“Circe, a goddess and sorcerer, had kept Odysseus and his crew on her enchanted island for an entire year. But now, as her parting gift, she told him that the Sirens tailored their songs to each voyager, preying on his unique weaknesses and selfish tendencies. ‘The Greek gods knew we are our own worst enemies,’ Stan said. ‘So Circe told Odysseus exactly what to do.” …
Analyzing Odysseus’s strategy to help us resist or defeat our modern Sirens is not as simple as tying yourself to a mast—even if you had one handy. I came up with the following precommitment rules for modern voyagers:
Know who or what your Sirens are and how they will tempt you. You may have Sirens or temptations specific to each and every goal you set. You may have weaknesses that undermine most of your efforts at change. Some common ones: (1) You don’t set enough time to pursue your personal goals, and (2) You’re easily distracted, so that no goal gets the focused attention it needs. Tailor your contract or strategy to avoid these temptations.”
This is awesome.
Did you know that the Sirens tailored their seductive songs for each voyager’s weaknesses?
That’s the first I’ve heard of that but I absolutely LOVE it.
In our Master Class series I keep on coming back to what I’ve been calling your “kryptonite.” Sirens = the same thing.
We ALL (!) have little (or big) weaknesses. A spectrum of slightly sub-optimal → seriously stupid things we do when our willpower is depleted and we’re a little tired/stressed/wobbly.
It’s *REALLY* important that we identify these weaknesses so we can create some pre-commitments with ourselves so we don’t drive the ship right into the rocks!
So, what are yours?
What songs do those seductive Sirens whisper in YOUR ear?
This is worth reflecting on and writing down.
These are some of the sweet melodies Sirens sing to me:
(btw: In his new book Originals, Adam Grant tells us that you’d feel better about yourself if you challenged yourself to find TWELVE songs that were challenging you. You’d get thru the first few easily and then have a harder time coming up with twelve—and think you’re not so bad off! But with only three you tend to think you’re kinda struggling. And… Interestingly, if you’re capturing the stuff you appreciate in your life, research shows you’re (somewhat paradoxically) better off limiting it to three things rather than going for twelve. By making it easy to note a few things you think you’re crushing it and feel better about yourself whereas if you struggle to come up with twelve things you tend to think something must be wrong!)
Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
You identify your 12 greatest Sirens hits? Fantastic. Now, identify the #1 Siren song/kryptonite and make an Odysseus contract.
Just like Odysseus had his men tie him to the mast (while they stuffed bees wax in their ears) YOU need to PRECOMMIT as well.
Quit being surprised by the Sirens and know in advance what you’ll do to avoid crashing!
In HABITS 101 I talk about “If-Then Cue Triggers.” (Check out the class!)
IF you hear the Sirens sing _____________________________________ (fill in blank)
THEN you will do ___________________________________________.
Know it. Rock it.