The Hulu series “Chance”, features a riveting performance by actor Ethan Suplee. He plays a tough as nails man named D. Suplee modeled a lot of D’s characterization on a man named Tom Kier. Mr. Kier is a master combatives instructor. He is considered a subject matter expert on edged weapons by USSOCOM (The Unites States Special Operations Command). Speaking to Ethan on his fantastic podcast American Glutton, Kier talked about a motivational mindset principle that speaks to the heart of combatives but can be applied to all aspects of life. He calls it ‘Kill Your Clone’ and it goes something like this:
Every night at midnight, you will meet a clone of yourself from 24 hours ago. You will fight your clone to the death. If you have done even one thing to be better than you were twenty-four hours ago, you will be victorious. What have you done to kill your clone today?
This is some scary @$^*! Not because some crazy Auggie clone will be waiting for me at midnight ready to suplex me into oblivion, but because killing this clone demands I do something that terrifies me: it demands that I get off my butt and effect some change. Daily.
Why is change so frightening? I think it’s because when starting any new endeavor, we get overwhelmed by the finished canvas in our heads when we should be concentrating on the initial brush strokes.
In the past, whenever I tried to adopt a healthier lifestyle, I would arrive at that dreaded Monday morning and, in one day, would try to change my diet, attempt to run three miles, and take up meditation. I would short-circuit, throw a tantrum (usually crushing three cheeseburgers in the process), and give up. This insane cycle would repeat over and over until I learned one of the most valuable lessons for anyone striving to make lasting changes: small changes are still changes.
And they are enough to kill your clone.
That’s right, killing your clone does not require enormous feats of endurance and will power every day. Who can do that? I know I can’t. But even small changes are enough to make you better than you were twenty-four hours ago.
For me, change requires two things: time and consistency. There are no short cuts or hacks. To be consistent, I’ve found that I need to make small changes one at a time. I pick one small aspect of my life to change and devote the time to it until it becomes routine.
When I wanted to get in the habit of working out early in the morning. I started by only getting up early in the morning. Two weeks later, when my body got used to the new schedule, I incorporated small workouts.
As soon as I feel comfortable that one change has taken hold, I move on to the next small change and stack it on top of the previous one. It’s a slow and far-from-sexy process, but for me, it is a healthy and sustainable approach. If I stick with this approach, those small changes add up. At some point, I will look back and realize that those stacking changes are adding up to some big ones and I’m the one suplexing the Auggie clone. So please, don’t try to learn AVID, Premiere, After Effects, and Resolve in one week.
As long as I’m always striving to be better at whatever aspect of my life I’m working on, that clone will never win. And this takes me to the other aspect of the ‘Kill Your Clone’ principle that makes it so great. It reminds me that the only competition I have is with myself. The only person I should strive to be better than, is the person I was yesterday.
So get ready. Midnight will be here before you know it.