While searching for something completely different on Pinterest, I stumbled upon this post from Mauricio Estrella. With his permission, I have copied and pasted it in it’s entirety because I loved his story. Who knew that a simple password could so radically change your life?
“How could she do something like this to me?” said a voice in my head. All the time. Every day.
Here is what’s annoying: The server forces us to use at least oneUPPERCASE character, at least one lowercase alphabetic character, at least one symbol and at least one number. Oh, and the whole thing can’t be less than 8 characters. And I can’t use any of the same passwords I’ve used in the last 3 months.
I was furious that morning. Tuesday, 9:40 a.m. -It was so hot that my torso was already sweaty even though I just got to work. I was late. I was still wearing my helmet. I think I forgot breakfast. Something tastes like cigarette in my mouth. I need to get stuff done before my 10 a.m. meeting and all I have in front of me is a huge waste of my time.
Then, letting all the frustration go, I remembered a tip I heard from my former boss, Rasmus. Somehow he combined to-do lists with passwords, and I decided to use an augmented variation of that.
It was obvious that I couldn’t focus on getting things done with my current lifestyle and mood. Of course, there were clear indicators of what I needed to do -or what I had to achieve- in order to regain control of my life, but we often don’t pay attention to these clues.
During the rest of week, I had to type this password several times a day. Each time my computer would lock. Each time my screensaver with her photo would appear. Each time I would come back from eating lunch alone.
That simple action changed the way I looked at my ex wife. That constant reminder that I should forgive her, led me to accept the way things happened at the end of my marriage, and embrace a new way of dealing with the depression that I was drowning into.
In the following days, my mood improved drastically. By the end of the 2nd week, I noticed that this password became less powerful, and it started to lose its effect. A quick refresh of this ‘mantra’ helped me. I thought to myself I forgive her as I typed it, every time. The healing effect of it came back almost immediately.
Seeing how these reminders helped to materialize my goals kept me motivated and excited. I’ll admit this: It is difficult to come up with your next goal. Sometimes it’s hard to identify what we need to change, or where we need to walk towards to.
Make sure your goals are realistic, and avoid being too dreamy when you phrase them. It’s important to build a metric around your goal so you can measure its success along the way. For example, if you’re on a hunt to get a better job, don’t use things like BeTh3NumberOne! but instead go withKickASS@LinkedIn! and use the new connections, groups and number of resumes sent as a metric to validate your efforts to land a new job. Being the number one is great, but being able to measure where you are and where you’re going is important, specially when there’s a big gap between those two points.
So why does this trick work? In its simplest form, a password enables you to get somewhere, in your digital world. Say, to copy a file, to unlock a computer, to email somebody. This feeling of micro achievements, this thought of ‘my mantra helps me to get things done’ can build up a momentum that motivates you to stay focused on achieving your monthly goals. It’s a tiny habit that has the power to transform.
- Forgive@her ← to my ex-wife, who started it all.
- Quit@smoking4ever ← it worked.
- Save4trip@thailand ← it worked.
- Eat2times@day ← it never worked, still fat.
- Sleep@before12 ← it worked.
- Ask@her4date ← it worked. I fell in love again.
- No@drinking2months ← it worked. It felt great!
- MovE@togeth3r ← it worked.
- Get@c4t! ← it worked. We have a beautiful cat.
- Facetime2mom@sunday ← it worked. I talk with my mom every week.
This method has consistently worked for me for the last 2 years, and I have shared it with a few close friends and relatives. I didn’t think it was a breakthrough in tiny-habits but it did have a great impact in my life, so I thought to share it with you all.
Give it a try! Write these statements with the right mindset and attitude, and you’ll change your life. Let me know how it works for you!