Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Habits represent the most stable part of our personality. Make a detailed to-do list at least once a week. Perform unpleasant tasks first. Steer away from high-risk situations

You can live the soft way or the hard way. Provoking unnecessary conflict and behaving aggressively are not symptoms of a strong personality, but of serious psychological trouble. To make headway when matters get complicated, thinking is a thousand times more valuable than shouting.

Unfortunately, on many occasions, knowing what to do is not the difficult part. What is hard is actually taking action. Have you realized how good children are at devising excuses for not doing what they know to be correct? Breaching the distance between ideas and implementation is a universal problem.

Habits represent the most stable part of our personality

Habits represent the most visible and stable part of our personality. They can play against us, if they are destructive, or they can push us in the right direction, when they favour our goals. Even in our days of cultural relativism, many still regard the acquisition of beneficial habits as the central purpose of education.

Those who have incorporated good routines into their daily life enjoy enormous advantages over the rest of the population. Not only will they advance faster on the professional track, but they will also tend to live happier, healthier, and longer. Here are three habits that are uncomfortable to develop, but which pay huge dividends down the road:

Make a detailed to-do list at least once a week

The most common notes that we make for ourselves are to-do lists. Why not compile as well a list of long-term objectives, books that you intend to read, places you want to visit, or companies in which you would like to invest? Writing down ideas by hand on a piece of paper is often faster than typing them into a laptop or cell phone.

Perform unpleasant tasks first

Setting priorities is as important in our private life as it is in business. We all tend to procrastinate when the moment comes to carry out chores we dislike. In those cases, human beings love to invent reasons to postpone activities that should be performed right away. The discipline of forcing ourselves to do unpleasant tasks first is as hard to acquire as it is invaluable.

Steer away from high-risk situations

It is regrettable to witness how frequently movies, television, and magazines portray reckless adventurers as heroes. Professionals who work in hazardous environments go to great lengths to adopt all sorts of precautions. Even those who possess combat training are reluctant to engage when they lack knowledge of the territory and enemy forces. Never place yourself in explosive situations unless you have indisputable reasons to do so.

When things get tough, don't allow problems to get you off the track. Doing the right things properly and consistently, day after day, is a simple and effective way to develop your potential. 

Make the effort to cultivate the correct habits and let them move your life forward on automatic pilot. Ambition might take you places, but its ports of call always remain uncertain. Routine, on the other hand, will show you regular progress and establish the foundations of unbreakable self-confidence.

For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living


[Image by Retlaw Snellac under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]