Fashion is not simply about clothing.
Dressing better is one component to self-improvement:
- Feeling confident
- Feeling motivated
- Feeling self-worth
- Being able to compete and provide for self and family
Dressing better is about forming a disciplined habit of self-improvement
There are two numbers that are often seen floating around the self-help literature about self-improvement and habit formation: 21 and 10,000
Back in the ‘60s, a plastic surgeon who became a psychologist wrote a book called “Psycho-Cybernetics”
- Amazon Reference: https://www.amazon.com/Psycho-Cybernetics-New-More-Living-Life/dp/0671700758
- Wikipedia Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psycho-Cybernetics
- The author made an observation that patients who had plastic surgery took about 21 days to get used to their new appearance, and made a couple other observations that seemed to suggest that it takes 21 days for a person to become accustomed to a home, appearance, habit, etc.
- He then used this to make the claim that one must do something for 21 days and it will become “automatic”
- The problem is, this wasn’t based on any kind of real research – it was just a suggestion
- However, the “21 days” myth has become cemented in people’s minds
- Maybe you’ve heard that “it takes 21 days to form a habit.” Now you know it’s false.
However, it is true that the more you do something, the more it becomes “automatic”
- “Automatic” is just what you think it is – it is a habit that is so ingrained that you don’t have to consciously “will yourself” to do it
- Many smokers find that smoking is simply automatic – it’s like their hands do all the work and they don’t even have to think about it.
- The “21 days” myth isn’t so bad except that it may set people up for discouragement
- The truth is: how long it takes to form a habit is highly dependent upon the person
- One study at University College London that measured habit formation found that, depending on the person, forming a habit could take from 18 all the way up to 254 days in their sample.
- However, they did find that the more consistent a person was performing the behavior, the sooner the behavior became automatic.
Here’s their report on these studies: https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/hbrc/2012/06/29/busting-the-21-days-habit-formation-myth/
The moral of the story is: it can take a while – and lots of consistency – to form a habit. Don’t be discouraged if it seems to be taking some time. In many cases forming a habit means destroying old habits that have been forming for years.
What old habits could these be?
- Doing clothes shopping “the way you always have”
- Waking up and dressing yourself “the way you always have”
- Managing your finances “the way you always have”
Changing these habits means willful, consistent effort for a period of time until it is so ingrained that you don’t have to think about it.
Another number you may have seen is 10,000.
Malcolm Gladwell has recently written a very popular book called Outliers.
- Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017930
- Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_(book)
In it, he repeatedly states what he calls the “10,000-Hour Rule.” That is, that the difference between a novice and an expert in any field is around 10,000 hours of willful practice.
- Like the 21-Hour Myth, this really is an average number. It’s not like some magic switch is turned on at the 10,000 mark.
- But unlike the Myth, it is based on some interesting research.
When people see a young musical prodigy performing complex and difficult pieces, it is very tempting to write it off as the result of some kind of inborn gene.
- However, psychologists really haven’t found much evidence that some people are just “born with” musical talent.
- Instead, “child prodigies” are just people who showed an interest and began practicing at a very early age. This isn’t just exposure or experience, but deliberate practice.
- Overview of expert performance in sports, music, typing, etc. being primarily the result of deliberate practice: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1553-2712.2008.00227.x/full
- Think about it: if a child begins basic piano lessons at the age of three, and practices 3 hours every day until they are 13, they have logged over 10,000 hours of practice on the piano.
- That’s 10 years of solid practice – it can take this long for an MD to get through their education.
- So if you ever hear somebody say, “I would give anything to be able to play music like that!” your response should be, “You mean everything… except practice!”
Does this mean that every habit you want to form will take 10,000 hours of practice?
Dressing well, being confident, etc. are indeed lifelong pursuits, but they’re also not rocket science or the same as playing the piano.
The 10,000-Hour Rule is the difference between a novice and a world-class expert.
But you’re probably not taking this course to be a world-class expert in fashion; you’re just taking it to start you on the road to self-improvement.
Therefore, my advice to you is this: PRACTICE
10 hours is better than 1 hour. 100 hours is better than 10. Etc.
Everything in the course requires practice in order to succeed: Color matching, learning fabrics and fit, learning what is appropriate in various social circumstances, etc.
This means every now and then, you’ll make a mistake
- But the point is – don’t give up. It’s all about PRACTICE.