Chris Hannah

Success Is a Lagging Indicator

Ryan Holiday:

The solution to my writer’s block that day was not to write at all. It was to stop for the day and go research the topic more. It was to go for a run and a walk. It was to do the prep work.Success as a lagging indicator is a phenomenon that holds true across most areas in life.When I look in the mirror and I’m a little flabby, that is a lagging indicator that, for weeks and months, I’ve slacked on eating healthy and exercising.

This is something that I think I need to keep reminding myself of. It’s obvious once explained, but also, for me, something I tend to forget quite quickly.

In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear explains why being goal-oriented is not the best way to progress in the long term. And instead of having an outcome-driven process, it’s much more effective for your actions to be identity-based.

By basing your actions on an identity, it can be easier to do the right things. Since you aren’t chasing a singular goal, you are aiming to be the kind of person that would achieve that goal. For example, instead of having a goal to write a book, work on becoming a book writer. Focussing on a goal can mean you forget about the process. As he writes in the book, “winners and losers can have the same goal”.

However, if you let a desired identity become the core of your habits, the processes will fall into place, and eventually will the outcomes. Put simply, if you keep putting in the work, success will be something that just happens as a result of your actions.

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