When I see a good article, I gotta pass it along….
This Is Your Brain on Habits
Good stories, helpful strategies, fun stuff… (and Words To Live By, Frey Freyday)
Remember when you got your driver’s license and had to back your car out of the garage for the first time?
If we could have peered into your brain at that moment, we would have seen a flurry of activity…
Because this brand new skill requires thousands of tiny, complex calculations that must be performed in fractions of seconds.
For example… “Don’t hit the gas too hard, don’t hit the side of the garage, don’t hit the garbage cans on the sidewalk, and don’t hit any cars or pedestrians that may be coming down the street.”
Hey, it’s a lot for any brain to handle!
But guess what – now that you’ve fully mastered the skill of backing your car out of the garage, you literally don’t think about it.
In fact, if we were to look at your brain on a brain scan machine today, we would see an incredible drop in brain activity when compared to the flood of activity taking place when you were first learning this new skill.
That’s because your brain is highly efficient and conserves as much energy as possible, in case it needs it for truly momentous things, like fighting predators and raising children.
This very fact of the human brain is both the good news AND the bad news about habits and their relationship to success.
Why? Because on the one hand, it’s fantastic that you don’t have to consciously think every time you perform simple tasks every day: things like tying your shoes, brushing your teeth, or backing your car out of the garage.
However, because your brain is so efficient, it also makes it very difficult to CHANGE a habit, even when you WANT to change it.
Because your brain is essentially saying, “Hey, I’ve got a good thing going here! Why do you want to mess around with it!?”
It’s the classic, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – but it’s all happening inside your brain!
Take Action Challenge:
Notice which habits you’re doing today that you don’t think about any more. Which habits are you doing that you would be better off replacing with more productive habits?
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Noah St. John, Inventor of Afformations