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Habits Are Powerful Factors In Our Lives | Jeremy McGilvrey

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Published on Feb 15, 2016

Jeremy McGilvrey | Habits Are Powerful Factors In Our Lives

A wise teacher was taking a stroll through the forest with a young pupil and stopped before a tiny tree. “Pull up that sapling.” The teacher instructed his pupil, pointing to the sprout just coming up from the earth. The youngster pulled it up easily with his fingers. “Now pull up that one,” said the teacher, indicating a more established sapling that had grown to about knee high on the boy. With little effort, the lad yanked and the tree came up, roots and all. “And now, this one,” said the teacher, nodding to a more developed evergreen that was as tall as the young pupil. With great effort, throwing all his weight and strength into the task, using sticks and stones he found to pry up the stubborn roots, the boy finally got the tree loose. “Now,” the wise man said, “I’d like you to pull this one up.” The young boy followed the teacher’s gaze, which fell upon a mighty oak so tall the boy could hardly see the top. Knowing the great struggle he’d just had with the much smaller tree, he simply said to the teacher, “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

“My son, you have just demonstrated the power that habits will have over your life!” The teacher exclaimed. “The older they, the bigger they get, the deeper the roots grow, and the harder they are to uproot. Some get so big, with roots so deep you might hesitate to even try.”

Today I want to talk to you about habits...and the profound impact they have on our lives. I’ve done a tremendous amount of research on this all-important subject, attempting to uncover what a habit is, where they come from, how they’re formed, and what we can do to change the ones that haven’t necessarily been all that positive in our lives.

I’ve broken this video into 3 segments, because there’s an awful lot of information to digest.

Let me begin by giving you the definition of a habit and going over some of the science behind habits because I’ve found that there’s a lot of it, and also because I think it’s important that we understand how we’re hardwired. Webster defines a habit as “an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.” And Charles Duhigg, author of the book The Power of Habits writes, “Habits are the choices all of us deliberately make at some point, and then stop thinking about, but continue doing.”

Charles, probably one of the foremost experts on habits believes, “Most of the choices we make every day may feel like the products of well-considered decision making, but,” Charles says, “they’re actually not. They’re habits.” Charles discovered in his extensive research, that each habit means relatively little on its own.

However, over time, the meals we order, what we say to our kids each night, whether we save or spend, how often we exercise, and the way we organize our thoughts and work routines has an enormous impact on health, productivity, financial security, and happiness.”

In my research; I didn’t have any trouble finding scientific support from major universities backing up Charles’ statements. One research paper, published in 2006 by Duke University stated: “More than 40-percent of the actions people preformed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.” And several similar studies out of universities such as Yale, Michigan, and MIT have discovered that up to 95-percent of everything we think, feel, do, and achieve is the direct result of a learned habit.

In fact, leading behavioral psychologists believe that 80-percent of our behavior is habitual…80 percent! This means that virtually everything we do is governed by our habits. Think about that for a moment…So, in essence, we have our habits, or a set of routines, and these routines – effect and control almost every aspect of our lives, which certainly includes the overall quality of it. That’s why it’s imperative you thoroughly understand, that once you make your habits – your habits have a way of making...or breaking you.

Let me close with this: Something I’ve learned is that habits can be tricksters. Because they disguise themselves as little, everyday decisions that seems insignificant at the time, but over the long haul – make a world of difference.

You see, the problem with habits is that they tend to have a cumulative effect on us, but unfortunately, the results don’t show up until much later in life. Therefore, if our habits are bad, by the time the damage is evident, it’s often too late to alter the results. That’s why it’s imperative – you take control of your habits, before your habits take control of you.

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