Jason Comely


Last Known Working Configuration

Here’s an easy mindhack for identifying things you enjoy doing, things you’re good at, and what makes you happiest.

It’s based on a Microsoft Windows feature called the Last Known Working Configuration, also known as a rollback.

Use it to get back on track when life starts to suck. Here’s how to do it.


Think back to when things were going great for you. A happy period in your life. Take the time to recall what activities you were doing from dawn to dusk.

In particular, what you were doing on a regular basis? For example, were you going to the gym every day? What was your diet like? Were you painting? Playing guitar in a band? You get the idea. Write this down.


Now… recall another span of time in your life when things were going well. It may be years before or after the first happy period of your life. Again, what was a typical day like back then? What were you doing on a regular basis that worked for you? Write it down.


Now compare the two lists. See any matches? If you do, start there. Resume those daily activities. They are what Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit calls keystone habits. They affect other seemingly unrelated aspects of your life for the better.

For example, regular exercise is a keystone habit. When you start exercising consistently, you start eating better, feeling calmer and stronger, sleeping better and so on.

Making the bed is apparently another keystone habit.

A match may also uncover a hidden passion or talent, an ability that allowed you to express your individuality or be of service to others. Restart it and see if it doesn’t make your life a whole lot better.

For insights on the creative process, self experiments and upgrades of all kinds, sign up for my newsletter.

Topics of interest

More Related Stories