I’m going to nerd out just a little bit in this article. I love sociology. I know that sounds weird, but I’m fascinated by human behavior. It’s not so much “what” people do that intrigues me, but why they do what they do. This fascination fuels my desire to learn more about human behavior.
Much of human activity is unexamined. There’s nothing wrong with this. It just means that many people spend much of their time and energy doing things for no particular reason. It’s rare to find a person who thinks consciously about their every action and activity. We call these things habits.
Rarely do I get a chance to meet someone who has consciously decided where they want to move their life and the steps that it will take to get there, like Dre Baldwin. Most of Dre’s successes in life come from careful consideration, deliberate planning, and focused effort over time.
Habits create momentum
There are more than a few things all of us can learn from Dre’s lifestyle. However, one thing that makes Dre stand out from other professional ball players or successful entrepreneurs is how he has mastered his habits.
Nothing came easy for Dre. After four years of trying, he was selected for his high school basketball team. But, he sat on the bench his entire season when he was finally selected. Dre walked onto his college basketball team when other students were offered handsome college scholarships. He spent years of rejection after college before being offered a contract to play professional basketball.
Without knowing it at the time, Dre developed a habit that made him unbeatable. All of this disappointment and rejection turned Dre into a fighter. Dre refused to quit despite the frustration. He refused to give up his dreams in the face of rejection. This habit would fuel most of Dre’s success for the rest of his life.
Momentum builds energy
Dre started answering questions from hardworking basketball enthusiasts about how he overcame many obstacles and played pro ball by filming short YouTube videos. At the time, only a few people were asking him questions and watching his videos. But Dre’s willingness to take time out of a busy schedule to answer players’ questions has developed into a habit with enormous results.
Stephen Pressfield, the brilliant author, once wrote that habits build up energy over time. Dre’s habit of shooting simple basketball videos started to grow a YouTube audience. Dre’s simple efforts to give honest answers to honest questions became a powerful habit. No one imagined this simple habit would lead to an online audience of more than 60 million people.
Dre is a sociological anomaly. He’s found a way to stay driven and focused despite tremendous setbacks. Dre’s life is a powerful example of Pressfield’s quote about the power of habits.
Energy generates power
When you first start any task, it feels cumbersome and takes tremendous effort. However, as you continue to refine that task, it starts to become easier naturally. Doing the same task often enough also makes it much more natural.
Not all habits are bad. Over time, a healthy habit can become a powerful tool for good in your life. There’s almost no limit to the power you can generate if you put the discipline and confidence into developing a habit over time.
Dre didn’t settle for being a social media influencer or online celebrity. He turned his online audience into a loyal following by offering expert advice on discipline, confidence, mental toughness, and personal initiative. Dre’s YouTube videos became a habit like second nature to him. This simple habit led him to start multiple companies to address the needs of his online audience and record 4 TEDx talks about the lessons he learned through the hardships he’s overcome.
Replace this habit
Pressfield could have been thinking about Dre Baldwin when he wrote his formula on the power of habits in our lives. All of us have some habits that need to be eliminated. Most of us picked these bad habits up over time and didn’t realize they had become habits until we started to see their negative impact on our lives.
The opposite of this principle is also true about good habits.
There’s more to Pressfield’s formula about habits. Here’s a fuller description of his views on habits from his book The War of Art. “The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.”
Almost everyone has some bad habits that they need to stop doing today. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t need to add 1 or 2 good habits to their life immediately. But by examining Dre’s life and looking at Pressfield’s habits at war with one another, there’s one habit that everyone needs to replace today.
We all need to replace the habit of continuing unexamined habits. My challenge to you from this article is to replace the habit of adding unexamined habits with the habit of adding examined habits to your life. The consequences are so enormous that you should start today!