"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
Developing the formation of good habits for achieving success is not a secret. It is understood by almost all adults that what you reap, you shall also sow, which is why turning successful tasks into habits puts the path to a profitable business almost on autopilot. In Charles Duhigg's book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business, the incredible impact of habits on business is revealed in a fashion that helps the reader to understand why habits are important, (the good ones), and how developing the right habits ensure automatic success.
The crux of Duhigg's book is that we create and maintain habits to conserve mental energy so we can think about more complex and difficult issues. One of the examples Duhigg uses is that of our morning routine. Do we shower first then brush our teeth? Or do we brush and then shower? The point is that we really don't even think about it because it is a habit. Our thoughts during the morning are on other things, while we work our habits.
"Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all the 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 habit."
--- Vince Lombardi
Taking the steps to develop good habits begins in the mind. If we continually think like Eeyore, the pessimistic, gloomy character in Winnie-the-Pooh, our actions will reflect those thoughts. We will begin walking with our heads down, working sluggishly through our day with every thought being negative and full of despair.
But if we think right first, our actions, the ones we want to become habits, will also be the right ones that we want to catapult us toward success.
"Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex."
--- Norman Vincent Peale
Duhigg states in the book that one way a behavior can become habitual is through repetition. If we acquire a bad habit this way it is very hard to change, because its grooves are so well worn in our minds. We have to painstakingly practice a better response that wears a new groove. He uses legendary NFL coach, Tony Dungy, as an example of success using habits. Dungy taught his players a small number of important moves they could perform without thinking, even at the most crucial point in a game. He didn't invent a new system when he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but simply had his players create habits of what they were supposed to do.
"Winners make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations in advance of the event."
--- Brian Tracy
Habits are easy to form. It begins at an early age and continues through adulthood. The key is to form the right habits so that without thought our habits are continually driving us toward the success we want to achieve.
Start good habits today and encourage your team members to do the same. Begin with routine procedures such as greeting customers in a positive manner (e.g. Chick-fil-A restaurants), or wearing safety equipment when working (e.g. Alcoa) and work from that point. Forming good habits make it easier to make the right decisions in critical moments which form the foundation for a successful business.
Are You Finished Yet? Part 2
By Ray Weiss
When I began this article on finishing, I made the assumption that finishing was something that always occurred at the end of the printing process. After all, it is called 'finishing.'
Read the article...
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Outside of a horse pasture in Macon, GA:
"If you can read this, you're in range"
Sign on fence post somewhere in Montana:
"No Trespassing! I own firearms and a backhoe"
On a post at bottom of stairs from beach dunes to hotel in Daytona Beach:
"Beware of... well... just beware!"
We need those funny signs you have seen in your travels, come on, we know they are out there.
Send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.