Building habits

This is a true story — at the ripe old age of five, I briefly became a thief. But before you judge me, hear me out — I promise you, there is a lesson here.

When I was in first grade, in Bangalore, some neighbors used to play badminton near my house. After their game, they would occasionally forget to collect all the shuttlecocks lying around.

One day, after those folks had left, I stealthily picked up a shuttlecock. I had no use for it but once I acquired the first shuttlecock, something changed inside my head — I wanted more.

Soon, I snapped up another one. Within weeks, I was an obsessed hoarder, with more than 15 shuttlecocks.

But one day, my luck ran out when a guy saw me picking up a shuttlecock. I promptly confessed, and giving me a mischievous smile, he seized all my shuttlecocks 🙂

Humans like to hoard things. Video-gamers collect points, Instagram influencers collect followers, art collectors hoard paintings — the underlying value is not relevant.

In fact, the billionaire desperate to add another billion is just a ‘shuttlecock hoarder’ — what will the additional billion really do for him?

But used intelligently, this trait can be a super life-hack.

To build any habit, you can tap into this ‘hoarder mindset’ by building a streak. Once someone has been running for 100 days or reading a book a week for a year, they will hate breaking it.

A video gamer I know got sucked into playing a video game for 4 years just for the reward points.

Our mind can attach value to anything once we start hoarding it. That is also why habit-trackers work.

Start building streaks — it will motivate you more than any YouTube video ever could.

– Rajan


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