The secret to being 10 times happier (the 10x question)

The 10x question is a simple concept. …

Let’s start with basic human behaviour. Most humans think linearly.

If you currently make $1000 a week and you want to start making $2000 a week, most people would automatically think this:

1- I need to work twice as long
2- I need to make twice as much per hour
3- I need a second job

This same linear logic can be applied to any human endeavour. If you want to cover twice as much material before a presentation or an exam, most people will double their work hours.

If you want to finish twice as many features before the deadline, most people will work twice as hard and spend half as much time wasting time.

What happens when you stop looking for a 20% to 100% improvement? What happens when you want to go from losing 0.5 kilo per month to losing 5 kilos per month (a 10 time improvement). …

What happens when you want to go from swimming 30 laps to swimming 300 laps ?

What happens when you want to go from writing 1 page a day to writing 10 pages a day ?

What happens when you want to go from seeing 5 patients a day to seeing 50 patients a day ?

The 10x question is a question that you can apply to your life to force your mind to break OUT OF linear thinking. It allows you to identify parts of your system or process that dont scale. It highlights procedural ineffeciencies and bottle necks and it forces you to prioritize.

The thing about the 10x question is that it is a realistic question to undertake.

Technology, interest, climate change, economic upswing and downsings, your metabolism, your health, your energy, and your psychologicaly state are all natural phenomenon that have the capacity to change rapidly (10 fold, 100 fold or even 1000 fold) in a very short period of time.

One day you are in a good economy, 3 months later the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped 700 points in 1 day and (more than 10 times is daily average) and your country is in a recession.

The people that asked themselves ‘what happens if the economy is down by 20% next year’ will not have had the answers, the preparations or the strategy to overcome a 10x shift in the environment. Those companies end up dying , sold and merged, or bailed out… but ultimately their survival becomes some one else’s decision and their destiny is out of their hands.

I challenge you to use the 10x question to save yourself a lot of time, money and headache.

Another aspect of the 10x question is that it directly speaks to human delinquency.

Would you quit smoking if you knew that it would kill you in 30 to 50 years?

Maybe you’d quit sometime in the future… maybe you’d wait another 5 years before deciding…

What if smoking killed you 10x as fast ? not 20% faster, not 30% faster, not 100% faster … but 1000% faster…

If smoking is going to kill me in the next 3 to 5 years (instead of 30 to 50 years) how much more am I willing to quit ?

Very good question and as you can see your entire paradigm for answering that question, and your motivation to take action shifts from a remote distant future with a low probability, to a high probability eminent decision.

In the book freakanomics the author states that reesearch has shown that human beings are most powerfully motivated by eminent short term catastrophes …. That is to say : if i told you that you would die in 6 months, your decision making process and your outlook on life would dramatically change. Your behaviour will also change accordingly.

Poisitive outcomes and distant future outcomes have less of an impact on people’s decisions. The 10x questions helps makes the distance, eminent and helps you take positive action in your life before its too late.

Now let’s think about this for a minute …

There are good things in life…. little things… but good things none the less… that we let go of because they are little….

There are bad things in life… little things… but bad none the less… that we hang on to because they are little.

What if we applied 10x to your life, specifically to the little things in your life, good and bad …

If you felt 10 times as good about doing a little bit extra at work, would you continue to do that little bit more?? Probably yes.

If you felt 10 times as bad about showing up 5 minutes late to work or leaving 5 mintues early… would you still do it ?

The 10x question employs higher discipline because it amplifies these little aspects of life allowing them to cross the threshold of what you would consider caring about and allowing you to make deliberate decisions to maintain a better life.

So let’s recap:

the 10x question allows you to:

1- Think outside of the box and come up with non-linear solutions that allow you to break out of typical linear thinking.

2- Accelerate time, if you imagine both good things and bad ones happening 10 times sooner than typical, you become more likely to stick to doing the hard work (towards good goals) because they don’t seem as far as they really are… and you are less motivated to hang on to bad habits because you feel that they will destroy you much sooner, soon enough to care.

3- Raise your level of discipline as there are no little things anymore … everything is 10 times as important (good or bad) and so you are more calculated in your actions and more deliberate in your discipline.

Think about the 10x question and work towards a better and more fullfilling life… 10 times as fullfilling in fact ;)

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