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Strategic Discipline Blog

Fall in Love with Boredom

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Sep 4, 2023

In Atomic Habits, James Clear suggests, “The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom.”


Clear feels success is difficult because as habits become routine, they become less interesting and less satisfying. That’s when we get bored.

When we repeatedly do something, it gets old. That’s when we tend to quit or give up.

aristotle-quote-habitsYet as Aristotle noted, “You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a habit.”

Professionals act even when the mood isn’t right. They might not enjoy it, but they find a way to put the reps in.

The only way to become excellent is to be endlessly fascinated by doing the same thing over and over. You must fall in love with boredom.

In the video, Clear shares how top performers prevent themselves from repeating the same mistakes. They may make a mistake, miss a habit one day, but they quickly get back to what they intended and don’t compound their mistake. They recover quickly.

Amp It Up - Leading for Hypergrowth by Raising Expectations, Increasing Urgency, and Elevating IntensityMindset is critical. Clear shares Frank Slootman, CEO of Snowflake, and author of Amp it Up: Leading for Hypergrowth by Raising Expectations, Increasing Urgency, and Elevating Intensity mindset, “Narrow the focus, up the quality, increase the speed.

  • Stop trying to do so much. It’s impossible to be a top performer in a dozen different things. Choose what matters most (Similar to Scaling Up and Gary Keller’s One Thing)
  • Do what matters to an exceptional degree.
  • Increase the speed. Once you’ve determined what you can do at a high quality, then focus on delivering at a high speed.

At 5:10 Clear shares how people with high willpower differ from those with low willpower because they are in environments where they are tempted less. Put yourself in an environment where you can focus on what you want to achieve.

My most successful customers don’t allow distractions. They realize success is a habit, and don’t chase after the next shiny “opportunity” needlessly.

Professionals stick to the schedule; amateurs let life get in the way.

The Goldilocks Rule

The Goldilocks Rule states humans experience peak motivation when they work on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.

yerkis-dodson-law-graphMaximum motivation occurs when facing a challenge of just manageable difficulty. This is the Yerkes–Dodson law, which describes the optimal level of arousal as the midpoint between boredom and anxiety.

Hit the Goldilocks Zone just right, you achieve a flow state.

A flow state is the experience of being “in the zone.” Fully immersed in an activity. Scientists found that to achieve a state of flow, a task must be roughly 4 percent beyond your current ability.

The core idea of the Goldilocks Rule is: working on challenges of just manageable difficulty—something on the perimeter of your ability— is crucial for maintaining motivation.

Improvement requires a delicate balance. Search for challenges to push you to your edge to continue to make enough progress and stay motivated. Behaviors need to remain novel for them to stay attractive and satisfying. Without variety, we get bored.

Boredom is the greatest villain in the quest for self-improvement.

Mastery requires practice. The more you practice something, the more boring and routine it becomes.

The Goldilocks Rule - James Clear Atomic HabitsThe sweet spot of desire occurs at a 50/50 split between success and failure.

It doesn’t matter what you try to be better at, if you only work when it’s convenient or exciting, you’ll never be consistent enough to achieve remarkable results.

We’ve all started a habit and had days when we felt like quitting. You start a business. There are days when you don’t feel like showing up, right?

Professionals stick to the schedule; amateurs let life get in the way.

Professionals know what is important to them and work toward it with purpose; amateurs get pulled off course by the urgencies of life.

When a habit is truly important to you, you must be willing to stick to it in any mood.

Cavett Robert CharacterThe best definition I’ve heard for character is: “the ability to carry out a good resolution, long after the mood in which it was made has left you.“

Professionals act even when the mood isn’t right. They might not enjoy it, but they find a way to put the reps in.

Some customers and prospects dislike our recommended meeting rhythms. They feel boring. This cadence of accountability helps keep focus on priorities, what they should be doing well to achieve their goals, and increases the speed to achieve results.

These habits deliver dramatic results. They’re simple, yet elegant. They make excellence a habit, compounding their success.

Need help building a winning habit for your business? Let us help you get bored creating success!

To create an environment where everyone is inspired to give their best, contact Positioning Systems today to schedule a free exploratory meeting.

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Car-Mirror_-_Leading_Lagging_Indicators-resized-600Leading indicators are more valuable than lagging indicators. Next blog we will share why you should have two leading indicators for every lagging indicator in your business.

Building an enduring great organization requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, superior results, producing a distinctive impact on the world.

4Dx Cadence of AccountabilityDiscipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.

A winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics, and Meeting Rhythms.   Forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance improve dramatically.

Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

Let Positioning Systems help your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $500M+) businesses Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing! Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

NEXT BLOG – Leading Indicators – Two Reasons Your Business Needs Them.The 4 Disciplines of Execution (Two Primary Characteristics of Leading Indicators ) 

Topics: Strategic Discipline, Character, Atomic Habits, James Clear, Flow State, The Goldilocks Rule

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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