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I noticed something at the tail end of last year that kind of threw me…

Imagine this: It’s Christmas day, my dad is here with his wife, and my kids are unwrapping presents on the floor. My grandmother calls to wish us a merry day.

My dad puts her on speakerphone, so we can all hear her at once, and then he yells into the phone his best wishes.

It’s my turn next, and I do the same. “Hi Grandma,” I yell into the phone. “Merry Christmas! How’s the weather in Florida? You should have sent us some of that warm weather instead of gifts. We’re freezing.”

She yells back that it’s not as warm as we think. And then it happens…

It’s the kids’ turn to talk into the phone. But, instead of yelling like my dad and me, they don’t raise their voices. Both of them talk completely normal into the phone—speaking the way they always do.

And, just as I was putting my hand on Warner’s shoulder to tell him to speak up, it occurred to me that he doesn’t have to. My grandmother hears him just fine.

His regular voice carries through the phone without issue. It’s my dad and me who are yelling for no reason.

So what happened here?

At some point the technology built into speakerphones got to the point where we no longer need to yell. Yet everyone I know—including my dad and me—shouts when they’re on speaker mode. Clearly, at some point in time, this was the norm.

But how long have I been yelling into speakerphones when it wasn’t the norm? Did they change in the year 2010 and I’ve been yelling into them unnecessarily for 9 years since? Or is it a fairly new thing? Maybe they changed just last year and I didn’t notice?

And how did my kids notice first? My dad yelled. I yelled. But neither kid followed suit, even though they always follow suit on other things. I step on to an escalator, then they step on. I make to-do lists when I need to get a lot done, and now they make to-do lists whenever they need to get a lot done.

How did they break this pattern of watching me to see how something is done in favor of their own way (the right way) of not yelling into a phone?

My best guess is that it’s the power of habit.

My dad and I have a habit of yelling into a phone when it’s on speaker and they don’t. They saw it wasn’t necessary and, because they have no habit to break, they just didn’t do it.

Meanwhile, my dad and me have maybe 9+ years of habit to break. It’s likely even today that if someone calls me on a speakerphone, I might yell into it until I catch myself.

Here’s how we can use this to our advantage in travel writing and photography:

For starters, the obvious answer is to take a look at the habits we currently have and ask ourselves if they’re working for us or not.

Instead of coming straight home from work or a day out with friends to watch the news or T.V., try to break that habit just once to get something else done instead.

And on the other end of the spectrum, you could use this power of habit to make a really big change. Like making it a habit to get up every morning and do some yoga before a shower. Then head straight to the computer to look up publications for your travel stories. Or spend an hour a day with online courses learning photography.
365 days of that could build something really big.

If you missed our sale of the landscape photography program—that’s really about creating amazing travel images—with a look inside a successful photographer’s business to see what’s working for him, you’ll find it here.

We’re hosting an encore for the next three days because we had some technical difficulties last week. And, I forgot to add something to the product, so there’s been a delay in our fulfillment of it to some customers.

Check it out and imagine what your life would look like if this were your habit every day.

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