What Is the Worst Bad Habit?
Probably all of us have this habit to some extent, and I am
nominating it for the worst one you can have. What is it? It
is our tendency to fight reality rather than accept and deal
with things the way they are. I'll give some examples, and a
few suggestions as to how to overcome this bad habit.
It is a subtle habit, expressing itself in everything from
blaming others for our problems to getting angry at traffic.
How do know when you are fighting reality? Here are some clues.
First, consider how rarely you complain or are angry or annoyed
because rocks are hard and water is wet. This easy acceptance
of the facts of nature is due to your clearly seeing that this
is simply the way it is. You don't have ideas that rocks should
be soft or water dry. In the complexity of modern life, however,
we do have ideas about how things "should be." This
is the beginning of our fight against reality.
This is not to say that you can't work to make the world a
better place, but you don't need to deny or fight reality to
do that. As a young man I failed in business because I felt that
there "shouldn't be" regulations and complicated tax
systems. I dealt poorly with these things and used them as excuses
for not doing all that I had to do to succeed. Successful entrepreneurs
may agree with my laissez-faire political viewpoint, but they
also accept that things are how they are, and deal with it.
Blaming is a great way to excuse ourselves from taking responsibility,
and one of the subtle ways of fighting reality. Recognizing the
role of outside factors and other people in our problems is just
honesty, but focusing more on assigning blame than on our own
choices of how to deal with the problems is just a bad habit.
It is like a child screaming "I don't want it this way!"
as though that will change reality. It just isn't very productive,
as you may notice in friends who find many things and people
to blame in their lives.
Overcoming a Bad Habit
You can blame the person who chooses to be cruel to you, but
you are also to blame if you choose to be abused repeatedly by
spending time with this person. It is almost like sticking your
hand in a fire repeatedly, hoping it will one day stop being
hot. Almost, I say, because a person CAN change. How often do
they, though? You have to be realistic here, or you are fighting
reality as surely as when you put your hand into a fire.
You can wait for your "ship to come in," or you
can face the fact that people create most of the "luck"
that they have in life, and start working toward your goals.
You can work for political change or just complain and wish things
were different. You can watch people succeed and talk about the
"reasons" for your failures or procrastination, or
you can see what they are doing to succeed and try that.
We have to see the truth, but to really want to see it we
may need to look at the futility of fighting reality. Who is
more likely to be happy in this world, the man who demands that
it should be the way he wants it, or the one that accepts things
as they are, changes what he can, and does what he needs to do?
Who will more likely succeed, the man who knows how things "should
be," or the one who sees only what is there and deals with
Need motivation to change? Watch complainers and blamers and
those who say "should" and "shouldn't" too
often. If you watch closely, you'll see how they suffer for their
demands on reality. It is the habit upon which many other bad
habits are based, and it is one of the worst, but it can be broken.