Earlier we said that it is “habit” that is the essential driver of successful performance. Developing a new habit of success is not easy and requires a commitment, a decision.
BUT it is also your current habits that prevent you from making that decision to change and create a new, better success habit. Old habits are the most difficult to break. Those will be your personal challenge to embracing a new success habit.
The Power of Habits
A new habit most often requires that you let go of, give up, a current habit. You don’t just add a new habit. You have to stop, quit, and eliminate habits that inhibit your future success. For example, to improve one’s bad health you need to destroy and replace poor habits of eating, drinking, smoking, and non-exercise with new, healthier habits.
Besides “old” habits, routines can make success hard to achieve. When two or more people practice similar habits as friends or co-workers, they develop a routine of interacting with one another. The routine is expressed as “how we do things”. You see it in workplaces where routines of work become the norm. A routine in work is fine for some situations but a routine has its limits and can even encourage a loss of engagement where workers operate on auto-pilot, not thinking about how to improve the work. Routines can even cause lethargy and boredom.
Another reason success and creating new habits can be hard is due to a mentality of “just following the rules.” Success is sacrificed when people favor following the rules, regulations, or policies, MORE than doing what is needed or right to achieve the best outcomes for themselves or the company. Too often it is the strict conditions for operating that take the zest out of life and limit creativity. Having too many rules about how to work, live, and play will restrict ones success at trying new things and venturing forth. Take a look at how often you require yourself to do things a certain way because you “have to” or because “that is the way it should be done”. Are you willing to try new ways or do you limit yourself to rules, regulations and policies? Consider even those rules that your parents transferred to you!
Finally, a willingness to keep learning will help you be successful instead of being certain you know. It is “knowing” that often keeps us stuck in the current situation. It is “knowing” how it should be or how it will happen that prevents us from considering alternatives. To explore new possibilities requires some openness, some curiosity. To be successful, to lead the way, you will need to keep expanding your capacity to learn, to be open, to be curious, and to ask questions (instead of always having the answer).
Success is an Inside Job
In the end, success, leading your life and others, is an inside job. Your personal obstacles determine your success. How you think makes the difference as to whether you will find a way. When you have bad thinking habits (seeing what is wrong versus what can be, for example), routines to overcome, too many rules to follow, “knowing” how things are or can be instead of wondering what can be, and if you are stuck in a “comfort zone”, then you will find it hard to be successful.
Remember, it is necessity that is the fuel to drive you forward to achievement and success. It is necessity that helps you stop old habits. It is necessity that gives you the courage and discipline to develop new success habits. You have to decide that it is necessary for you to stop something or start something. You need to be compelled to just do it. If you don’t have the necessity to go to work each day, or exercise, or be nice to people, you may not. If you feel a duty, that helps. If you feel guilty, that helps. If you have a vision and commitment, that helps. Find for yourself some necessity for you to lead your life and others and to be successful. Some people have chosen a life of giving to other people and humanity. They have a passion for doing the right thing or things the right way or for the right reason. No matter. Find what you feel is necessary for you to do and just do it.
In our next article, we will discuss how expectations are often not reality. We’ll look at why this is so and what you can do about it. In the end, you want your reality to meet your expectations in order to succeed.