We all have habits. Habits are the brain’s way of making life easier. You needn’t spend any neural energy at all to perform your habits — and that’s the point. It would cost us precious resources if we had to perform all tasks from scratch. We simply do them repeatedly, over and over, whether they are actually good for us or not.
History records Aristotle as saying “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I find that saying fascinating on a couple of levels. First because it’s paradigm-shifting to think of success and failure as byproducts of habits and not as determined by any single act. Secondly, I find it fascinating because this saying focuses on the excellence side of the ledger and not failure.
And since it’s safe to assume that we’re all looking to get more excellence, or “amazing results,” then we will have to contend with our own habits.
Here at Rewire, we speak a great deal to the concept of habits and go quite in depth about what it takes to actually work against your own ways. I know some of you are scanning this article as quickly as you can to sniff out the "One Difficult Thing" I mentioned in the title so you can read it and move on. Let me tell you now that, should you want to actually have great results in your business and your life, I recommend focusing less on finding the "thing" and more on embracing the “difficult."
I don’t know if that’s a let-down, but in all my years working with people one-on-one and in groups, I would say that that’s the closest I’ve come to “one” key thing: to actually embrace the difficult, the pain and the challenge of what will come your way when you break from your habits. I realize this could sound like a bit of pontificating, but as a culture we simply have a low pain threshold. We don’t want any pain or suffering of any kind – ever!
So today I invite you to challenge yourself — specifically around your habits. What one habit do you do repeatedly that you would be willing to forgo? Start with something small and then listen to your lizard brain as it kicks and screams in an attempt to have you return home to the easy path. If you would be willing to do this, you will learn something about yourself. What you may primarily learn is that you have a greater pain tolerance than you supposed. And learning this is vitally important as we attempt to make changes that will grow our work.
Because change of almost every kind is painful to the mind, therefore we must embrace the pain to make almost any change. When we do, however, I believe we are acting out one of the greatest gifts given to us as human beings: the ability to leverage our own mind and will to come against the habits of our own making.
Try it and let me know what you experience. It won’t be easy, but it will be good.