Escaping Gravity – the Millionaire Mindset & how to change Bad Habits in Business
Just as a spaceship must travel at 40,000km/h for 8.5 minutes to escape the Earth’s gravity, breaking free of the gravitational pull of bad habits that keep our businesses grounded takes commitment, momentum and time. Entrepreneur Colm O’Brien explains why.
One of the best books I’ve read is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by the late great Stephen Covey, one of my favourite thought-leaders. There’s a single sentence in that brilliant book that totally strikes at the heart of escaping gravity and why the question of how to change bad habits in business should never be disregarded or treated lightly.
Here is the quote in question: “Habits… have tremendous gravity pull, more than most people realise or would admit.” Over the years, I have adapted this into the phrase “breaking free from the gravity of bad habits”, and either way, I attribute it to Covey. There’s no way I would have thought of it without him!
Our habits are running and, in some instances, ruining our lives. But what can we do about it? How do we break free?
What has all of this got to do with how to change bad habits in business? Well, it actually relates even to how this post was constructed. I had it written. Or so I thought. When I was sidetracked by something else. But I think that the something else makes this a better post. I was sidetracked by the National Lottery. Sadly, not by winning it, but by thinking about it.
Myself and my wife Aideen had gone for a walk on the cliffs near Kilkee, County Clare (yes, you should visit this Wild Atlantic Way #bucketlist destination), and on the way home, Aideen decided to buy a National Lottery ticket.
As I waited for Aideen to buy the ticket, I got to thinking about two things that I’d read, many years ago, about winners of lotteries. Firstly, I’d heard: “If you win a million in the lottery, you had better become a millionaire quickly or you’ll lose it all.” At first glance, this might not make sense. Surely, you might argue, winning a million means that you are a millionaire? The second thing that I’d heard was, 70 percent of people who win big in a lottery go broke within a few years.
Both of these statements are true. You see, remaining a millionaire is what counts. And that’s all about how you think, not about how much money you have in your bank account at a particular point in time.
It all comes down to the millionaire mindset. If you have the millionaire mindset, you can become, and certainly remain, a millionaire. If you do not have this mindset, and even if you were given (or win) a million euro or a million pounds or a millionaire dollars, you will lose it all again due to your particular mindset.
This is all about habits. Understanding habits, particularly how to change bad habits, is crucial in respect of money and business. You will never become a millionaire, it is actually an impossibility, if you have the wrong habits around money. This is because habits have us in their grip. They exert a gravitational pull on us that’s often very hard to break. Sometimes it is so great that we never break free. Here is a ‘Coffee With Colm’ video where I discuss how to change bad habits and the gravitational pull of habits that are keeping us grounded. If watching a video is not possible right now, scroll down and read the post in full. You won’t regret it, either way.
To get to the core of the question of how to change bad habits, let’s look at gravity and science, and what is required to escape actual gravitational pull. To break free of the Earth’s gravity, a spacecraft must exceed 40,000km/h (25,000mph), and sustain the speed for more than 8.5 minutes. Three factors are required:
- Direction: you must make a decision to leave Earth’s atmosphere. It does not happen by accident.
- Momentum: you must travel at a speed of no less than 40,000km/h.
- Time: the required speed must be sustained for 8.5 minutes.
So think about that again. No object leaves the earth’s gravitational pull. 39,500km/h or anything less than 40,000 km/h is insufficient. And 8 minutes, 7 minutes, 6 minutes, or anything less than 8mins and 30secs is not enough.
Think about habits as gravity. We are held in the grip of our habits, just as our bodies are pulled to the earth by gravity. Our habits either serve us well, or they do not. They account for the default positions we take on everything in our lives.
All habits, either good or bad, are serving us for better or for worse.
All habits, either good or bad — money habits, food habits, exercise habits, grooming habits, time management habits, temper habits, business or work habits relationship habits – are serving us for better or for worse. We create our habits but then, crucially, our habits shape and create us.
When it comes to the question of how to change bad habits in business or in life, some sincere honesty is required. Our habits are running and, in some instances, ruining our lives. But what can we do about it? How do we break free? There are lots of things we can do.
But it takes significant commitment, effort and focus to break free of the habits we are not happy with, just as it takes a rocket accelerating to greater than 40,000km/h and travelling at that speed for 8.5 minutes to break free of Earth’s gravitational pull.
However, and here is the good news, it is possible! and what is required is honest commitment to the same three principles that help that spacecraft escape gravity—direction, momentum and time. So take account of these three factors as they apply to your own life:
- Direction: you need to decide which habit you are going to change, and what life will look like when you escape its influence on your life
- Momentum: it is going to be tough to start and sustain this in the beginning
- Time: you must commit to it long enough to replace with a habit that will better serve your life’s purpose.
I often ask groups or individuals my Harry Potter question – “If you could wave a magic wand over your life and fix it, what would it look like?” Inevitably, people talk about having more money, more time off, better health, better relationships and so on – the stuff none of us would object to experiencing.
But here is the thing. All of these things are attainable, so long as we develop the right habits. These things — more money, more time, better health – are the consequence of the habits that we develop.
It’s a simple model. Change your habits, change your life. But most importantly—let’s be real, please?—remember Point 3: Time. I’ve heard it said that habits can be changed within 21 days. While of course, it’s possible, I am skeptical. If you’ve been in the habit of something for more than 21 years, do you really think that 21 days will change that habit in a mere 21 says?
Realistically, you have to accept that change takes as long as it takes. It may take 21 days, but the reality is, it’s going to take a lot longer to escape the gravity of bad habits.
So during the next week choose just one habit that you know needs changing.
- Make a decision and start.
- Build momentum.
- Stick with it.
I wish you well.