Monday, 19 December 2011

The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken

Maybe it's because it's the end of the year or maybe it's these dark winter nights, but lately I've been in a contemplative mood. I've been thinking lots about how I can help people and my organisation achieve what they want and fulfil the potential I believe they have.
While mulling this over, I came across a great post the other day by Chris Brogan where he makes the case for repetitive action to build success. He gives the example of flossing your teeth; that to have healthy gums you have to do it every day and that daily practice leads to success. I think that is so true - whether you're dieting, learning to drive, practising your shorthand, engaging your team or managing your organisation's reputation, keeping at it, day after day, with energy and commitment will ultimately lead to success.
It is also true of negative habits. The title of this post comes from a Warren Buffet quote that he repeats in the video above, and he is right. Our negative habits are almost unnoticeable when we begin them but before you know it, you are knee deep.
I felt like that when I started smoking. At first I thought I could take it or leave it, but before I knew it, there I was smoking 20 a day. (I gave up in 2005 with Allen Carr. It was the most rewarding, self-esteem boosting, exhilarating thing I've ever done.)
Organisations can sometimes get stuck in behaving in the same negative way, just as people can. Or they can build the habit of success little-by-little until they achieve their goals. I know which one I want to be.
So I have some questions for you, what are you doing day-in day-out in your personal and professional life? And is it moving you closer or further away from your goals? What habits is your organisation practising? Are they helping you build success day by day or are they holding you back?

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