“Men are born soft and supple; dead they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.” ~ Lao Tzu
By Catherine Austin Fitts
If you search our Best Books for the upcoming year in our Annual Wrap Ups, you know I often recommend The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.
I have come to believe in the power of habits—and the importance of understanding their role in our lives and society. My interest stems from two sets of experiences. First was a period of extreme stress and a focus on survival that wreaked havoc with my habits. I came to appreciate habits when I saw the harm of losing good habits and the challenge of trying to rebuild them. Second, I spent ten years working as an investment advisor. I saw the impact of habits over many years and many generations. If you want to be successful—as you define success—develop good habits and teach them to your children.
How do we develop better habits? James Clear has made a serious study of this question and written a book on what he learned. He begins with the idea of thinking small. An “atomic habit” is a regular act that is easy to do—you just have to compound its impact by doing it regularly.
Clear believes that bad habits continue because we don’t have the right system in place to convert to good habits. He proves that with the right system, small changes can compound into significant results.
For example, if you need to exercise, how about taking a five-minute walk each day—until the habit of getting up and going for a walk each day is established. Then you can lengthen the time of the walk.
Clear also has us start with the real end in mind: Don’t focus on what you want to achieve—focus on what you wish to become.
The book is well written, with a wealth of practical insights and ideas. If you want help improving your habits from a man who has seriously studied and personally worked though the issues, you will enjoy this one.