Don't Break the Chain
Vol. XV of Path Nine's Weekly Reflection and Recommendations
Happy Sunday, friends.
Welcome to this week’s Path Nine Reflections and Recommendations. Each issue aims to enhance your thinking, lifestyle, and work by sharing distilled reflections and recommendations from the past two weeks.
Don’t feel like scrolling? Here’s the tldr version:
Reflection: Don't Break the Chain (aka the Seinfeld Method).
Rec: Product, Tool, or Framework: WritetoGrow.
Have a calm, productive, and creative week!
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“Perseverance is not a long race; it's many short races one after the other.”
◎ Don't Break the Chain (aka the Seinfeld Method)
‘Never give up!'
'Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.'
These phrases have been beaten into us relentlessly. They're the focus of the inspiration posters that line the halls of our doctor's office, liberally sprinkled throughout legendary speeches, and a hallmark of our favorite sports movies.
But when it comes down to it, they're just words.
The problem with these phrases is that they offer macro-level advice for a micro-level problem. They tell you to climb the mountain, not take another step toward the summit.
Amid difficulties, not quitting becomes a statement of personal conviction and determination.
Not quitting is a mindset, a conscious decision to persist even when the journey becomes difficult or impossible. It involves embracing the discomfort of uncertainty, facing the fear of failure, and pushing through moments of doubt.
The "Don't Break the Chain" method, also known as the Seinfeld Method, is a productivity strategy that involves committing to a daily goal and marking an "x" on a calendar for each day the goal is accomplished. Although he claims no association with its creation, this strategy was initially inspired by legendary comedian and creator Jerry Seinfeld (featured below in the recommended listening).
Research has shown that 'grit', characterized by perseverance and consistent effort, increases engagement and academic achievement in adolescents. Shockingly, the same research also found that goal commitment plays a more important role than a growth mindset.
Creating a chain of consecutive "x's" makes the streak visually rewarding and motivates you not to break the chain. The method focuses your brain on small, achievable steps that move you closer to a goal, one step at a time. It also takes your mind off the goal and allows you to focus on actions. Further, this method activates the brain's reward system and harnesses the power of small wins.
Consistency is what separates those with dreams from those with big wins. Set the big goals, but focus on consistency and dedication—the rest will take care of itself.
✪ Rec: Product, Tool, or Framework
WritetoGrow is a product I recently stumbled upon via X (formerly Twitter). The app offers a unique and immersive writing experience that leverages the “Don’t Break the Chain” method to help writers increase consistency.
Here’s how it works:
log into the app
write for 2 minutes a day
While the app does offer other features that might be interesting and novel, its ability to enforce and create a writing habit might be its best feature. Whether you need a writing streak tracker or not, I hope this inspires you to break down your big goals and new year resolutions into manageable, little steps.
✪ Rec: Reading
In her New York Times Bestseller, Angela Duckworth delves into what is colloquially known as 'grit.' As the daughter of a scientist and a psychologist, Duckworth shares valuable insights on how grit can be developed, irrespective of one's intelligence quotient (I.Q.) or circumstances. I love how she reframes such a simple concept and provides a compass for one to use grit to find their way out of the most challenging personal and professional conditions.
✪ Rec: Watching
Elizabeth Gilbert, the renowned author of "Eat, Pray, Love," contemplates success, failure, and continual dedication to creative pursuits. Her speech inspires me to continue developing a resilient mindset that embraces achievements and challenges as part of the journey and softly reminds us, “Don’t Break the Chain.”
✪ Rec: Listening
Seinfeld is a comedic legend. And Tim Ferris is a productivity expert. When the two meet, it’s like striking gold. In this podcast, Seinfeld reveals the secrets behind his greatness, consistency, and pursuit of perfection. If you implement the “Seinfeld Method,” shouldn’t you hear from the man himself first?
Fellow Pathfinder hype links and shoutouts.
White Noise by Tom White - White Noise is a newsletter written by (my friend) Tom White. Each week, Tom distills and compiles insights from his reading, listening, conversations, and personal experiences. His writing is inspiring, uplifting, and thought-provoking. It’s one of the rare newsletters that I make time for each and every week. Check it out ↗︎
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And, just in case you missed it…
Here are some things that I’ve written and shared that people enjoyed.
Until Next Time!
That’s it for this week. As always, if you like the content, please do me a favor and share it with your friends — this newsletter runs on overpriced whiskey and reader engagement.
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Thanks for reading, and see you soon,
— Kevin K. (@kkirkpatrick)