One Habit That Will Change Your Life
The one habit that I think will change your life is time travelling. By time travelling, of course, I mean writing. Writing is thinking, and thinking is a form of mental time travel. You’re already pretty good at it. For example,
Twinkle, twinkle, little _____.
Most of you probably filled in my silence with the word “star”. Your mind is always traveling through time to determine the most likely future that will come to be: this is called a prediction.
Think about what it actually takes to catch a baseball. You have to imagine the future position of the ball and make sure that your hand intersects with that position.
If you can already time travel, why do you need to write? Our minds aren’t perfect — they routinely predict futures that never happen. For example, I could have said,
Twinkle, twinkle, little car,
instead of star. But based on your past experiences, you knew that the most likely future was the one where I said star. This brings us to a very important point: your capacity to predict the future, or time travel effectively, is malleable. Prophecy is a skill that you can get better at, and I claim that writing is one of the best ways to do it.
There are an infinite amount of things you could write, but I don’t want you to get overwhelmed by too much choice. Instead, I’ll share one simple practice with you: mood modelling.
Every morning, write down how you feel and what’s going on at the moment. Record everything: your physical environment, your social environment, what you’re eating or drinking, what you have planned for the day, so on and so forth. As your start to collect more data, you should notice some patterns. Does the weather affect your mood? What about certain foods or people? Do you feel better when you perform certain activities and feel worse when you do others? As you hone in on what makes you feel better, you can actively start shaping your life to reproduce these moments more often. Your time travelling skills will improve, and you’ll become better at predicting the next move you should make in life.
Patterns & Predictions
Mood modelling is powerful because it utilizes the two principles of effective time travel: patterns & predictions. When you record notes on how you feel, where you are, and what’s going on around you, you have a set of data. You can analyze this data and look for patterns. Patterns are just the relationship between causes and effects, or actions and outcomes. You can use these patterns to make predictions about the future.
I might notice, for example, that on days that I play the piano, I feel good. As a result, I might try to find more time to include playing the piano in my schedule, and I’ll see if this makes me feel better. If it does, I know that there’s a link between the pattern of playing the piano and my mood.
Writing is a good way to collect data, look for patterns, and make predictions on how certain actions can lead to specific outcomes. Knowing the right actions that lead to the right outcomes is the gift of prophecy. When you can accurately predict the future, you become an effective time traveler. So, pick up the habit of writing because your future literally depends on it.