‘X’Factor: X-traordinary Habits

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”

~Jimmy Johnson

When we really look at it- do those people we call extraordinary people do things astronomically different from what other not so extraordinary people do?

Your guess is as good as mine- They’re willing to go a few steps beyond the rest of the crowd and thus turning around ordinary levels of effort, persistence and passion into extraordinary levels of same which in turn would generate X-traordinary results.

The 10% Delta

In reality, when we check to see what led to this difference, it could be as trivia as assignments completed as expected or even class attendance or some more hours put into studying.

It’s the little extra push the “A” students make that differentiates them from the “B” students and likewise the “B” students from the “C” students.

We’re born X-traordinary

“You have something special. You have greatness in you. You have the ability to do more than you can ever begin to imagine.”

– Les Brown

According to Dr. Sukhi Muker, renowned wellness doctor, author and global speaker; the first structure that developed in our mother’s womb was the human nervous system comprising the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves an array of neurotransmitters.

Dr. Sukhi went on to state that the intelligence within our nervous system takes us from 1 cell to 1trillion cells even before we’re born. When you then combine this with the fact that each of those cells in the body [so each of those 1trillion cells] would eventually engage in 100 thousand chemical reactions per second as reported by Fritz Albert Popp [leading biophysicist) – Then you get nothing but pure awesomeness!

This is so deep, so profound and so mind boggling. This for me is not ordinary, this is X-traordinary. And so even from birth, we’re already designed to be X-traordinary humans! The only thing is how fast and well we can unleash the X-tra in the ordinary to become truly X-traordinary!

There are a few things we can do to truly deploy the X Habits in all we do every day that will enabke us turn the ordinary into the X-traordinary. We call these things the X-Factor.

1) basic routine cycles: Leverage Kata

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine”.

– Mike Murdock

Kata involves deliberate, repetitive practice to master. In martial arts, kata is choreographed patterns of movement that are practiced until mastery of a single form is achieved.

The practice is applied again and again to learn and eventually master each small set of movements. In application, Kata is basically a form, routine, or pattern of behavior that can be practiced to develop a skill to the point where it becomes second nature.

To bring this home, we need to first align on our optimum weekly routine, deliberately focusing on implementing each element in the right frequency [daily or weekly as the case may be]. With this, we will not only ensure the culture and thus habit is second nature, we will also lead to ways in which we can feedback on our routine and continuously improve our routine every single time.

When this happens, we will deliberately form a habit. Forming a habit develops new skills. With new skills comes increased confidence in one’s abilities to recognize and make small improvements that keep a person (or a process) in top form continuously. 

A kata is a small but well-structured protocol or routine that becomes second nature through practice, and brings about the development of a particular skill. The point of the kata is not the memorization of the routines, but rather is the habits of thought and action that practicing them leaves behind.

In other words, when we deploy the kata approach, we set ourselves to becoming X-traordinary through the means of acquisition of new cognitive and behavioral skills, such as process improvement. Furthermore, a kata makes these skills transferable to others – an essential part of developing a sustained culture of continuous improvement within an organization.

2) X-amine more deeply: Unwrap your Childhood Curiosity

“The power to question is the basis of all human progress”.

– Indira Gandhi

A lot of times, we see things in binary terms. According to Harvard Business School Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi ‘we often see the world in binary terms’. But in reality, this is not the case. We need to ask ourselves the childlike kind of questions…recall the way a child asks ‘why’ at least 5 times to satisfy their curiosity?

For instance- why can’t we consider the power of ‘and’ vs ‘or’ in some cases or consider ‘both’ vs ‘either’ in other cases.

Allowing ourselves go knee deep in curiosity as we see with little children will help us truly unlock these pertinent questions and seek to answer them accordingly – inching closer to being X-traordinary

3) X-plore: more keenly:  Never stop learning, never stop yearning.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Full writing-systems appear to have been invented centuries ago- first in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) where cuneiform was used between 3400 and 3300 BC, and shortly afterwards in Egypt at around 3200 BC. So basically, we have been in the business of information processing for quite a while!

For me, one of the greatest innovations man has been able to unlock is the ability to transmit knowledge that transcends the barrier of time.

We have at our disposal knowledge dated many centuries ago alongside cutting-edge information today. The best teacher is experience as they say …certainly not experience from your mistakes but experience from others! We can become the best version of ourselves from learning from hybrid forms of experience [90% from others 10% from we ourselves… or better still, 95% | 5% respectively]

4) X-press your humanity: Love unconditionally

“Spread love. Hug the people you care about and make sure they know that you care and appreciate them. Make it known to your friends and family that you love them.”

― Germany Kent

Tony Robbins perfectly explained how ‘the secret to living is giving.’ This phrase has resonated with me for a long time and was further clarified by Dr. Wayne Dyer when he explained how serotonin is released in the brain when we give to others.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that chemically rewards us for behavior that is adaptive and good for our wellbeing. At the same time, it relieves sadness and depression – it’s called the ‘feel-good hormone.’ Serotonin is released during acts of kindness, especially giving. Serotonin isn’t released only in the person giving, but also in the recipient and in observers.

Giving to others brings manifold positive effects in social groups and directly connects with our purpose. We each want to feel good. We feel even better when others feel good, too. In this way, giving to others becomes a central part of our true purpose. Don’t you get that incredible feeling when you give go others? This is one of the ways to be truly X-traordinary

5) X-emplify the right thing

“The more you do, the more experience you have and the next time it will be easier to choose the right thing.”

– Andy Lau

We’re all guided as humans by our moral compass. This is our internal set of principles -that inner conscience or mirror. Our principles set us in the right direction and prevent us from going astray.

Generally, our principles ensure that we stay in line with our expectations for ourselves. You might ask, why do we need these rules? Well, your guess is as good as mine. The nice-to-have freedom of choice in what we want to do may not always match what we need to do.

To truly get onto the X Factor state where we X-hibit X-traordinary Habits, we must ensure our inner compass stays consistent with our outward activities. We need to strive to model the right things as much as we humanly can. This would be further guided by our spirituality [connection to our maker] and would be linked directly to our purpose as it complements our passion and skills

X-Hibit that little X-tra:

It’s the few X-tras we plug into our daily lives that get us the X-Factor and ensure we deploy those X-traordinary habits. In turn, those X-traordinary habits would become mainstream via Micro-steps and leveraging the Cue-Routine-Reward habit Loop cycle by Charles Duhigg

This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual

Sources / Further reading

Courtnell. J., (2020): What is Kata? Toyota’s Karate Concept for Lean continuous Improvement and Coaching Success. Process.st

Duhigg, Charles (2014). The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks

Enang. I., (2021) Don’t Set Goals… Achieve them! The Practical Guide to Building Momentum to Achieve your Goals

Merle, A., (2020): This is how many hours you should really be working. Work life

Nag. U., (2021) Karate Kata: History, Role in Martial Arts, Rules and Scoring. Olypics.com

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