Today's Book Nugget comes from
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business
by Charles Duhigg
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In The Power of Habit, New York Times reporter--and otherwise highly accomplished/award-winning writer--Charles Duhigg discusses the nature of habits, "the habit loop", and how habits affect our day-to-day functions. Habits, Duhigg found, are pretty much what get us through life.
We have within our brains an organ called the basal ganglia that is a sort of storehouse of routines, and we draw from it whenever we are acting out of habit. It is what we rely on for accomplishing our regular tasks, both simple (putting on a pair of shoes, for example), and more complex or specialized (backing a car out of a driveway or even improvising a jazz solo); it allows us to act out our habits without too much thought thus saving the brain energy for thinking and stuff.
Duhigg presents this basic concept upfront, and then clarifies it in different ways throughout the text; to aid in our understanding, he shows that each of these routines that the brain draws on are part of a three-step "habit loop" comprised of 1) a cue, 2) a routine, and 3) a reward.
If you can understand that, well, almost all that we do is rooted in some kind of "loop", we can then observe ourselves and start to decide which of our habits are serving us and which ones are in truth sabotage, thus:
"Habits are often as much a curse as a benefit."
Duhigg proves throughout the book that if we make a habit of exercising this awareness, we can begin to find the three steps that make up each of our unique habits, trim away the ones that are harming us, bolster the ones that are helping us, and establish the ones that will serve us best into the future. It sounds like hard work, but I think anybody can do it; the challenge is just making it a habit! (Meta enough?)
Keep on growing,