“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
The Easy Way to Drop a Habit and influence a New One
This post will be more focused on habits once again and how we can truly change them once and for all. Humans adapt to their environment. Plants with little sunlight will not grow well. Birds in the winter migrate south. Likewise, people in cold weather wear jackets and typically eat more meat. The world is synergetic and everything is interlaced. We cannot separate anything form everything else. I’m sure you can see where this is leading. The easiest and most effective way for someone to experience a paradigm shift or change habits, is to change their environment. Is the environment you live in reinforcing your current habits? For example, let’s say someone were to live in a typical home with lots of TV, Internet, video games and leisure available. Is that a stimulating environment for doing homework? Compare that to somewhere like the library, which is very stimulating and reinforces something like doing homework. Now that was a very simple example, but the same can be applied to very complex issues. This is why home gyms are statistically low in effectiveness versus commercial gyms. At home, there are more distractions when it comes to working out.
Altering our immediate environment to get quick results may seem like it’s “cheating”, but there is no such thing as cheating. Whatever gets the job done without any major or long term negative consequence is more than acceptable. For example; I stopped buying video games because I was noticing their long term negative consequences. While they were fun and gave me short term pleasure, they led to me neglecting certain responsibilities. Certainly discipline and a great mindset helped too, but the games not being available to me ultimately sealed the deal.
Think about it. If an alcoholic trying to get over drinking was in a place that had a lot of alcohol available versus a place with very limited access, which will help the alcoholic recover? If someone is afraid of approaching women, what will get them over that fear quicker? Being around more women and an environment that reinforces interaction with women or being home on Facebook? The examples are endless, but I think it’s pretty clear now of how big of an impact the conditions of a particular environment, whether simple or complex, will have in assisting our development of habits, skills and experiences.
It is only when we experience a process (and in some cases getting use to it) can we truly understand the functionality of a specific trait, mechanism, or idea. That is the essence of a paradigm shift. To give a clearer example of a paradigm shift, here is a short, true story from one of my favorite books, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.
An American navy ship in the Canadian waters detects something on the radar and the following is true dialogue of what happened.
Americans: “Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.”
Canadians: “Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.”
Americans: “This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.”
Canadians: “No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.”
Americans: “THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES’ ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH. THAT’S ONE-FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.”
Canadians: “This is a lighthouse. Your call.”
Can you imagine how huge of a paradigm shift occurred after the captain of the US Navy ship heard that last part?