The amazing power of habits...
The Essence of Leadership with FREE DVD
All of the great coaches I've read about or seen interviewed share a common belief...If you make good habits, good habit will make you. This wisdom has been around since ancient times. In fact, one of the best-known quotes from Aristotle is, "Excellence is not an act...it's a habit."
Here's a little test to display the power of our habits. Cross your arms as you normally would, and look down to see which one is on top. When I do this exercise with audiences, invariably about half of the audience members will have their right arm on top (I do) and the other half will have their left on top.The Essence of Leadership with FREE DVD
When you crossed your arms for the very first time, you might have been still in your playpen, and you've been crossing your arms the same way ever since. Now, cross your arms again, but this time put the wrong arm on top. It feels extremely weird! If I were to challenge you to cross your arms the "wrong" way for the rest of your life, could you do it? Probably. Would it be difficult? You bet it would!
Here's the point: Habits - good, bad, or neutral - are difficult to break. Therefore, the challenge for every leader is to determine the good habits that will drive the success of their organization. Once the desired habits are identified, good training and continual reinforcement are critical in making them part of your organization's culture.
Food for Thought...
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest asset or heaviest burden.
I will push you up to success or down to disappointment.
I am at your command.
Half the things you do might just as well be turned over to me.
For I can do them quickly, correctly, and profitably.
I am easily managed: just be firm with me.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with the precision of a machine and the intelligence of a person.
You can run me for profit, or you can run me for ruin.
Show me how you want it done. Educate me. Train me.
Lead me. Reward me.
And I will then...do it automatically.
I am your servant.
Who am I?
I am a habit.
Learn more :
The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. ~Samuel Johnson
Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time. ~Mark Twain
A habit is something you can do without thinking - which is why most of us have so many of them. ~Frank A. Clark
Ill habits gather by unseen degrees -
As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.
~John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel, 1681
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. ~Jim Ryun
Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow. ~Yiddish Proverb
The unfortunate thing about this world is that good habits are so much easier to give up than bad ones. ~Somerset Maugham
Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity. ~St. Augustine
The second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half. ~Feodor Dostoevski
Enduring habits I hate.... Yes, at the very bottom of my soul I feel grateful to all my misery and bouts of sickness and everything about me that is imperfect, because this sort of thing leaves me with a hundred backdoors through which I can escape from enduring habits. ~Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882
Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables. ~Spanish Proverb
The hard must become habit. The habit must become easy. The easy must become beautiful. ~Doug Henning
Habit is a second nature which prevents us from knowing the first, of which it has neither the cruelties nor the enchantments. ~Marcel Proust
The easier it is to do, the harder it is to change. ~Eng's Principle
The satisfied, the happy, do not live; they fall asleep in habit, near neighbor to annihilation. ~Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life, 1913
Habits are safer than rules; you don't have to watch them. And you don't have to keep them, either. They keep you. ~Frank Crane
Habit is thus the enormous flywheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It alone is what keeps us all within the bounds of ordinance, and saves the children of fortune from the envious uprisings of the poor. ~William James, The Principles of Psychology
In any family, measles are less contagious than bad habits. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
Men's natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them. ~Confucius, Analects
Habit with him was all the test of truth;
It must be right: I've done it from my youth.
~George Crabbe, The Borough
Habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last we cannot break it. ~Horace Mann
Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits. ~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar for 1894
Small habits well pursued betimes
May reach the dignity of crimes.
To fall into a habit is to begin to cease to be. ~Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life
Habit is a man's sole comfort. We dislike doing without even unpleasant things to which we have become accustomed. ~Goethe
The best way to break a bad habit is to drop it. ~Leo Aikman
Every grown-up man consists wholly of habits, although he is often unaware of it and even denies having any habits at all. ~Georges Gurdjieff
Habits Die Hard
Don't spend your lifetime on autopilot...
Habits Die Hard We are all creatures of habit and if you make good habits, good habits will make you. This wisdom has been around since ancient times. Aristotle once said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
The subconscious mind—the habitual mind—is over one million times more powerful than the conscious mind. This means that we spend a substantial amount of our lifetime on "autopilot," playing out the mental programs that govern our behavior.
For example, while driving a car and carrying on a conversation with someone, the conscious mind is attending to what is being said in the moment while the subconscious mind is turning on the turn signal, hitting the brakes, attending to oncoming traffic, monitoring our blood sugar, regulating our breathing, planning our next move and on and on. The subconscious mind is so vast and so powerful that we do not even know what it is thinking or capable of. It truly runs our lives—whether we know it or not!
Habits begin and manifest deep in the mind and they can be friends or foes. Good habits can make our lives easier, helping us to do the more mundane things of life without thinking about them, like automatically depositing your paycheck.
But, as all of us know all too well, habits can also be destructive...to our health, to our finances, to our relationships. It's why we struggle with losing weight, paying off our credit cards or quitting smoking...to name a few "bad habits."
Whether they are a positive force in our lives or obstacles to the goals we want to achieve, habits become ingrained through repeated actions.
Here is a little test to display the power of our habits. Cross your arms as you normally would, and look down to see which one is on top. About half of you will have your right arm on top and the other half will have their left on top. When you crossed your arms for the very first time, you might have been still in your playpen, and you have been crossing your arms the same way ever since. Now, cross your arms again, but this time put the opposite arm on top. It feels extremely weird! If you were to challenge yourself to cross your arms the "wrong" way for the rest of your life, could you do it? Probably. Would it be difficult? You bet it would!
Here's the point: Habits—good, bad, or neutral—are difficult to break ... they Die Hard!
The real key to success is replacing destructive habits with successful habits.
To win—to break self-defeating attitudes and behaviors—we must understand that we have the power to choose and the power to change. We have the power to let go of old thinking and adopt the mindset of a champion.
What you just read is an excerpt of the introduction to our book, Habits Die Hard. In it, I teamed up with John J. Murphy to provide 10 steps to building successful habits.
John is a highly recognized author, speaker and management consultant who specializes in creating high performance team environments. He has helped some of the world's leading organizations design and implement positive change and in Habits Die Hard, he will show you how to implement positive change in your own life.
As creatures of habit, many people struggle with breaking habits. In Habits Die Hard, it is our intention to help you through this very common, very challenging life experience by giving you 10 keys to replacing destructive habits.
If you have habits you intend to change, you will not be disappointed in this book.
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