Through the late 2000s, round after I began this weblog, there was a pattern amongst younger male entrepreneurs referred to as “Monk Mode.”
Everybody had a unique thought of what that time period meant, however usually it referred to taking a particular time period – every week to 3 months or extra – to focus with uncommon depth on sure vital and fruitful pursuits, whereas abstaining from sure distracting or self-defeating actions.
Considerably like a monk, you’d voluntarily undertake a typical of heightened self-discipline, following just a few non-negotiable guidelines, to be able to convey sure vital issues to the fore of your life. An individual would possibly do that to be able to launch a web site, end a manuscript, or return to the extent of health they loved in faculty.
The final time I heard this phrase was round 2009, and on the time it appeared indistinguishable from “working laborious till I end this present challenge,” which is what I used to be all the time making an attempt to do anyway.
The Historical Artwork of Exponential Progress
Lately I heard the time period Monk Mode once more, and it had a hoop to it that it didn’t earlier than. In intervening years I’d been on 5 silent retreats, semi-monastic environments through which you sequester your self from social and digital diversions, and dwell by sure guidelines of conduct referred to as precepts, to be able to create the very best circumstances for advancing your meditation observe in a comparatively quick time.
It actually works. In seven or ten days you may completely degree up your contemplative abilities, maybe as a lot as you’d in a number of years of extra informal each day observe, due to this quick and intense emphasis on one factor.
This sort of routine needs to be quick although. As potent as a silent retreat is, every week or extra away from the world is difficult to rearrange, and maintaining that normal for months or years isn’t sensible. Too many issues need to be sacrificed for too lengthy.
The precept behind the retreat format may be very highly effective although: double down on sure vital actions, abstain from behaviors that undermine these efforts, and restrict this intensified routine to a brief sufficient interval that you may really full it, reasonably than stop in a huff or drift away from it progressively.
Monk Mode, as I conceive of it, is a approach of leveraging this precept to a much less intense diploma. You continue to concentrate on a sure type of self-development work for a brief interval (maybe writing, meditating, training piano, or lifting barbells), you continue to decide to an inventory of no-no’s throughout that point (maybe no alcohol, no social media, or no sugar), however other than that you just dwell life usually.
Basically you’re committing to a brand new way of life normal in sure respects, however for a brief sufficient time that you may maintain the trouble to the top.
You would possibly enter Monk Mode for a lot of causes:
- To complete a selected challenge
- To get previous a plateau, or out of a rut
- To go deeper into an exercise than you will have earlier than
- To get again into one thing you’ve been neglecting
- To finish a interval of complacency
For instance, say you need to get again to your pre-pandemic degree of health. The standard method to go about that is the decision method. You slam your fist on the desk, maybe actually, and declare, “Sufficient is sufficient! Beginning in the present day I’m going to work out once more and cease consuming crap!” Basically, you’re making a lifelong dedication to dwell with larger self-discipline and sacrifice, with nothing behind it however the emotional surge you feel on this second. You already understand how this tends to go.
What if, as a substitute, you might enter a 14-day Monk Mode, through which you go to the gymnasium thrice every week, abstain from meals with added sugar, and stretch dutifully each morning and night. This dedication is finite and doable, and can undoubtedly put you on a significantly better trajectory by the top of it. Then you determine a smart subsequent step, from the brand new and extra assured place your stint in Monk Mode has introduced you to.
If fourteen days is an excessive amount of, make it seven. If abstaining from all added sugar is an excessive amount of, simply do it for the breakfast meal. Dial the usual and length to settings you already know you may full.
4 Important Substances
Theoretically, you are able to do something together with your Monk Mode interval. Possibly you need to deep clear the home, full an internet cooking course you acquire final yr, or learn a giant chunk of Joan Didion’s work. Possibly you need to enhance your bench press after a prolonged plateau, get away from TikTok and Reddit, or write a tune for the primary time in a decade.
(There are undoubtedly parallels right here to the Depth Yr, in case you’re accustomed to the idea, solely with a better and extra achievable horizon.)
Regardless of the aim, I consider Monk Mode plan ought to all the time contain:
- A dedication to do sure quantities of sure varieties of labor
- A dedication to abstain from sure distractions or vices
- Particular guidelines for each of these items
- A particular begin and cease date
No matter your specific commitments are, they need to really feel difficult however completely doable for the length you’ve chosen. Bold however not audacious.
Additionally they should be exact. Not “Begin understanding once more,” however reasonably, “Do the Stronglifts program thrice every week for 2 weeks.”
That’s my mind-set about it, anyway. In case you learn on-line accounts of Monk Mode, they’re all completely different. A lot of them advocate lengthy durations (one to 3 months) and contain isolating your self socially considerably, à la Thoreau. I can see how that may enable you enter a nose-to-grindstone mentality, however it will additionally make this loads much less accessible for most individuals. (As I stated, Monk Mode followers have traditionally been principally younger, entrepreneur-scene dudes.)
It does make sense to pick out solitary actions, nevertheless. Monk Mode is a dedication to dealing with your personal hesitation and complacency, typically within the type of taking over bodily instruments in a devoted workspace – simply you and the barbell, the canvas, or the works of George Orwell.
My 10-day Monk Mode Experiment
I’m going to do a brief Monk Mode as my subsequent Raptitude experiment.
My most important objectives are to reinvigorate my meditation observe as I put together for a correct silent retreat in September, and to remind my physique what it’s prefer to elevate barbells and go away alcohol and refined carbs out of my food regimen.
Versus my normal health-focused campaigns, I’m not doing this with any form of “from at the present time ahead” sort decision, only a very doable 10-day stint of upper requirements in these areas.
Every day, for the ten days, I’m going to:
- Meditate 50 minutes within the morning and have at the very least one different sitting of at the very least 10 minutes
- Keep away from all grains, added sugar, cheese, and potatoes
- Abstain from alcohol and different substances
I’m additionally going to:
- Quick fully on two of the times
- Do power coaching six of eight the non-fasting days and run on the opposite two
These are the parameters of my Monk Mode this time. I count on this routine to convey me, after ten days, to a spot the place I really feel bodily and mentally fairly good. It also needs to break the momentum of sure late summer season laissez-faire consumption habits.
This experiment additionally occurs to be alternative to confront one other long-held aversion, which is posting myself in video format. As a substitute of solely doing the same old written updates on the experiment log, I’ll additionally put up video updates on Raptitude’s new Instagram profile. You may observe me there if you wish to monitor my progress or are in any other case curious.
In case you’d love to do your personal Monk Mode challenge, be happy to share your plans within the feedback right here or on the experiment log web page.
If you design your personal routine, simply keep in mind to make it modest and quick sufficient that you already know you’ll full it. You may go for the gold subsequent time – this time simply make a end line you may attain.