about this several times; starting with little actions or breaking it into small chunks is one of the basic rules for creating a habit. As James explains, a habit must be established before it can be improved. It has to be a standard in your life before you think about scaling it up.

For example, if your goal is to read 30 books a year, you should start to create the habit of reading one page per day. Once you have the habit, you can decide to raise the number of pages.

Breaking tasks into little chunks is what the Zeigarnik effect is about; the name is from the psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik. It turns out that we do remember unfinished or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. When our mind opens a job, it needs to finish it. The doctor found it studying how the waiters of a cafeteria managed the orders.

Also, when you’re fighting against procrastination, one trick is to keep motivation high. And when we are breaking down tasks, they become comfortable and feasible to execute without fail. Continued success helps with motivation and creating or updating the habit.

You can think of improving a reading habit, meditation, gym, but also thinking of changing and improving leadership skills. This last possibility is also the main topic of the book The Leader Habit. Knowing that 70% of leadership skills are learned, the author Martin Lanik identified that the skills can be learned through exercises and can be taught as a habit.

After research through hundreds of leaders, they develop 22 core skills and 79 micro-behaviors with exercises for each that could be practiced in only a few minutes. Again, chunks to avoid procrastination, to create a habit that can improve a skill.

So, in the end, most of the behaviors can be learned or updated by little exercises, little actions, with a short time. Which is the habit that you are willing to change or create?

🤝 Leadership Lessons and Building Trust

Amy Jen Su is the author of The Leader You Want to Be and was interviewed in the following post How To Lead During COVID-19 with another nine other leadership business book authors.

The question they had to answer was: While we surely will find ourselves challenged by COVID-19 in the foreseeable future, what is the most important thing a leader can do as they lead their business/organization? I am not going to copy the answers they gave, so check them out.

Not related to the previous article, but related to leadership, I didn’t want to leave the topic without sharing the following infographic included in a tweet by Amy Cuddy. It is an excellent wrap-up from an article about Trust in Leadership. “Connect first, and leadership becomes a gift and not a threat.”

📱 The Rise of Parler, the Free Speech and Misinformation App

Parler is a new social media App, currently num. 1 in the App stores, where people looking for freedom of speech are moving, especially during and after elections. The App has doubled the number of users only in the last week.

What am I saying with freedom of speech? Facebook is struggling with fighting misinformation, but it usually bans content, and Twitter adds label warnings. So people who don’t want this content to be restricted hope to find the promised land in this App.

if you read the previous article or tweet, it is said that there are only two rules: First, nothing criminal. Second, no spam. But its CEO quickly shared basic rules:

Casey newton also wrote about it in his subscription article at Platformer Parler is having a moment. The following is an excerpt that Casey shared on Twitter.

Is Parler a real competitor for current social media Twitter and Facebook? I don’t think so.

For the moment, it is a place to be if you are looking for conspiracy and rage. Social media platforms are based on their network effect, depending on their people who add value to the network.

The social media platforms live and are fed based on followers, but not only from like-minded groups. So, an App that is growing politically biased seems to be an entry barrier itself for other people.

In the end, social media takes a lot of time, so that you will end up with only one.

🙍 Hiring During Covid: The Challenge of Remote Onboarding

Probably you saw this year most people struggling with their jobs in these uncertain times, but the truth is that tech is always moving, and remote work opened a new range of possibilities. I have seen some people moving to a new job during the pandemic.

But, even if you succeed in a selection process, people could feel the imposter syndrome in the current situation. Starting at a new company remotely can be scary. And while you see that most experienced people are happy for going remote, you will see that juniors and newcomers struggle little with it.

This week there was a webinar about Remote Onboarding at Humu, and these would be some insights from it:

  • "Onboarding should start before the person starts their job. There's a lot you can do in the weeks ahead of someone's start date to welcome them."

  • "A nudge prompted me to ask my manager: 'Can you give me an example of what great performance looks like at Humu?' We ended up talking for 30 minutes. I got so much insight into Humu because of that one question."

  • "Focusing on the individual and celebrating the unique perspectives they bring to your organization is one of the most effective onboarding strategies, whether you're remote or in-person."

  • "Before I started at Humu, my manager sent me a really kind welcome email. In it, she asked me what I was most excited to work on. That helped me feel supported right away, and got me thinking about the opportunities ahead of me."

  • "You can help new hires overcome imposter syndrome in a remote setting by making it easy for them to build confidence and intentionally connecting them with their colleagues."

  • "If you get onboarding wrong, not only does it slow time to productivity, but it causes people to leave the company sooner. You have to help new hires form those initial social bonds."

Also, Gergely Orosz shared this same topic this week, giving an example from a colleague, and shared that having mentors or peers to talk about this and get help is the best way to overcome this imposter syndrome. Many companies also assign "onboarding buddies"; you can ask to make ramping up less stressful.

🌎 People Like Companies Having a Positive Impact on the World

This year’s Facebook internal survey showed that only 51% of respondents said they believed that Facebook was positively impacting the world. And about the company’s leadership, only 56% of employees had a favorable response.

Facebook struggled with political misinformation and extremism groups, and the different reactions from Mark Zuckerberg finished with a considerable amount of people leaving the company and several campaigns against it.

People, especially young ones (Gen Z), are looking for a higher purpose and positive impact over money. It is interesting to read about them because they will be our next workforce, and there are several differences between them and, for example, Millennials.

Returning to Facebook, knowing this is key when you do what you do because you’re assuming that there will be people that will leave and won’t work for you based on your acts.

Is Mark thinking about building his company surrounded by some Gen Y, but above all Gen X and Baby Boomers?

🧠 Brain Game: Are You Doing What You Should Be Doing?

Here’s the question: What if what you do, and you do it well, is not what you should be doing?

I think Susan was meaning about doing something different in our lives and following our guts, which is a great but complicated question. But Bob Sutton introduced then “the competence trap”, which explained straightforwardly is becoming more skilled and efficient at doing the wrong thing.

Here the challenge would be how to discover how you should be doing things then. Bob explained that at Stanford’s d.school they design experiences for such leaders that require them to live and feel the trouble with doing what they always have done.

At the d.school we believe that creativity exists in all people. We want to cultivate that potential, and fundamentally change the way people tackle challenges in their work and lives.

Isn’t it cool?

📻 Simon Sinek and Adam Grant in a Podcast

Sorry, I haven’t heard it yet, 51 minutes, but I’ll do. And anyway, knowing the bestselling celebrities, this is my weekly recommendation.

This link will bring you to the episode directly.

🐦 Some Tweets that Deserve Attention

I never expected taxes for remote workers. But Deutsche Bank considers it a privilege: "WFH saves money on travel, lunch and socializing, and offers greater job security and flexibility. Also, people will be contributing less to the infrastructure of the economy, potentially extending the slump in national growth."

Another awesome thread about Dan Rose’s experience. This time he shares how he ended up working at Amazon. It is a fascinating story about following your gut, ambition, and tons of courage.

Another great thread from Lenny, this time with his own lessons about building a newsletter.

And we will end today with this interesting thread about leverage as a multiplier.


Thanks for reading. I hope you liked it!

Please, do not hesitate to add any comments. I am open to any suggestions, so if you want to add a comment or contact me, I encourage you to do it.

Also, if you liked the content, and you think it could like others, please share!