Harnessing Power of Habits – Productivity Booster Series – 4 / 5

Table of Contents

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Will Durant.

It was June 2017. I was absorbed in my work when one of my subordinates approached me with a problem.

“It can’t be solved”, I said. “We have to live with it.”

“But it will have negative impacts”, he said. “Yes, but we are helpless”.

Later I informed this to my leader. “So, you really feel it can’t be solved?”, he asked. “Yes.”

“Did you give your best?”

“Sir, believe me, no one in this world can solve this.”

“Hmm… Maybe you are right. But I have one solution.”

And to my surprise, that worked!

I had two more similar encounters with him which deleted this negative habit from my subconscious.

Instead of believing, “it’s not possible”, now I begin with, “let’s see how to do it.”

That’s a short demonstration how wrong habits can inhibit us, while the right habits can help us grow!

Dictionary definition of Habit

Habit is defined as “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up”. 

Natural definition of Habit

Generally we say habit is “anything that we do regularly without we needing extra effort to do it, we do not have to give much concentration to do it” . Simply put, “it’s natural to do for us”.

Benefits of Habits

There are numerous benefit of creating Good habits, some of them are here

1. Shifting of Focus to things that matter more to us.

A Government officer gets a servant , why ? So that Government officer does not have to think of basic questions of life, who will cook food, who will clean my car .. and so on. He then focuses on important questions, how to improve the city, how to help poor people and so on.

Similarly if we have to spend our lot of energy in thinking, what to wear today, when to eat, when to sleep, that will rob us of our time that we could have used for things that matter to us the most.

If we fix the time, when we eat .. breakfast / lunch / dinner .. and

if we fix the time, when we go to sleep ..

Important clarification .. fix does not mean that we have to take breakfast at dot 9am always! fix means time slot, breakfast between 9am to 10am, it can happen that we take on some days at 9:15am some days on 9:30am, that’s adjustable.

Continuing, if we fix the basic things, then you will find Wow I have now so much time and your mind will be free from the tension of these things, naturally you will find time for more meaningful things.

2. Virtues & Character

As said, it is difficult to maintain good habits, and it is easy to make bad ones, if we observe our habits, which we will be naturally doing if we are conscious of this. Then it will become very easy for us to develop virtues, this will mature our character very exemplary, such that people will like to follow.

Great sages and kings had very virtues character, and the qualities are elaborated in the 17th chapter of Bhagavad Gita.

3. Spiritual Practises

Spiritual practises can only be done if we make habit of them, it is not that we do spiritual activity on one day and miss next day, then there will be very less benefit.

You can develop habits of reading Bhagavd Gita for few minutes daily. This will help you understand Sanatan philosophy and as bonus sharpen your intelligence & memory a lot.

It is extraordinary to add meditation to your daily life, you can do Hare Krishna Mahamantra meditation daily that will bring great joy to your life.

Now the question is how we are going to form the habits ? Let’s discuss.

Mechanism of Habit Formation

Interestingly this mechanism of habit formation is obtained from Bhagavad Gita , we will discuss little ahead.

Step 1 : Contact with Stimulus that produces Thoughts.

First step is the development of the thoughts or desires to do something, or to get something.

This development of thoughts happen when we come in contact with corresponding stimulus.

For example, when we see the advertisements (stimulus) again and again we naturally start to think to buy that product.

Another example, if when we are moving on the road, and we get a a good fragrance of road side chole bhature, and we also hear the frying sound (both sound and fragrance are stimulus) , we start to think “I want to eat chole bhature” (thoughts) .

Step 2 : Repetition of thoughts results in Action

When we get thoughts again and again, we naturally succumb to them, this is the reason why advertisement industries keep on showing their ads again and again so that we will eventually buy their product.

Step 3 : Action gets catalyst through Association

It can happen that we may act on the stimulus but we will repent if we did not want to do it ourselves.

But if our association is wrong, then that association itself will pressure us to again act on the stimulus.

For example, if a person has 4 friends, all of them drunkards, then they will also encourage him to become drunkard, thus he will again and again get the opportunities to drink alcohol, eventually turning into a drunkard himself.

But if his friends are opposed to drinking, and if he accidentally drinks then his friends will come in front to help him, they will become more vigilant to help him avoid any consumption of alcohol from future.

Also, it is said, that we are average of 5 persons whom we associate with ! So it is very important to decide our association, with whom we are going to associate. Only they will determine the goal of our life.

Step 4 : Repetition of action.

When we act repeatedly on something, then stimulus barrier will with reduce, and without stimulus requirement we will be acting on that activity .

For example, we all know how to walk, baby when he learns he falls down, because he is not used to walk, he learns that when his one foot comes on ground (stimulus) he has to lift his other feet from ground (action) , but with time, we are not required to think actively, instead while walking we never think of this!

Thus we have now overcome the stimulus barrier.

Another example, when a person eats at a shop and he likes the food, then he will go to that shop again but he will think about money spent there, he may resist, but if he goes and again the taste that he will develop for the food will stop these thoughts in him and he will thereafter just enter the shop as and when he happens to pass by that shop.

Third example, when we go to friends house who has dog, dog will shout on us for day 1, but our friend will stop his dog, next day also dog will bark, our friend will again stop him, then in some days, dog will understand that we are safe person, so he will not bark.

Similarly, day 1 our intelligence will speak, do not do this, day 2 also intelligence will give reminder, but with time intelligence will be shut down, because we are not at all going to hear the intelligence.

And this way habits are formed.

Ways of habits formation.

There are three prominent ways:

1. Belief System

Someone said, “the world can’t be changed” and you accepted. Immediately, it got registered into the subconscious mind and later, it’s your habitual response to any idea calling for a change.

To explain it more vividly, that if we believe in something, we accept that write, and we act according to our believe and this pattern to act according to our believe becomes habit.

2. Repeated action:

When an activity is repeated, our subconscious mind automates that. Eg, driving demands conscious effort initially, now it happens seamlessly.

3 A pleasing reward

When the end result of an activity gives pleasure, we desire to do it again that’s where it starts to become habit.

Be conscious and allow only empowering beliefs into your subconscious.

So Take advantage of the repeated actions concept and create a new empowering habit. Chase the pleasing reward with an empowering action plan.

Further, Bhagavad Gita 2.62 encourages us by informing that any inferior or destructive habit can be destroyed by uplifting our consciousness. My habit of “it’s not possible” was transformed into “let’s see how to do it” by associating with my leader who uplifted my consciousness.

Go ahead and create empowering habits by associating with people having a powerful mindset and habits.

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