It is worth wondering why is there a humongous rise in pressure, stress and mental health issues at work as compared to the olden times. Having recently finished off the book Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel, it beautifully expains and tell that –
46% of jobs, in 1870, were in agriculture, and 35% were in crafts or manufacturing, according to economist Robert Gordon. You didn’t think; you labored, without interruption, and your work was visible and tangible.
Today, that’s flipped. Thirty-eight percent of jobs are now designated as “managers, officials, and professionals.” These are decision-making jobs. 41% are service jobs that often rely on thoughts as much as your actions.
Our jobs that look closer to the ‘Thinkers’ than a typical 1950s manufacturing worker, which means our days don’t end when we clock out and leave the factory. We’re constantly working in our heads, it feels like work never ends.
How do we improve?
There are external environments that affect our health such as the work culture, people, sleep, etc. But how can we improve our internal forces? This is where Daniel Kahneman‘s theory of ‘Two Thoughts’ comes in place.
System 1 of our brain is fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, unconscious. System 2 is slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious. When it comes to the Think Tank Jobs, we tend to use logics, calculations and conscious i.e System 2. But what if this decision making is done by System 1? How can we be faster, automatic and unconscious? Can it actually be possible? Yes.
It is when Malcolm Gladwell‘s (Outliers) Theory of 10,000 hours of practice comes into place! As Gladwell tells it, it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials. The key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way. (conditions applied)
Lastly, what is the condition applied in this process provided by Gladwell?
The condition of automacity and improvements. This could be explained by James Clear in his book Atomic Habits! There is nothing magical about time passing with regard to habit formation. It doesn’t matter if it’s been twenty-one days or thirty days or three hundred days. What matters is the rate at which you perform the behavior.
You could do something twice in thirty days, or two hundred times. It’s the frequency that makes the difference. Your current habits have been internalized over the course of hundreds, if not thousands, of repetitions.
New habits require the same level of frequency. You need to string together enough successful attempts until the behaviour is firmly embedded in your mind. It doesn’t really matter how long it takes for a habit to become automatic. What matters is that you take the actions you need to take to make the progress.