Sometimes, it feels like the whole world is against you.
Every little thing you try, and every little thing you get, either falls apart in your hands or disappears as quickly as it came.
But even in the thickest darkness, there is a way out. A way to create a breakthrough; to progress from what you are now to something more.
It requires patience, persistence, and grit. But in every situation imaginable there is always a way to create change. Or, at the very least, a way to persist in positivity until circumstances change, if and when your life depends on them.
Instead of me having a breakdown, I’m focusing on me having a breakthrough.
– Terrell Owens
Here’s how to create your own breakthrough, even when the world doesn’t want to give it to you.
Redesign your mental climate (consume new knowledge)
- Absorb new information which can help you to improve, innovate, and problem solve
- Change your mental “climate”
Both of these are done by dumping new things into your brain.
You need to absorb everything you can, not just about your profession or the subject to which you want to realize the breakthrough, but everything you can get your hands on:
Fill yourself up with new information to not only broaden your knowledge base but introduce you to new ways of looking at the world, new skills you can utilize, and to rewrite any negative associations or information with more positive and progressive ones.
A breakthrough often requires an entirely new way of looking at things. Sometimes, all you need is to look at the same thing in a new way to realize that breakthrough, and absorbing heaps of specifically selected new information is your best bet to help you come up with that creative solution.
Redesign your physical climate
Now that you’ve got that done, it’s time to redesign the physical climate of your life for a breakthrough.
This is not only to maximize your creativity and make it more likely that you’ll be able to think up that innovative solution or solve a particular problem but to also maximize the time you have to spend towards making that progress.
Depending on what you’re trying to do, with work and other responsibilities you might only have an hour a day to get anything really meaningful done, so you need to maximize the time you have to get the most from it.
Examples of ways you can do this include:
- Organize your physical space: Physical clutter can create mental clutter.
- Reorganize your day: Do creative tasks first thing in the morning when you’re completely filled up from a good night’s sleep and then move on to problem tasks.
- Reduce commitments: Learn to say no when the commitment doesn’t at all serve you or contribute to those things or people which are most important to you.
Design your small, 30-day breakthrough
Don’t fight this. Instead, prove it wrong.
How do you do that? By creating a small breakthrough, just big enough to make you rethink what you’re able to accomplish but not so big that you quit or psych yourself out from a lack of belief or low self-worth.
Create a short, 30-day breakthrough by thinking about something sizeable that you could accomplish within thirty days that would allow you to make real progress and instill new confidence in you.
Reverse engineer your small breakthrough’s success
Once you have your 30-day goal, work backward as if you were retracing your steps to find out where you need to start to get to where you want to go. The idea is to reverse engineer your success by estimating on a micro level what you need to do on each of the thirty days to eventually realize your goal.
Where do you need to be by day twenty-five? Day twenty? The halfway point? The first five days?
Finally, what do you have to accomplish today, tomorrow, and the next day so that you can stay on track to eventually accomplish your goal? Get this as crystal clear as possible to help guide your daily actions towards that breakthrough.
Design a bigger breakthrough (and repeat)
Once you’ve accomplished that first, small breakthrough, all that’s left is to scale this system up. It won’t be perfect and there will be bumps along the way, however, by using this as a guide you’ll be able to build on each successive breakthrough to create an astounding level of progress in a very short period of time.
Extra tip: If you want to learn how to create major breakthroughs, my favorite book on getting things done– not just the system side of things but the mental– is The 12-Week Year. Highly recommended.