About Me

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Good Habits

I was reading an excerpt by William James called "Making Habits Work for You."

He said "The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automation, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their proper work.  There is no more miserable person than one in whom nothing habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of deliberation.  Half the time of such a man goes to deciding or regretting matters which out to be so ingrained in him as practically not exist for his consciousness at all."

As I was reading this excerpt, it reminded me of a rule that I had written on a large 5in. by 7in. index card about ten years ago.  I have now pulled out this card from a drawer in my desk and it is sitting on my desktop now.  It is from Og Mandino's "The Greatest Salesman in the World" - "I WILL FORM GOOD HABITS AND BECOME THEIR SLAVE"

Parenting is about inculcating good habits in their children.  At an early age, if a child is taught habits that he or she will do automatically, this will set the stage for better development of their mind.

Brush your teeth, floss your teeth, wash your mouth after eating sweets, all of these are habits that maintain dental hygiene.  Read the newspaper every morning, listen to the news on the radio or watch the news on the TV, discuss the news with friends, are going habits for you as a citizen of the world.  Exercise every morning, take a bath, eat a healthy breakfast, are all excellent for our physical fitness and hygiene.

These are habits that most of us have developed by observation in the morning.  What about later in the day?  Usually it is your job and the habits of work.  If you are at home, you need to develop habits for the day.  When I was in boarding school, every part of the day was regimented.  These were good habits but I had bad associations and when I "grew up"  I shunned the habits.  It has taken me all these years that indeed my parents sent me to a good school that taught me good habits that were supposed to be skills to help me have a good life.  I have spent many years resenting the discipline and feeling bad about being sent to boarding school and not maintaining closeness with my family.

Aha!  Lost closeness can be an outcome of discipline and habits.  I see this happen around me.  In the habits of morning rituals such as exercise and meditation, my father-in-law does not make time to talk with his wife and garner the relationship.  For all their many years of marriage, they seem to be quite estranged and unable to relate to each others.  Did good habits get in the way of their relationship?

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