Creatures Of Habit
Habitual tendencies help us or hinder us, bringing us equally to success or failure. In that, are we the sole creator of our own…
Habitual tendencies help us or hinder us, bringing us equally to success or failure. In that, are we the sole creator of our own experience? Do we make it all?
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We are creatures of habit, there’s no doubt about it.
I look at myself and my behaviours and I see a very definite and predictable pattern to it all. Big brand marketers see it too and take full advantage.
They know more about me and my cohort than I know myself.
Now that’s kind of alarming because we think we have a choice. We think that we are conscious agents out here in the world making decisions that are of our own mind.
I would tend to agree that these decisions I make are of my own mind. I just don’t have awareness of what has brought me to these decisions.
Most of the time I don’t question them.
Only after the experience do we take a long look at it and try to understand why we got there. This is almost always the case where the experience is negative.
When good shit happens we just shrug our shoulders, smile and call it a fluke not realising perhaps that we made it, just like we made the bad.
The common perception seems to be that there is something beyond our control pushing things around, making things happen without our input or consent.
It is unpredictable and indiscriminate.
A Trivial Anecdote
Last November I had a broadband issue that had persisted for several weeks so I called my provider, Sky.
I let the problems get worse by not dealing with them earlier. Now I was in bad form because I had some commitments that I needed to keep and couldn’t.
Every day the connection would drop out and I would be left without the service I had become so reliant on.
I got around the issue by using the 4G on my phone tethered to my Mac but the connection was slow.
I was really pissed off and eventually made contact with Sky to get it sorted but customer service was shit and I was left for days without speaking directly to anyone.
So in my angst, I terminated my account and moved to Virgin.
The following day the gear arrived at the door and I did a self-install. It’s ok I said, I’m an electrician, technician and all-around gadget fiend! I’ll make this happen myself!
Well, no, I didn’t
Or rather I did, but not in the direction I wanted.
The cable outside the house was disconnected and I needed a Virgin engineer to connect it.
He did, but that wasn’t the end of it. For the next 2 months, Broadband was intermittent just like before.
I was on a roll you see. I took my miserable, resentful attitude with me and in doing so just created more of the same.
A series of unfortunate events was afoot and there was nothing I could do about it.
The shit had already hit the fan so I found I had no choice but to let it pass of its own accord.
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What If We Made It All
This debacle with broadband went on from November last year until yesterday when it was finally sorted.
Now you might say that these things were nothing to do with me, they were outside my control. These things happen all the time to everyone and all we can do is suck it up.
Well, I agree that these negative experiences happen all the time. However, whether or not we line up with them and our subsequent reaction is down to us.
Yes, this was a trivial, first world example but it serves to illustrate the problem.
Most of us swing wildly within the spectrum of emotion like an out of control rollercoaster. And on the ride, we blame everyone else for how we feel.
We seek to find solutions to these negative experience in others too.
Rarely do we accept that we made it and that we perhaps have the ability to rectify it.
We can’t bring ourselves to even broach the subject of whether or not we were responsible for how we feel and react to circumstances.
We rather get depressed and blame the world for our problems.
The Truth Of The Matter
The truth of the matter is that we bought the ticket and we got on the ride.
This whole thing we are doing is a joint venture. It is it and me in concert. That’s what’s going on here.
I can either get uptight about things I don’t like or I can resolve to accept that it was, in fact, me who brought me here and it is me that can only bring me out.
There’s nobody else going to make it happen.
There is no boss man deciding way up in the clouds somewhere that I am going to suffer today and be happy tomorrow.
All of that is down to me and what I do now affects what I experience in the next now.
If we want to be happy we’ve got to practice it.
At the same time, this life is not all sunshine and roses. Bad shit aids in our growth and development, for how can you get stronger if there is nothing challenging?
A calm sea made a good sailor not.
So we are indeed creatures of habit. Self-made but perhaps unaware of the extent to which we can exercise that influence.
It’s been this writer’s experience that we do get to decide what habits become strong and what experiences come out of the resultant behaviours.
Anything else is a cop-out.
You did it, now you go fix it.
This article was originally published on larrygmaguire.com on 10th February 2018 and has been edited and updated for publication here
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