A habit is something that you do so often and so regularly that it becomes automatic. This is a behavior that you can easily repeat. When I work with people I try to determine their habits because most of our behaviors are based on our habits.
Our habits are directly related to our comfort and wellbeing. The process of adapting to our environment is what creates a habit. With habits, we don’t have to constantly experiment or deal with unknown risks.
There are habits built into the most seemingly chaotic environments. I travel extensively and constantly encounter security checks, delayed luggage, and canceled flights. The only way you can navigate this world somewhat calmly is with many small habits, such as putting your tickets and passport in the same briefcase compartment every time, packing your carryon so that you can survive 24 hours without the rest of your luggage, and carrying a backup computer disk that contains my presentation materials in the event the boxes you ship don’t make it. With all the variables, the more steps, and processes that are automatic, the more flexibility and capacity we have to deal with whatever crops up.
Our habits help define us. The way we adapt to our environment and how we typically behave say a lot about who we are as human beings. What do we know about someone with the habit of not eating meat? What about someone with the habit of smoking cigarettes? How about the person with the habit of running five miles each day?
Habits are extremely difficult to change because they are tied to our identities. Notice that I haven’t said anything about ‘‘breaking a habit.’’ I avoid that terminology because a habit is dependent on repetition. Therefore, if we replace the activity that is the former habit such as lighting a cigarette after dinner with some other activity such as taking a walk or chewing a stick of gum the repetition ceases and the coding of the smoking habit is reduced dramatically.
The key to succeeding in replacing old habits with new ones is ensuring that the new behaviors are more appealing, effective, and beneficial than their predecessors. The exercises in the upcoming chapters are designed to serve as replacement activities: filling up the available space with new
actions, exercising different areas of your capabilities, and possibly replacing some old habits that may not be serving your definition of success.
In effect, replacing less effective habits with more effective ones and creating new habits that foster greater success and well-being are the most expedient ways to increase and expand your personal brilliance.
Imagination plus innovation equals realization.
AUTHOR AND ‘‘PEAK PERFORMANCE’’ EXPERT
Simply by investing in a copy of Personal Brilliance, you have proven that you likely are more innovative than many in our population. I also think that you are probably much more innovative than you think you are. When you surveyed hundreds of people, a cross-section of people with varying backgrounds, you learned something very surprising. Some of the most personally brilliant people I know don’t think they’re innovative! It’s easier to observe innovation in someone else than in yourself.
This article is not designed to fix you. You’re not broken. But, we can all go deeper in improving the habits that lead to personal brilliance. Chances are, you’re already being innovative in one or more areas of your life, whether it’s the article approach you take to get your kids to do their homework, or the cutting-edge marketing plan you’ve devised for your business. However, no matter how innovative you are right
now, there’s always room for improvement. By following the advice in this article, you’re on the way to making personal brilliance the rule, rather than the exception.