Proximity bias…

The greatest predictor of who you’ll marry? Proximity. Long distance relationships are difficult. We know this. We have a bias toward those who live close to us. This is not bad or good, it’s simply a fact. Doesn’t this make sense?

We also have a proximity bias when it comes to dealing with new people entering our club, charity, company, or community. We tend to not want strangers breaking into our club or community because we’ve grown close to those closest to us and fear the outsider will somehow mess it up. This is the root behind sibling rivalry and all kinda rivalries. Ohio State and Michigan are rivals; Ohio State and Kansas, not so much. Ohio State and California, not much at all. Proximity matters. Make sense?

We are comfortable with the status quo. Sometimes really comfortable. Sometimes too comfortable. If you and I are to settle for the mediocre middle, we don’t need to do much different or difficult. We simply need to keep doing what we’re doing, establish a rut, and repeat the behaviors, processes, and disciplines that led us here. If your aim is at excellence, you’re gonna need to fight against all kinda biases. “Proximity, either or, availability, actor/observer, focus and blindness,” and on and on they go. You see, friend, you and I are naturally biased to what we know. This is why travel, reading challenging books, doing hard things, and hanging out with people unlike you, is so good for your brain.

Routine is good. You are what you habitually do. And, break out of even your high performance habits every so often. Mix it up. Try new things. Remember, you can only do what you have learned to do. Stop allowing your brain to fixate on what’s top of mind – what’s proximate if you will. The greatest predictor of whether you’ll master something comes down to your ability to marry the mundane and try new things, take risks, and force yourself to change – deeply change. Who knows, this same recipe might be an accurate predictor of who stays married. Funny, huh.

What, friend, are you learning to master your craft?

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