Losing a Habit Streak

Published on May 4th, 2020

One of the holy grails in personal development is the concept of unconscious competence. It’s the stage where something is so ingrained in you that you can achieve it automatically and without thinking. You probably already do this in several areas of your life without even knowing it. The classic example is driving a car from point A to point B. If you are an experienced driver, you can do this without remembering a single thing you did or saw along the way. Your unconscious mind took over, and you went into autopilot, succeeding without effort.

Wouldn’t it be great to get to this level of mastery and success in other areas of life? Health? Wealth? Relationships? What if you were a master negotiator or had an uncanny knack to make new friends or start new businesses?

Of course, the path to obtaining mastery isn’t without effort. At a minimum, it requires the discipline to develop a habit. And even then, it requires constant improvement until the pattern turns from simple completion to experience and later expertise.

This is why I hate losing a streak.

Recently I was using my Luminosity app as a way to sharpen my mental agility. They have different puzzles that help you improve your attention or speed or flexibility. And for a while, I had a streak of just over 75 days.

And then life happened. And then I missed a day. And I tried to pick it back up, and then I missed a few more days. Now it’s been a few months, and I haven’t been able to regain my attempts.

The road to unconscious competence is worth the effort but hard to sustain the effort. When I lose the streak, it’s even harder to pick it back up again, knowing that it might happen again. Still, every streak starts with a single step. Only then can you get to the final destination.

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CXO of Atomic Form. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.