Behavior Bundling

Day 110 Week 16 Q2 Friday, April 21, 2023

I have mentioned the effectiveness of focusing on automating behaviors more than setting goals. Very many more people have goals than reach them. In contests, everyone’s goal is to win. But in general, there is only one winner. Which means there are many more losers than winners. Setting goals is not enough if they all have the same goal. On the other hand, what if instead of goal setting, one determined what behaviors were consistent with being the kind of person who could achieve those goals?

For example, I want to be an excellent musician instead of a musical contest winner. I could focus on winning an international competition or obtaining a grant which is also like winning an award. But in both cases, that is like asking for permission from others to be an excellent musician. I am not very into asking permission. Creative outliers, in general, do not like asking for permission. Creativity is not about permission; it is about action. What if I asked myself what behaviors would be consistent with being an excellent musician? This differs from focusing on winning permission from some external judging body. What do excellent musicians do? Excellent Musicians Perform a Lot! I suppose they could enter contests a lot, practice a lot, and take lessons a lot. I myself would prefer to perform a lot. There is a big difference between performing and practicing. If you want to be an excellent musician, you must play every day but not the same pieces in the same genre for the same judges. I do not need to wait for permission from some external pyramidical hierarchical structure to be a musician. Instead, I need to be immersed in a musical life, which is not the same as goal setting. This is talking to musicians and playing music alone, with musicians, in front of audiences, in my living room, and writing music and trying different types of music and even different instruments. And bundling all of these behaviors together so they reinforce each other.

Behavior Bundling can also become automatic, resulting in musical musician habits. I feel something is amiss any day I do not engage in musical behaviors, making me more likely to behave in ways consistent with being a musician. If I never enter a contest and never ask permission from the outside world if I can consider myself a musician, then I never need to get on the roller coaster of being defined externally. 

For me, the ideal way to be the person you want to be has nothing to do with setting goals that are beyond our control but everything to do with determining what behaviors are consistent with being who you want to be and then bundling them in such a manner that they reinforce each other which eventually permits them to become habits. 

Habits are nothing but automated bundled behaviors. Chose them wisely, though or else you end up with habits that re not consistent with your current or desired identity.