Today, we take a look into one very simple but complex happenings within us, so close that sometimes might go unnoticed to our own selves, meaning it could easily escape our radar on items we need to work on in our personal improvement journey. Later on, we shall take a look into understanding role and purpose in our day to day life.
This knowledge is to place you onto the lane of self-awareness, it’s however important to note that it shall not automatically deliver you there but will greatly improve your awareness by far much higher standards than they currently are.
Let me bring to you a simple perspective of life that will set you up for significant changes in life that we can associate with success.
In many situations, we either are reactive or proactive, those situations we anticipated and acted upon in time and those we anticipated but not acted upon. It’s important to note that these two take our minds to different states, one not allowing control while the other with some level of control. The former strips away our ability to be effective and most times leaves us struggling with what we cannot change.
“Where focus goes, energy flows”
However on the other hand, the things we can control give us a basis to be proactive, this we can say is the secret to being proactive. Allowing us to think about the end then work our way back, identify that which we can control and therefore change the situation. To mention just some of those things we can control are how we treat people in our life, our work ethics, planning and execution or even how we spend free time.
“By failing to plan, you are laying a plan to fail”
By focusing on things we can control, we realize our power to directly mold and influence different areas of our lives. At this point, let us introduce ourselves to “habits”, get to know what they are, how we can identify them and seek to use them proactively to propel us up our plans and have them deliver us to our goals.
There are tons of definitions out there for this term “habit” but for purposes of simplicity and fullness in understanding, we shall use the definition of habits being a series of decisions we made at some point in time around an activity in our life, one that worked for us at that particular moment and later settled and kept as a reference whenever the same situation presents, that which we do without taking lots of your thoughts and concentration to get done and still use to date.
This is because our brains naturally don’t wish to dispense energy on activities that are repetitive in nature hence finding a way to store and call on the same set of decisions whenever needed.
From a neurological perspective, habits happens because the decision is approved and moved from the prefrontal cortex where all active decision making occurs in the brain to the basal ganglia where repetitive functions are stored, located somewhere at the center of the skull and in almost all animals.
As these repetitive decisions are passed from the prefrontal to the basal ganglia, our brains work less and less hard therefore reserving more and more energy for other active brain functions. The commands get coded and stored for reuse and called upon whenever a familiar situation is experienced. This is why habits feel so automatic, once it becomes automatic, our brains go to sleep about it and no longer participates in decision making around the same activity, only present at the beginning and the end of the activity. This is the signature of any habit and accounts for 40% of the activities we carry out in a day.
Quality is not an act, it is a habit
Each habit on the other hand has a cue or in other words a trigger, which can be visual, audio, smell, emotion or other sorts of trigger which prompt our brain to hand over some sort of control to the basal ganglia, where the rest of the activities will happen automatically. Those in the computer programming industry know this skill better and refer to it as “calling a program” every single habit has a trigger, routine and after every routine, a reward.
Using a day to day common example, I wish to use one of those easy to go unnoticeable habit in our lives, “attending to sms”. Assuming we all own phones, instance our phones vibrate or sound, a trigger goes off ignited by curiosity, wishing to find out what the message is about and where it’s from, at the back of our mind some form of reward is expected to come with it, to satisfy our curiosity, very temporary satisfaction with a massive change of chemical reactions in our body, enough to keep us repeating this to receive the same reward over and over. Main reason someone would easily get angry after giving prompt attention to a corning message meant to extort or swindle you some money, as it presents no reward despite the effort made to call on the routine to attend to phone.
Even when you know you should ignore those soundings and vibrating alerts on your phone, the cue always seeming reactive and still triggers the routine of checking in search of a reward. Making some people seem helpless when they are around their phones or whenever their phones keep alerting.
With this new knowledge and perspective, let us learn ways we can turn these habits into positives and have it work in our favor.
To begin with, we have to identify cues we can take advantage of to trigger certain favorable set of activities that push us towards our goals, say for example if you wish to get physically fit, your plan will entail regular workouts to bring to your life an exercise regime. We can choose to use the same time every day allocated for the workout session and in this way form a habit triggered by time that will get us to execute the same activities at that particular time of day, even more important is choose a form of reward to come at the end of it, in this context, a long warm shower, or a good rest or anything that you look forward to in the day, reason for this is because initially your brain does not believe that you enjoy working out but will do so at the promise of a reward, it gets you to do it in as much as it knows that it’s not enjoyable at the beginning. Some other form of trigger could be the alarm clock, use this to improve your wake up time and reward yourself with something you like besides sleep, read that book you’ve always wanted or understand that subject you want to ace, write that book you wish to publish, that poem you like or that song writing skill you want to learn.
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation”
With this perspective, we realize how much control we have over our habits, both the bad and the good and how we can change them at will, replacing the bad ones with the good ones and how to align them in your favor.
To begin with, identify a number of behavior you dislike in yourself and would wish to work on and change, those you shall replace with those you approve of one habit at a time, giving it time to become part of you in a way that it executes effortlessly. Identify the good ones as well and align them to your current goals in ways that they contribute directly.
“Teach a child the way of the lord and they shall not part from it”
Some of those habits that can work in our favor include but do not limit to-:
- Early rise
- Study culture
- Personal grooming
- Water Intake
- Healthy feeding
Note that you need identify those habits that you consider as bad and work to change them, best still would be to replace them with good ones so you don’t leave a void for a worse one. Shop around for those habits that you presume will work for you, check out habits of successful people, borrow and adapt what you can. Picture habits as little daily contributions towards the whole you wish to attain and keep at it, remember to periodically change what doesn’t work with what works for you.
“Once you look at life from the lens of habits, everything looks totally different.”
If you care at all, you will get some results, if you care enough and put this to practice you’ll get incredible results.
The key to success is to get up and do it again, even after the first failure, get up and do it again.
“Just don’t get through the day, get from the day.”
Everything is created twice, once in the mind and once in the real world, however the problem is that many things are created in the mind but are never manifested into tangible things because we tell ourselves “I can’t do it”, even worse situations, some things are not created in the mind at all, note that that does not mean absence of thought but constant dwelling in bad life situations preventing them from utilizing this natural ability therefore creating the same bad situation in their real world. Stop focusing on what you can’t control in order to add more value.
“Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired”.
Below is a list of researched habits that are common amongst successful people we can borrow from
- They do what they love – You cannot spend the better part of your life doing the things you hate in exchange for money. Never lose sight of what you have as your ultimate purpose. Find your life purpose and chase your dreams, even when you take a pay cut it will be worth it, than a pay rise doing what you don’t love every day.
- They have goals – your chances of finding something you want without a clear target to move forward is about zero, you can never hit a target you do not have, have your targets as goals. If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace you didn’t plan to be. Define whatever it is that you want and break down what exactly you need to get there, your mini goals and make sure your “Why”, your reason for doing what it is you must do is strong.
- They take responsibility for their lives, both the success and failures in their life, that unlike the majority we had earlier mentioned who look for the easiest way out and play the victim. Learn one more way not to do something and ask yourself, “how can I make this work”
- They are obsessed with self-development – Stay hungry while striving to work on yourself, so you never get to a point and give up because you are not hungry anymore, it is human nature to want to grow and learn new things, be open to learning and develop your mind.
- They read a lot. – This is a common passtime for many successful people, always happy to read or to listen to something that will benefit their minds, if you are not a reader, try audio books. Use available time to gain new skills and strengths.
- They manage their time well. Time management is essential, ability to manage and prioritize tasks around the available time, handling the most rewarding tasks first and the insignificant ones last, they plan in advance, days, weeks, months even years ahead knowing clearly what needs to be done to achieve set goals.
- They have great self-discipline – Discipline can be developed with consistence on getting something done without fail. The right discipline will get you delivered to your goals without much struggle when discipline is kept on check.
- They take risks – If you don’t take big risks, you can’t achieve big rewards, successful people understand that they need to take risks in order to get where they need to go, the greater failure to successful people is that of regret. Risk going for the life you want.
- They keep going when they suffer failure. – They keep going even when they lose everything, for them , playing victim is never a way to spend reasonable life time, they understand winning comes in adversity, amazingly they all have comeback stories.
- They find a way to win – Whatever life throws their way, they deal with it, do whatever is required to make head, they wear the whatever it takes mentality and give their all.
Diagnose before you prescribe.
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Mind Grid perspectives