In the business of making habits

Ultimately, a large percentage of life is run on habit.

There are so many things in life that we do without even thinking. Take for example the whole morning routine, from hitting the snooze button, to taking a bath, to breakfast is usually one long habit cycle running.

Most, if not all, crisis are handled by habit. There really is no time to think in those moments and what you do is what you have practiced to do.

Much of mastery is repetition. You practice and practice to make certain actions involuntary or habitual. Athletes train to alter their technique of running or other sport, so that the new technique becomes habitual. Martial arts is all about habit, so that in that one instant of attack, the body just acts.

One’s study of music is spent largely repeating the pressing of keys so that one becomes habitual in creating a particular sound through a particular action.

This is all common knowledge, mostly. What is usually ignored is the fact that even much of our thoughts and expressions are by habit. I would say that, unless we catch ourselves, almost all our thoughts are automatic. We dont have much control over them and worse we identify the thoughts as our selves and actually follow their instructions.

Sometimes we get lucky. The habits we develop work in certain aspects of our life. Due to a habit of discipline, careers tend to work quite well. The same discipline may fail in the area of making friends and having fun though. Habits unfortunately are not intelligent and unless we are vigilant we can end up using the wrong habit in the wrong place. I am sure all of us have examples of this.

The tl;dr is that our present is a product of habits that we have developed (and maybe a small percentage (< 1%) of conscious choice. The easy way to create the future we want is to cultivate habits that occur in that future. This includes mental as well as physical habits.

So the easy way to get what you want from life, is to look at the future you want and see what kind of habits are required for that future and spend some time working on those habits while dealing with the present.