Warning Zombie Infection Zone
How to stay motivated and keep dreaming while inside cubicle prison surrounded by office Zombies.
The infection was still spreading.
Over the first 6 months at my new job, I had turned my cubicle into a lab for testing treatments on myself.
While observing the indigenous zombies, Prof and I developed dozens of habits, read books, meditated… but we still weren’t quite there. The treatment kept falling short.
Even with all my work, the green, pale patch of skin continued to spread the zombie infection towards my heart.
I needed a cure and fast.
Then it finally came together.
I came into work like any other day walking through the same three locked doors, past the four rows of gray cubicles, and into the skin-tan colored room that housed my cell.
I sat down in my chair on a lazy Friday morning, and suddenly it all came together.
Below I summarize my treatment for the Zombie Career, and with the benefit of hindsight, I’ll walk you through what worked for me.
The Treatment to Zombie Careerism
The treatment to a zombie career is to develop MASSIVE soul dreams and re-enforce them with Bedrock Habits. A soul dream reinforces your identity and inspires you to take action.
Small, boring dreams don’t change you. Big dreams do.
They force you to become a higher level of yourself and give you a reason to endure the hardship required to accomplish your soul dream.
For me, these soul dreams rewired my brain to think differently than the zombies in my office. I became the influencer, not the influenced.
Also, my big dreams picked me up when life kicked me in the nuts. Thinking about a dream in line with my identity helps to refocus me on what matters.
MASSIVE dreams inoculated me to the small goals I found in zombie careers.
What were my dreams?
- Leave a Legacy to my Family: I dreamed of starting my own business, and leaving a legacy of freedom to my yet unborn children. This includes earning enough to buy anything I wanted.
- Freedom: I dreamed of creating a business that would give me freedom. I define freedom in three ways:
- Freedom of Geography: The ability to work effectively from anywhere in the world.
- Freedom of Work: The freedom to work in the way I wanted, in a location that inspired me, and on projects I was passionate about.
- Freedom of Not Working: The ability to step away from my work whenever I want to for however long I want to in order to refresh my soul or spend time with family and friends.
- Purpose: I dreamed of building something larger than myself. For me this means giving time, resources, and energy to projects I believe in while partnering with my church.
- Flow: I dreamed of finding work that I found enjoyable. For me writing, investing, and programming are activities that I enjoy and wanted to engage in more frequently.
- Community: I dreamed of building a business that would bring together like-minded misfits and provide them a creative space to change the world together.
I’m still working towards these dreams.
These dreams could not be fulfilled within someone else’s management structure, and served as a constellation of guiding stars amidst the winds of life.
These same stars continue to direct me today to change my surroundings, my business, and my life.
Think through these categories for your life. What soul dreams motivate you?
Flow: What work tasks do you enjoy doing?
Purpose: Is there a larger purpose that could provide more meaning to your work?
Freedom: What does freedom in work mean to you?
Legacy: What do you want to leave behind for your children, or the next generation?
Community: What community would you like to build or join?
Can you achieve these soul dreams in the environment you’re currently in?
Bedrock Habits to Achieve Your Soul Dreams
As I developed my soul dreams, I realized that I needed to push these dreams deeper inside me to create real change in my life. The mundane experiences of life programmed me to dream small and survive the week. To combat this tendency I embraced habits that reprogrammed me to dream big and thrive.
Below I offer you my Bedrock Habits. These habits trained me to push my dreams into my identity and to take consistent action. Over time, habits and actions accumulate creating life momentum that propelled me forward.
Some habits enable you to achieve a host of positive habits and changes in your life.
I call these Bedrock Habits.
I can count about 57 specific positive habits that I do on a weekly basis. These habits include things like drinking green tea, eating salads, working out, bouncing back from stressful moments, and many others.
All these habits along with numerous other life changes came out of me performing three Bedrock Habits that I started developing in college. These three habits enabled me to continue to add habit after habit, change after change, year after year.
When I stopped one of these habits for 6 months, my motivation cratered, and my other habits began to unravel until I added the Bedrock Habit back into my life. That’s how important they are to me.
Here are my three Bedrock Habits:
- Scheduling and tracking my time
- Developing Time Blocks and Time Goals
- Setting aside a time for meditation and prayer first thing in the morning
Let me walk you through these three Bedrock Habits and how they’ve been so powerful in my life.
Schedule and Track Your Time: It’s strange to me that so many people have no idea where their time goes.
Merely tracking or observing your time allows you to become aware of how your most valuable asset, time, is used.
My schedule has evolved through the years. I recommend breaking your days and weeks into 15 minute increments. Create a weekly schedule and leave time for everything important in your life.
Include time to watch TV, read that guilty pleasure book, or to simply relax.
Your first schedule should attempt to capture a snapshot of your time as you actually spend it. Don’t try to change too much all at once.
Instead, write out one or two time goals as I discuss below.
Try developing a weekly schedule, that you can reuse every week. Tweak it as needed, but there’s no need to recreate the wheel for each week.
Make sure to allow flexibility with your schedule. If you follow your schedule 80% of the time, then it leaves you 20% of the time to be spontaneous.
Take Action with Time Blocks: I’ve found that one of the best ways to reinforce my dreams is to consistently take action toward them.
A time block is a time set aside each day where you work toward a specific goal. Using time blocks, I was able to set aside 1-2 hours almost every day in order to work toward my dreams. I also created set time blocks for meditation, prayer, chores, rest, my family, and workouts.
Scheduling out your week this way frees up space in your mind. You don’t need to revisit these decisions every day, because you’ve already scheduled them into your calendar.
Time blocks help you take small, consistent steps on your larger life journey.
Time Goals: On long-term projects I often have difficulty setting result-oriented goals (i.e. earn $XX in 6 months).
When I begin a big project, I usually don’t have any idea how to achieve my dream. If I set result-oriented goals on these large projects, I rarely hit them. I also can’t plan for the long but necessary rabbit trails that I sometimes need to follow.
In these circumstances, instead of result-oriented goals, I found that setting time goals was more effective. I set goals for the number of hours I would work on my project in a week. These types of goals are completely within your ability to hit even as an amateur with no idea where you’re going.
No crystal ball required, all you need to do is take the next step.
Time blocks and time goals together allowed me to make progress on big dreams every day. As I continued this for years I built a life momentum that propelled me to accomplish some of my biggest dreams.
Tip: Allow slack in your time goals. For example, set a Time Goal of hitting 4 out of 5 time blocks in a week rather than always shooting for 5 out of 5. This allows you to hit your goals every week, and it trains you to be realistic and consistent in the goals you set.
As Tony Robbins says, people tend to overestimate what they can accomplish in 1 year and underestimate what they can accomplish in 10 years.
Although your soul dream may seem like a far-away, impossible goal, all you have to do is take a step towards it every day.
Focus on the journey, and you’ll get there.
Meditation Time Block: Prayer, Healing, and Dreaming
I almost didn’t include this in my article. The moments I spend in this time block are sacred to me.
However, if I’m honest with myself, this time block has produced most of the most transformational moments in my life. I also believe that none of my other accomplishments would have happened without it.
My Morning Routine
Right after I wake up, I grab a yogurt or some eggs, and fill up my Marvel Superhero mug with green tea. Then I go into my bathroom, turn on the fan for white noise, and open my journal. During this time I do a number of different things depending on my mood.
Below are some examples of what I do:
I often read quotes or scriptures that are meaningful to me.
These words become mantras for my life. One example is Ps 23:1-3 from the Bible. I took this scripture and rewrote it in my own words. I read these words slowly, observing each word and experiencing its meaning.
Since I struggle with stress, anxiety, and the rare panic attack, I’ve found this tool to be very useful.
I also use breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation techniques to bounce back from various forms of anxiety.
2. Experiencing Songs
Deeply experiencing a song is a beneficial tool I use in my early morning time block.
Typically there are one or two songs that express what I am feeling at any point in time. I choose songs that express a meaningful spiritual element of my life.
Taking time to experience emotions through a song provides me a cathartic moment that can solidify ideas into beliefs or dreams into my identity.
Without these catalytic, experiential moments, ideas and dreams stay external and don’t translate into meaningful change.
Experiencing and conveying meaningful emotions through songs, mantras, or self-talk is also a way of training myself to wield powerful influence on my own emotions. Learning to project and convey my deepest convictions is fundamental to improving my motivation level and influencing other people.
3. Prayer as a Self-Improvement Tool
Leaving my own beliefs about prayer, religion, and all that other important stuff out of this discussion, I can still say that prayer is a powerful self improvement tool.
Prayer is another catalyst for deepening your ideas and dreams. There are also a number of Psyche hacks that I believe are performed most effectively during a time of prayer. One example is handing off things you can’t control to God. Specifically, a God who loves you, is all-powerful and has your best interest in mind.
I’ll have to expand on these psyche hacks in a future post since I’ve run out of space in this one.
Re-scripting Your Life
Inevitably, the bigger your dreams the more discipline is required to achieve them.
These were the habits I used during my time in cubicle prison that prepared me to launch out on my own.
Although the treatment didn’t ever fully cure me from the influence of a Zombie Careerism, it did provide an effective daily treatment.
Want to read more? Stay tuned or join my email list to receive notifications when I publish next week’s article.
Now it’s your turn. Drop a comment in the box below and tell me about your Bedrock Habits. I’d love to pick up a few more tools for my toolbox!
Author: Joseph Terndrup
Hi! I’m Joseph, the founder of underdoglife.net. I’m a passionate entrepreneur who loves to write about start-ups, passive income, and achieving your purpose. I work on projects that I find purpose in with people who I believe in then tell you all about it on my blog. Take a few minutes and drop me a message. I’d love to chat!