Ninety five percent of what we humans do is habitual. And only five percent of our behavior occurs when we are being “at choice”. Many of us continue to habitually operate in self-defeating ways even though that behavior does not serve us. We have become comfortable with the behavior and uncomfortable with the results. Jean Farber, the great French naturalist came across a perfect example of this type of habitual self-defeating behavior while studying the processionary caterpillar. He discovered that this unique creature spends its life in the forest feeding on pine needles and moves among the trees as part of a long chain with his eyes half-closed and his head butted closely against the fellow just ahead in sort of a bumper to bumper fashion. What would happen, Faber wondered if he connected the leader to the last caterpillar in the chain? Without much trouble he succeeded in getting a circle going around the rim of the flower pot. Around and around they went for seven days and seven nights. Nothing could break the chain….except exhaustion and weakness from lack of food, and yet food and water was there in the middle of the pot, less than a caterpillar away.
People all too often behave like the processionary caterpillar. We become so wrapped up in our traditions, habits and customs…. We stop thinking!
Our comfort zone becomes a replacement for constructive creative thought. We become inflexible and afraid. Afraid of moving out of our circle of security that represents talking, doing and behaving in our self-defeating habitual way. Just like all the others in our circle are talking, doing and behaving.
For example, how many times have you, your spouse, teen or boss had the same argument- you know how it will start, and you know how it will end, and you know that you will have it again. And you know that it will only escalate the next time around. Even when there is an opportunity for a better relationship, we stay stuck on our pot. We are too afraid of moving from our familiar ring or we are not willing to give up doing things the so called “right way”. We just keep tail-gating all our lives. So we go around and around on our pot – stuck in our habitual behavior. But the outcome gives us the same negative results over and over again; like the saying: “When you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you have always gotten”.
If you really want to break out of these negative patterns it will take an honest self- assessment. “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” You must open your eyes and take the blinders off so that you can see where it is that you are operating on your own pot. Change is a difficult thing, but, first you must be courageous enough to get real and to get honest. As this year comes to a close and you start to think about those New Year’s resolutions, don’t just make the list with the traditional stop smoking, stop over-eating, stop drinking and start exercising. Take a look at some of these other habits that are stopping you from getting all the abundance, joy and love in life.
Here are some places to look for those self-defeating habits that alter your success:
• Are you trying too hard to get love and approval from your parents?
• Are you afraid to make a mistake and so you procrastinate making a decision, which makes the decision?
• Have you actually become addicted to your anger; are you a rageaholic?
• Are you a people pleaser and you continually say yes when you mean no?
• Are you unable to forgive and do you hold a grudge?
• Do you always have to have the right answer no matter what?
• Do you focus on what your partner is doing wrong and not on what you could do better?
• Do you keep putting up with broken promises?
• Do you focus on trying to change others? In other words are you a control freak?
• Are you defiant and cannot recognize how that is self-defeating?
Do you talk when nobody’s listening and have you gotten used to not being listened too?
• Are you the great pretender; pretending to be fine when you are not?
• Do you take things too personally, are you too sensitive and wear your heart on your sleeve?
• Do you have high expectation of self and others and low levels of acceptance?
• Do you try to take care of everyone else and leave your needs last? And then feel sorry for yourself.
I am sure that you can see these behaviors in others, but not always willing to look at ourselves and break out of our own chain of events to make things better. You might consider that one of these negative habitual behavioral areas is a place for you to look at as a candidate to add to your New Year’s resolution list. We can be more “at choice” by taking the blinders off and looking outside our ring of habitual behaviors. Let’s get off the pot in 2012 and truly change those self-defeating behaviors that stop us from winning our race.
As an entrepreneur, executive in industry, a business consultant and self development trainer, I have used many techniques, processes and systems to manifest outstanding results. I believe that the small business owner with an entrepreneurial mindset will drive our future economic success. I’m eager to share these Critical Skill Sets with you so that you too can become an UnBEATable entrepreneur. 810-735-7850