Today’s show is all about KILLING THE MICROWAVE MINDSET and replacing it with something much more realistic. If you can understand the concepts I will be raising here and apply them to your life and work, and particularly to your skillset and long term goals then somewhere down the line, they will deliver massive and impactful results.
I’ll get into that a bit more in a minute but if your head has ever been filled with one single thought, or a string of thoughts or even a memory of something you just can’t change that just keeps repeating… and repeating… and repeating itself, then you have suffered from RUMINATION.
In the last episode, I tackled this damaging affliction which kills creativity and sucks away your energy and I offered up solutions to help you beat it. For those of you that took on the call to action, I hope that it’s made a difference. Don’t forget that you can always update me with how you are getting on or even offer up new topics for future episodes via the official website filmproproductivity.com contact page or catch me on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @filmproproductivity. I do like hearing from you on this sort of thing and of course, if you missed last weeks episode please do check it out.
This might be one of those slightly mind-bending episodes btw but hang on in there. The solutions are simple and very powerful.
Let me set this up a bit by giving defining a term you may have never heard before. It’s detailed at urbandictionary.com and it is MICROWAVE MENTALITY – It means “having the attitude that if something can't be done in 5 minutes or less, it's not worth doing.”
It’s a kind of a blight on the modern world and it’s a mindset that’s becoming quite prolific.
James Randi once said that the New Age, that’s now if you are wondering, is “just the old age stuck in a microwave for fifteen seconds.”
And I think I see his point…
I really don’t want to sound like I’m dissing the people, but if you want an analogy to represent this problem then here it is. It’s an analogy I’ve used before - but once or twice a month – not a YEAR, a MONTH - I get a message from someone, usually a Karate Champion, saying they want to be a fight director and that they will “help me” in inverted commas – I don’t ask for or need any help - for free if I can give them work and get them on set as a fight director or an assistant. And I’m like, what do you know about drama? Almost always, the answer is NOTHING - but that they are willing to learn. In my experience – that’s not quite true.
Now I used to try and help people like this but now I don’t.
First reason, Helping create a competitor when there’s so little work about would be utterly stupid.Secondly, because most people want to be a fight director as it sounds cool and doesn’t care enough about what it entails to ever be any good at it. I remember being stuck next to someone on a train that was chatting up a girl. He said to her that he did film and tv fights and I was looking at him – Scotland does not have a big pool of fight pros – anyway I was looking at him and thinking. NO YOU DON’T – That conversation went downhill from then as by the end of it he was telling her he could get her wacky backy if she needed any…and thirdly because in my experience, most of these people are willing to give it maybe a few hours, up to perhaps – and I’ll push the boat out here – as much as a day - then they want the same rates, the same respect and the same profile that I have with 800 credits and 24 years of blood sweat and tears behind me.
If I did try to help them, you’re almost guaranteed that within a week of working with me, the words FIGHT DIRECTOR will appear on their social networks. Some of these people might even make it and I wish them well, but this sort of microwave mentality is not based in reality.
I spent 7 years learning dramatic combat techniques under the tutelage of a fencing master, founder member of the Society of British Fight Directors and Olympic Fencing Coach Prof Bert Bracewell BAF – over the course of a few months we learned hand to hand combat, then we learned fencing skills in foil then sabre (which is the best skill for actors to learn in my opinion) then I personally went on to epee and coaching skills in those weapons with the British Academy of Fencing and beyond that I moved onto a variety of new weapons with Professor Bracewell like rifle and bayonet, sword and shield, rapier and dagger, trident and net. You name it I covered it but at the same time during all of that, I was learning about drama, with a 3-year acting course and years of commitment to learning at Scottish Youth Theatre. Frankly, I am still learning about it now, through my own experiences negative and positive.
Getting good at something, anything – takes time. But we all wish and maybe even try to go for the fast and furious route to the top rather than the slow and steady. Today's episode could even have been called SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE GAME – but let’s face it - it’s not as DRAMATIC as KILLING THE MICROWAVE MINDSET.
We must break the microwave mindset with reality - in the words of Darren Hardy, “small choices + consistency + time = significant results.”
The life coaching demigod Tony Robbins says "Don’t live in 'No Man’s Land,' that place where you’re not really happy, but you’re not unhappy enough to do anything about it. Don’t passively accept what comes your way; drive your life toward what you really want."
Taking potshots at the life you want to gain, or the goals you are trying to achieve just won’t cut it – You need to be consistent.
When you suffer from a microwave mindset, all you can think of is instant gratification. We need to accept that this just isn’t a reality - Think of ourselves kinda like LIFE CHEFS putting together the ingredients and letting them cook in their own good time so that we can achieve the longer term goals for which we aim. I’m maybe pushing it a bit with my poetic analogy there, but the point I hope is clear.
I’m not just talking about the Millennial Mindset to which this accusation is often leveled. In this age of microwave meals, fast food, social networking, internet answers to any question, Netflix movies on demand and Amazon drop shipping the mindset of MUST HAVE IT NOW is spreading far and wide. If you don’t recognize the microwave mentality in yourself, whatever your age, then you will certainly recognize it in other people – and that’s a big step towards fixing it. It means you can take the High-Level thinking approach to dealing with it.
The first step toward change is awareness. The best way to become aware is to measure. Writing it all down is key. - Darren Hardy
There are two theories I want to introduce here that may help to disrupt the microwave mentality. I’ll talk about Frontloading in a few minutes but first off lets discuss compounding - The Compound Effect is a book by Darren Hardy which breaks down the power of compounding for use in day to day life and explains how the term can be attached not only to monetary gain but to that of skill learning and achieving your goals. The compound effect is the strategy of reaping huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant actions.
AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKS - The COMPOUND EFFECT
Mark Twain said, “Progressive improvement beats delayed perfection.”
Moving forward toward your vision in progressively improving increments will take you much further than waiting for the perfect moment to start or indeed cramming in a load of effort in one day then giving up.
What’s most interesting about this process is that, even though the results are massive, the steps, in the moment, don’t feel significant. Whether you’re using this strategy for improving your health, relationships, finances, or anything else, the changes are so subtle, they’re almost imperceptible. These small changes offer little or no immediate result
Most people get tripped up by the simplicity of the Compound Effect.
For instance, they quit after the eighth day of running because they’re still overweight.Or, they stop practising the piano after six months because they haven’t mastered anything other than “Chopsticks.”Or, they stop making contributions to their ISA after a few years because they could use the cash–and it doesn’t seem to be adding up to much anyway.
What they don’t realize is that these small, seemingly insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference.
Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time will deliver a RADICAL DIFFERENCE to the results that you seek. The book THE COMPOUND EFFECT goes far beyond this in its scope and I’ll likely have to tackle it in another episode, but for now, I’ll leave it there. If you do want to read it through I’ll put links to it in the show notes.
The COMPOUND EFFECT
A very simple example is the saying 'you can't run before you can walk'; the procedural memory built while learning to walk is necessary before one can start to learn to run.Pronouncing words is impossible without first learning to pronounce the vowels and consonants that make them up (hence babies' babbling).
Abraham Lincoln’s possibly greatest ever quote, and he has a few, is “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
And that nicely sets up the second concept for dealing with the microwave mentality - Front-Loading – That of focusing your efforts at the beginning of a task. The connection for me is very apparent - the earlier you start making changes the more the compound effect works in your favour.
Front loading is simply a productivity tactic for accomplishing more tasks at the beginning of a goals life. I apply the term specifically to that of learning skills, in combination with the compound effect I talked about a minute ago.
Despite our very best efforts, we all know that It’s way too easy to get off track given the very busy lives we all lead so FRONTLOADING encourages us to schedule our most important tasks at the beginning of the process.
CREATIVITY BLOG 99U says
“Spend less time worrying about planning exactly how long every activity will take you to do and more time front-loading your calendar by putting your most important activities with deadlines early in the day and early in the week. For example, something due on Friday should start appearing in your schedule by Tuesday afternoon. And your amount of planned to-do items should decrease from Monday to Friday with ideally little-to-no new to-do items on Friday.”
Tied in with this is something called THE 50% SOLUTION - a productivity technique which I think applies particularly well to those of us in the creative world and it goes along with the idea of frontloading very well. The 50% solution is the act of getting the whole of a goal done to a 50% standard, or quality of work, and then perfecting it at a time when it will give you a measurable result. Perfecting it with a series of revisions at your leisure. You quite quickly get over the hurdle and the stress of having an incomplete task on your to do list and then you polish it up.
I applied for a writing residency place in January of this year and I used this system to get me going. The deadline was the 25th. I scheduled in my diary to submit it by the 23rd, but I front-loaded the vital parts of the application and accompanying materials to be completed a week before that. By doing this, I not only submitted on time, I submitted with my 2nd, 3rd and even 4th drafts of parts of the application form rather than the 1st and least strong of them. The fact that they then extended the deadline by another 6 weeks made my heart fall I have to be honest, but I knew I’d given it my best shot.
There’s another productivity technique in play here which is one of my favourites. It’s based on something called THE LEAN STARTUP. It’s a business principle that says, if you want to start say - a bakery – that you don’t start on day one selling say cookies, bread, rolls and I dunno - donuts. You start on day one by selling just donuts. You sell donuts for a few weeks, and talk to customers and see if they want something new. What might that be? During the few weeks of business you’ve learned how to make donuts even better, even cheaper and even quicker, and you’ve learned that your customers mostly want cookies. So you start making cookies, and you sell them next to the donuts and you see how it goes, and because you’re not worrying about donuts since you’ve mastered that skill and that business model, you can put all your new efforts into perfecting your cookies – If you get where I am going with this, you work hard to perfect one skill or research one area before you start the next. What you don’t do is try to do it all at once - mess the whole thing up - overstretch your resources - and learns new skills that you just don’t need.
You could use front loading for daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals as well.
You can plan for the week on Sunday and get out of the blocks strong on Monday, accomplishing as many of your weekly tasks as possible in the first few days of the week.
You can start out the first week of every month very strong and for your greater life goals try to make the first month of the quarter a big one as well.
This approach takes a lot of discipline but does wonders for stress reduction and productivity.
I’ve frontloaded my schedule of production for this podcast too btw. I’m launching 12 new episodes with the 1st being released on the 24th February but I’m aiming to have 10 episodes already batch recorded by the 11th. This allows me to go back and refine them before launch and after launch if I feel like it. It also leaves plenty of time for me to create the marketing resources that are required for the social networking. When I launch on the 24th I’ll have them all recorded. I won’t have to worry that I can’t meet my schedule.
If you want to try frontloading your own tasks and goals here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Start with the end in mind. Start with your long term goal and then work backwards. Write down your quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals as well as the tasks necessary to get you there. These process goals are landmarks you can tick off so that you feel you are moving forwards. When I finish this episode I will tick off Season 2 Episode 7 on my whiteboard and I’ll know I only have 5 to go. It’s really great for drive.Determine what is truly important. Prioritize the activities that will allow you to progress towards achieving your goals and do them first. The other stuff can wait. That’s episode 3 of this podcast. Go back and have a listen.Get an early start. If you get up an hour earlier than your competition every day and do something productive, you will have a 300 hour advantage over the course of a year. Think about how much can be accomplished with 300 extra hours!Don’t multi-task. It drives down performance and wastes time. Look back at episode 10 for a full episode on that topic.Just getting started often results in completing an important task. Look back to Episode 9 for advice on that one.
Summing up here I’d say that killing the microwave mindset involves waking up and realizing that time is slipping through your fingers and following the advice of American author H Jackson Brown Jr, who says
“You must take action now that will move you towards your goals. Develop a sense of urgency in your life.”
One of the known traits of highly productive and successful people, companies, and countries and a trait that makes the difference between the average and the superior performers is commonly known to be that they have developed “A SENSE OF URGENCY”. If you want to move forward from the microwave mentality and take on the challenge that compounding your energy and reap huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant actions, then you need to start now and strategize your way ahead.
It’s advice that flows from the productivity world from everywhere I look.
Bob Proctor says “Everyone should have a sense of urgency – it is getting a lot done in a short period of time in a calm and confident manner.”
Les Brown says “We have to live life with a sense of urgency so not a minute is wasted.”
And Ralph Marston says “Success requires both urgency and patience. Be urgent about making the effort, and patient about seeing the results.”
CALL TO ACTION
Your call to action this week is to look at a goal, perhaps a skill that you want to learn, and schedule a period, a realistic period of learning for it. If you want to learn a new editing software, for example, It could be an exercise regime or cooking or something else, but schedule a couple of frontloading sessions perhaps over a weekend for it, maybe 3 hours each day, or more if you can handle it, but keep it realistic. - Then schedule a month of 20-minute sessions each day for you to master it. Take the techniques I have discussed today and make them yours.
I hope this has been an interesting topic for you. I find it all quite fascinating and I present it here as I hope you will do too.
Izey Victoria Odiase “Our need for instant gratification is the reason we’re drawn to liars and hot air blowers.”
Beware of the instant fix or shortcut to your long term goals. It’s rarely a reality.
And to finish up - DON’T GIVE UP WHAT YOU WANT MOST, FOR WHAT YOU WANT NOW.
Thanks yet again for choosing to spend your valuable time here with me and as always - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, and join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.
The music you can hear right now is Adventures by A HimitsuYou can view the show notes for this episode on the official website filmproproductivity.comPlease follow my personal account on Twitter and Instagram @fight_director or follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @FilmproproductivityThanks for supporting the show by subscribing, spreading the word and leaving an AWESOME review.
Thanks: A Himitsu
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