Pragmatic Habits

If there’s one pragmatic “truth” for accomplishment that I’ve discovered, it’s that habits are the most powerful mechanism we can leverage.

We can be possessed by ideas, or we can let ideas possess us.

We can let habits possess us, or we can possess our habits.

It’s a balance of reflection and action.

Beginning with why? Isolating our highest values, and reverse engineering the cause and effect relationships that allows us to manifest them.

Begin with why.

Then plan.

Draw up a map. Do this for your day, your week, month, year, 5 year, 10 year.

Forming habits require using reason to overcome our primal impulses to react to the now, and keeping a long term aim or ideal in mind.

Using reason in this way is what we call discipline.

Once you’ve established your end goal, and the routine aims and tasks to get you there, you need to suspend reflection, and act diligently and boldly.

Take time periodically to measure your progress and revise your actions as needed, but keeping in mind that habits free up mental energy to solve the challenging problems.

Habits are so powerful.

Routine is so powerful.

They create momentum.

They allow you to show up, and do the work, and eliminate the mental tax of last minute planning and organizing.

We’re all a collection of habits. A giant confluence of these cause and effect associations that move us through life.

I believe meditation— reflection, prayer, planning— is the key to disassociating from these primitive impulses to react and respond to every stimuli that eventually finds its way into our perceptions and daily thoughts.

Meditation, reflection, prayer— is reason embodied. It suspends the reactionary pursuit of pleasurable distraction.

When we master our habits, when we use habits to our benefit, instead of allowing habits to satisfied these animal urges for temporary novelty and pleasure, we become something more powerful, and embrace our autonomy.

Sometimes I think that if the right “value” or “aim” or “end” or “why” appeared, and “inspired” me, that my habits would coalesce.

But I know this is never how it works.

You run the day, or the day runs you.

How do you choose?

It’s pretty lame when people (like myself) use the excuse that they don’t know what to do, or what to study, or what to pursue.

You just choose. Life won’t choose it for you. Sometimes life creates massive pain points that force you to look harder at your habits, and force you to make changes, but it’s never a guarantee. At the end of the day, you choose what’s enough, you choose whats important. Being religious won’t help, because even that’s a choice.

You choose your faith.

You must have faith in something. There will never be enough evidence to produce a perfectly rational and justifiable course of action.

Many times, evidence is collected after the fact.

We humans rationalize everything. We can rationalize things for our benefit, or our detriment.

It doesn’t need to be blind faith, but I’m half convinced that blind faith is almost preferable. It relieves you of the burden of having to convince yourself and others of what you’re doing.

It may seem crazy, but everything is crazy that hasn’t been done before. And your life has never been lived before.

We collect evidence in hindsight to justify this or that.

Habits.

Habits make us or they break us.

It all begins with our thoughts.

Self control.

Do we control our thoughts, or do our thoughts control us?

Who is the master here?

How much responsibility will you take for your life? Your thoughts? Your outcomes?

If you fail to take full responsibility for every thought, whether it was original to you or the result of an Influence, you are relinquishing self control, and diminishing your power to change the outcome of your life.

First law of classical mechanics: body in motion stays in motion, unless acted upon by another force.

The stronger our habits, the more powerful we are.

I believe reason– reflection and mediation– allows us to reprogram our thoughts and our habits.

It all begins with our thoughts.

Eliminate distraction. Focus on the end, the aim, the goal, the highest value, the dream. Meditate on it. Imagine it.

Every thought and action should empower that end. Every behavior should somehow thread its way toward its attainment.

Excuses are lame. Everyone has them. Blame social media. Blame parents. Blame education. Blame friends. Blame the country. Blame the government.

We are not victims.

We become a victim when we give our thoughts to the influence of others, and instead of creating an empowering narrative about our own ability to manifest our dreams and desires, we allow others to program these narratives within us.

We allow excuses in our behavior. It’s lazy. It’s easy. It’s human. It’s also petty and disempowering and renders us no different than animals.

To acknowledge our unique ability to reason, to master our thoughts, to dream, to plan, to delay gratification, to assume full responsibility for our failure to achieve any desire whatsoever, is to acknowledge the divinity of man, and what separates us from all other animals.

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