Under Normal Circumstances…

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In the 4-Hour Chef, Tim Ferriss shares the story of a restaurant owner who beat a life-threatening disease. After barely surviving, he came back to his business and flipped it on its head: He questioned everything, did the opposite of what almost every traditional restaurant did, and had his business ranked the #1 restaurant in the U.S. not long after.

When things are normal, nothing happens.

No one wants to move. Change does not occur. People want to stick with the status quo. We lull ourselves to sleep without even knowing it. We get comfortable with as-is. Things don’t get better. And since the world is always moving, static situations by default can only get worse. But it happens so slowly, creeps in so gradually, we don’t even see it.

Normal is our area of safety. Many people strive their entire lives for safety. They get there and slowly slide backwards to death without even knowing it.

Your job as a thermostat is to create the abnormal.

The abnormal is a fresh, new situation — that you may or may not have wanted — that forces change. Like a heart attack or beating cancer or getting shot 5 times at close range, for example. The abnormal forces new ways of thinking, the disposal of long-held beliefs, the sacrificing of scared cows. The abnormal makes you question every single thing that may have caused this change. Forces you to address the not-that-great-but-not-that-bad situations and either fix them (sometimes) or get rid of them completely (usually).

The abnormal doesn’t have to be physical or a natural disaster or even something you can see with your eyes. It can take place in your mind. And the better you get at creating it, the faster and more efficiently change happens.

Unless, that is, you’re ok with the status quo.

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