Habit is notorious – and rightly so – for its ability to direct our actions, even against our will; but by mindfully shaping our habits, we can harness the power of mindlessness as a sweeping force for serenity, energy, and growth.
– Gretchen Rubin
Hello and welcome to part two of the two part article series on “The Habit of a Lifetime”. To recap part one, your most powerful habits are your habits of mind and perception (personality), often they operate without you even knowing, they determine what you see and thus influence how you feel and act, and they are based on the past not the present.
In this article I’ll be further sharing why it’s so critical for your emotional intelligence to find and see through your habits of personality, how you can build your emotional intelligence in this area, short courses on NLP that will help, some NLP life hacks you can apply right away and what you can expect from mastering the habit of a lifetime.
So let’s get to why it’s so critical for your emotional intelligence to find and see through your habits of personality. The main point being that seeing through these habits allows you to regain and re-own your power to choose in the present.
Victor Frankl is quoted as saying “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In that response lies our growth and our freedom”. When we can see our habits we are aware of our power to choose, we are aware of the “space” Victor Frankl references. When we are blind to our habits on the other hand, they tend to take us straight from stimulus to response without thought.
Choice is significant for your emotional intelligence and your personal development. Being at choice point gives you mental, emotional and behavioral options, whereas habits close them down and compels you to experience reality in fixated ways. The more mental/emotional/behavioural options you have available to you as a human being, the more freedom and power you have in any given moment. We call this “running your own brain”.
Maybe now you are thinking “okay, I would like to run my own brain, where do I start?” Great question!
If you want a targeted approach then I recommend some studying Neuro-Linguistic-Programming, or NLP for short. You can find short courses and full length 8 Day NLP Trainings, in either case NLP focuses on many things, being a powerful communicator, emotional intelligence , the psychology of influence and change, but more than anything else, NLP is the study of running your own brain. Being able to identify the mental/emotional patterns and habits running you (and others) so that you can work with them for significant personal development and change.
If you want to get certified as an NLP Practitioner make sure that the school’s NLP Certificate is credible and accredited by a recognized international body such as the International Society of Neuro-Semantics. Also ensure that the training is practical and hands on experiential rather than theoretical and lecture based.
Another direct approach is to seek the services of a coach – a life coach, or an executive coach who is trained in developmental psychology and has the skills and expertise to detect patterns of thinking and perceiving. Rather than learning the study of running your own brain in general, a coach can facilitate you running your own brain specifically.
Those are the professional options, for some life hacks you can apply right away, do the following:
1. Ask your friends and family – what are some of your “quirks”, behaviors that consistently seem to form part of your personality? Here are some questions to help:
* Is your motivational energy typically centered on goals/achievements or on problems to be dealt with or issues to be avoided?
* Do you tend to assess your performance through your own internal standards/beliefs, or do you assess through information/feedback from external sources?
* Do you tend to esteem (value) yourself conditionally – based on your “human-doing” and achieving? Or is your esteem unconditional – a birthright based on your “human-being”?
* Do you tend to look for alternatives and like to keep your options open, or do prefer to follow established procedures?
* Do you tend to count and celebrate your achievements, skills, strengths? Or are they backgrounded in favour of focusing on everything you haven’t yet achieved, the skills and strengths you don’t have yet?
2. Pick one of these habits of personality and in every opportunity you have, practice the polar opposite. If you have a habit of constantly ceding your authority and asking others things like “what do you think is right/wrong/sensible? What do you think I should do/eat/study?” practice asking and answering yourself instead.
3.Keep a journal on your practice that answers the following – “what is the habit giving me that is valuable (and where)? And what is this habit costing me or preventing me from experiencing (and where)? What beliefs activate this habit?”
This is an NLP based exercise that will expand your awareness of where, when, and how your habits of personality are activating and what are the ‘beliefs’ that cause them to activate. This grows your emotional intelligence by increasing your self awareness, and in the words of Fritz Perls “awareness is curative”.
Which brings us to the end of part two. And so to recap – seeing your habits of personality gives you the power to choose, choice gives you mental, emotional, behaviour options and these options are a reflection of your freedom and power as a human being. To master the habit of a life time and build your emotional intelligence there are short courses as well as full length NLP Trainings, you can utilise the services of a life coach or executive coach, or employ the NLP life hack detailed above. That’s me for now!