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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.

Fighting Reality

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 it?

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.

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