Every great thinker and innovator in history did this one thing: Challenged something that was considered to be "normal."
Not too long ago, it was normal for a telephone to be attached to a wall. It was once normal to use candles for light, and to get around by horse and buggy. Instead of worrying about global warming, there was deep concern that our growing cities would be buried in horse manure.
Progress comes whenever someone redefines normal. But you don't have to invent the next game-changing technology to take advantage of this phenomenon.
How to Change Your Life in 5 Seconds
You can upgrade yourself and change your situation by simply deciding on a new "normal." Your brain is an incredibly powerful problem-solving machine.
There are probably things you're not happy about, but you've been silently accepting them for a long time. They've become normal. What happens if you choose to redefine your Normal?
Right away, you start thinking about how to make improvements. Things you took for granted are no longer acceptable. All kinds of clever ideas pop into your mind. And you feel a surge of energy to start implementing some of those ideas. Here are three steps to make it happen:
Step 1: Define your new Normal
About a year ago, I asked myself, "Is it normal to sleep less than 6 hours a night and try to keep functioning by constant caffeine infusions?"
I had been reading about the bad effects that sleep deprivation can have on your brain, your memory, reflexes, the immune system, muscle growth, speed, and even hormone levels.
At the time, sleep deprivation was my Normal, and a good-night's sleep was the exception. I had to reverse this.
Step 2: Enforce the new Normal
For a month I made sure I slept for 7-8 hours every night. Some chores went unfinished. Some friends and family members may have felt neglected. But I was creating a new Normal.
When you enforce the new normal, you won't have to be a fanatic about it forever. Just get it established at the beginning.
Step 3: Don't stress the exceptions
Now I can go without sleep once in a while if I need to get things done. It's the exception, not the rule. The next day I'll feel tired and weak, irritable and confused, sometimes even nauseated. But then I remind myself that I used to feel that way all the time. It was normal. Now it's just weird.
Let's say you decide to do 100 push-ups every day, or study Spanish for 2 hours every evening. Once it becomes part of your routine, you don't have to worry if you miss out once in a while. It will be easy to get back into the swing of things, because you've made it the 'normal' thing to do.
Challenge the Normal
What do you consider normal that you should re-examine?
Are you hurting yourself by what you think is normal? Is your Normal holding you back? Who told you this was normal? Are you required to spend your life according to someone else's Normal?
I challenge you to redefine your Normal. It's a beautiful and terrifying power, and it's yours. You can do anything.
I'm almost finished with a book about bike touring on the Appian Way, an ancient Roman road that crossed the southern half of Italy. But it's really a book about following your dreams and redefining "normal." If you would like to read the book, or even join me on a future bike tour of via Appia, subscribe below and I'll keep you up-to-date. Your email will not be published, and I will never share it with anyone.