1: Philosopher Brian Johnson tells us there are three steps on our path to self-mastery.

Self-Mastery = Willpower + Habits + Algorithms.

We aim to use “our willpower wisely to install habits that run on autopilot.”

Monday we explored the role of willpower.  Yesterday we looked the power of habits.  Today, we turn to the third component: algorithms or autopilot.

2: There is a supercomputer inside our brain called the basil ganglia.  Brian tells us it’s been around for 500 million years.  It drives our behavior: when this happens, we do that.  The basil ganglia loves repetition.  It is indifferent to good or bad.  

The positive news?

We can train our brain.

Brian defines an algorithm as “If this, then that…”  We can be intentional about the habits we want to create.  

Initially, we use our willpower to install the new behavior or eliminate an old one.  We identify the trigger.  “If this, then that…” 

We make the decision once.  Then we repeat, repeat, repeat.  In time, the new algorithm runs on auto-pilot.

We can create algorithms for any time of our day or night.  

3: Once we’re clear on the habits we want to run on auto-pilot, Brian suggests we “WOOP” it.

W stands for the wish:  What is the new habit we want to create? 

The first O stands for outcome: What positive things will happen if we create the new behavior?  We want to be crystal clear on the benefits.  Why are we doing this?

The second O stands for obstacles: What’s in the way?  Mentally? Physically?  Emotionally?  We anticipate and plan for obstacles.  Too often, we skip this step.  We’re not prepared when we get tripped up and lose our momentum.

P is for Plan:  How are we going to overcome the obstacles and experience the outcome of achieving our wish?


Reflection:  What is a trigger for a habit I would like to stop doing?  What is a trigger for a habit I would like to begin? 

Action:  Experiment today with one of the triggers outlined above.

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