Since the moment of birth, you have been engaged in a constant process of forming habits, breaking them, and forming new ones. As much as 95 percent of what you do each day is done from habit. Habits include attitudes and dominant patterns of thought as well as actions. Habit formation is a constructive way to meet life’s challenges. Instead, your brain “stores” for future use all the data from that first satisfactory decision. That, in simple terms, is the process of habit formation, a constructive and mentally economical way of dealing with routine activities.
If, in meeting a new situation, you make a bad choice or a poor decision – one that produces an unsatisfactory result – you mentally reject that choice and make a different one each time that situation recurs until you find an acceptable choice. Once you have found a satisfactory response, you adopt it as a standard for the future – a new habit. Bad habits creep in only when they are not recognised as bad. For example, someone who talks too much and listens too little may have formed that habit to gain stature and prestige by always having something “interesting” to say. The habit seems good
because it gives one kind of satisfaction.
Remember that habits include both attitudes and actions. An attitude isa habit of reacting in a certain way each time you encounter the same situation. It is especially important to personal leadership to form success attitudes. Such attitudes of self-confidence, self-respect, enthusiasm, and determination are merely special kinds of habits. They are mental and emotional habits as distinguished from action habits. And such internal habits control your behavior.
Attitudes, since they are habits of thought, are formed in the same way as habits of action. You find a thought pattern that gives you pleasure or satisfaction. You repeat it, and it becomes habitual. Negative attitudes begin when people try to protect themselves from failure or from the fear of failure by saying to themselves, “I can’t.” The tragedy is that the satisfaction gained in this manner is insignificant compared to the exhilaration of achievement that could have been experienced by believing “I can.”
Any change in attitude must come from internal understanding and acceptance. Insight always precedes change. Changes in attitudes that follow insight into yourself become permanent changes; any others are usually temporary. An attitude formed by blind acceptance of another’s influence is subject to rapid change; but attitudes based on insight, commitment and belief and supported by a carefully planned course of action, gain permanence. It follows naturally that your effectiveness in making attitude changes depends primarily on the extent of your insight into the reasons such changes are desirable. As you gain insight, you develop personal leadership. Your programme of personal goals is the best possible tool for gaining that insight.
Another factor in the willingness to change is your attitude toward change itself. If you consistently resist change, you will miss out on so much opportunity and be enslaved to external forces. But when you accept change, you find joy in living and the excitement of new experiences, new challenges, and new dimensions. Capture the spirit of enthusiasm and recognise the “thrill of the chase” as a reward of goal seeking.
Dealing with Demotivators
You were born to lead, but in the process of adjusting to the complexities of the world, you are sometimes so occupied with satisfying basic needs that you can give little thought, time, or attention to self-fulfillment and development of personal leadership. Habits developed in this context become demotivators. Most demotivators can be lumped together as fears, worries, and doubts. These demotivators can control only those who lack self-confidence. Build your self-confidence, consistently over time, and the demotivators dwindle. Build a consistent attitude of self-confidence, substitute it for fear, and fear is overcome. Then you live a rewarding life full of self-realisation, achievement and success.
A personal goals programme is the most positive approach you can take to breaking through demotivators and building a strong sense of personal leadership.