Monday, 29 April 2013

Habit- Good or Evil?

Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
- Vince Lombardi

Habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. It is essential for learning. Learning cannot be completed without rehearsing again and again until it is completely absorbed in the brain or more precisely in the nervous system. The word ‘habit’ is derived from Latin word ‘habitus’ meaning ‘retained’. If we further go deep in the history almost at the beginning of the ancient civilizations, we found a word ‘habeĊ’ meaning ‘to grab’ in the Proto Indo-European language which is thought to be the mother of many Indian and European Languages. As it is clear from the etymology of the word ‘habit’ that it has to do something with learning and exactly how it helps learning can be understood from functioning of the nervous system.

The nervous system consists merely of mechanism for the reception & transmission of incoming messages and their transformation into outgoing messages which produce movement. The messages trail in the form of nervous current; leaving impressions on the pathway it traverses which once made can be retained and thereafter tends to seek the same pathway and to end in the same movement when same incoming message received. Movements may be started by the stimulation of a sense organ or by a thought. Howsoever it starts, seeks a way out, and prefers pathways already traversed. Hence we are bound to have habits.

Everything that enters nervous system produces some modification within it. It is derived from the factor of modifiability that with each succeeding repetition, the tasks become easier or learning becomes better because the path becomes worn smoothly and the nervous current seek it own accord, in other words, each act and each thought tends to become habitualized . We are bundle of habits and they manifest themselves in two ways as habit of action and habit of thoughts. Our mind is arranged in such habitual patterns that a large part of what we do and think during the course of twenty four hours is habitual.

Habit answers the mechanism behind learning which is basically involuntary in nature once the pathway is designed but leaves out option with us to choose which one to develop.

To ensure beneficial learning and cultivation of useful habits we must aware about incoming and outgoing messages and act as guard to allow only positive things to enter. We must go slowly at first to register the correct impression, so that it triggers the required outcome in the form of desired habits. It takes 21 days to concrete the neural pathway dig out by any stimulation. So, it is necessary to practice the activity at exact time continuously without any exception for at least 21 days because each time exception deepens the old pathway to boost the previous result. Reward yourself on each successive days and in case an exception occurs punish yourself. Don't fight with negative thoughts, just substitute it with positive one, using affirmative statements only, because our mind could not hold two thoughts at a time.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not a act, but a habit.~Aristotle                                     

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Hope the article fans the flame of POSITIVITY within you.

Have a nice day!