Nature abhors a vacuum
Character building becomes a habit. It is important of keeping involved in positive activities. Otherwise we would be attracted to the negative because nature abhors a vacuum. Either we have positive or we have negative, there is no neutral ground here. If we want to build a pleasing personality, we have to examine our habits closely. What begins as an occasional indulgence turns into a permanent flaw. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you let the quality of work deteriorate?
- Do you indulge in gossip?
- Are envy and ego a constant companion?
- Is empathy in short supply?
We could go and go. We are creatures of habit. It is good that it is that way because if we have to constantly think before doing anything, we would never get anything done. There is just not enough time. We control our habits by exercising control and self-discipline over our thoughts. We need to harness the power of the subconscious mind. We need to cultivate the habits during childhood which build character in adulthood. Plant the right things early in life. But it is never too late to start. Every exposure to a positive or negative makes a difference. Learning new habits takes time but positive habits, once mastered, give new meaning to life.
Optimism or pessimism is a habit. Habits are a matter of the pain and pleasure principle. We do things either to avoid pain or to gain pleasure. So long as the gain is more than the pain, we continue with the habit. But if the pain exceeds the gain, we drop it. For example, when the doctor tells the smokers to stop, he replies, “I can’t! It is a habit and I enjoy it!” and he goes on smoking. Here the pleasure is greater than the pain. Until one day he is faced with a major medical problem, and the doctor says, “You better stop smoking immediately if you want to live” and he stops. Here the pain is greater than the pleasure.
Resistance to change
When people recognize or become aware of their negative habits, why don’t they change? The reason they don’t change is because they refuse to accept responsibility. Besides, the pleasure of continuing is greater than the pain. They may:
- Lack the desire to change
- Lack the discipline to change
- Lack the belief that they can change
- Lack the awareness for the need to change
- Lack the support of others closed to him for changing
All these factors prevent us from getting rid of our negative habits. We all have a choice. We can ignore negative behavior and hope it will go away – the ostrich approach – or face up to it and overcome it for life. Behavior modification comes from overcoming irrational fears and getting out of the comfort zone. Remember, fear is learned behavior and can be unlearned. The following excuses are the most common explanations for not changing negative habits:
- We have always done it that way
- We have never done it that way
- That is not my job
- I don’t think it will make any difference
- I’m too busy
Forming positive habits
It is never too late to change. Regardless of our age or how old the habit has been, this can be done by awareness and using techniques that modify behavior. We hear all the time that you can’t teach an old dog new trick. We are human beings, not dogs. Neither are we performing tricks. We can unlearned self-destructive behavior and learn positive behavior.
The secret of successful people is that they form the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do and won’t do. Just think about the things that failures don’t like to do. They are the same things that successful people don’t like to do but they do them anyway. For example, failures don’t like discipline, hard work (an athlete doesn’t like and want the discipline to get up and train every day but he does it regardless), but they do it anyway because they have formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.
All habits start small but end up eventually being very difficult to break. Attitudes are habits and can be changed. It is a question of breaking and replacing old negative habits with new and positive ones. It is easier to prevent bad habits than to overcome them. Good habits come from overcoming temptation. Happiness and unhappiness are a habit. Excellence is the result of repeated conscious effort until it becomes a habit. It needs enough practice to become a habit.
We all have some negative habits that are pulling us down. Take 15 minutes alone and undisturbed to make a list of all the negative habits that are pulling you down.
Take 15 minutes alone and undisturbed to make a list of all positive habits you want to develop.
A Little Black Pen