Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Inertia

A definition of inertia: An object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force to change the direction or starting a movement. We are not trying to simulate or understand the physical movement of the objects. What we are really saying is that objects, persons, and organizations resist changing their direction or resist changing their ways to act. Non-profitable organizations will probably stay below zero unless there will be a change in the company culture or its business and overweight persons will probably eat too much crap and exercise too little in the future unless there will be a force which changes things like a doctor who tells the patient he/she will die soon if there is no change in the exercising and eating habits.

Resistance to change conserves energy

We are naturally resistant to change. It is our brains´ way of conserving energy. They are programmed that way, because when they were developed, we lived in a hostile neighborhood and survival was the only thing that mattered. It probably still is in our genes, but our survival is not a big deal every day anymore. Conserving energy was one of the best ways of staying alive. Most of the time, we do the same things again and again, day after day and week after week. All of this is happening in our unconscious mind. What actually happens is that our brains are fighting the change all the time. It does not want to make any changes, because the energy needed stays lower. Change is our brains´ worst enemy. They fight it any way they can. Our brains sabotage our change until we have succeeded to overcome the resistance on the whole. We need to push the change through with a lot of conscious effort or we will fail.

Changing how we work and improving in it need to be fought through our consciousness. Otherwise, chance of changing is low. We all hear and think ”this is the way we have always done things” explanation when we or somebody else want to change things to the better. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is one mental model all of us have that should be changed. All of us should remember that the only lasting thing is that things change around us and doing the same things in the same way all the time doesn´t help us in adapting to change. The best time to overcome the resistance to change is when we are on top of our performance cycles. The worst time is, when we are at the bottom. New year´s resolutions have probably the worst possible timing to overcome the resistance to change.

Discipline is nothing, habits are everything

When we are relying on discipline instead of habits, our brains are using more energy. This is a reality, which we cannot change. Discipline is harder in the long run than having habits. Brains have a certain amount of energy to use for the day. It is basically impossible to stay disciplined through the whole day without having any habits to conserve energy. Discipline can be improved, but there are some natural limits even for the most disciplined people. Energy conservation through habits helps us to concentrate on the most important things and execute them better.

Habits have the same kind of chains in our nerve fibers than skills. The more you execute the habit the more powerful the chain of nerve fibers becomes. The more repetition we have the harder it comes to change our habits. Most of our habits are executed through our unconscious. We don´t even realize we do things. Depending on the sources, 40-90 per cent of our actions are habits. This means habits have a bigger role in our lives than we think. Getting better habits leads us to better success, better ways of life, and a greater well-being.

We are not going onto too much details about habits this time, but they basically have three components: Trigger, Routine and Prize. We have no habits without the whole chain. We have just conscious actions. Trigger or a clue is anything from stress to the clues in our environment like logos of a chain restaurant. Routine is the action itself like eating a hamburger. Prize is the real reason why we execute the action. It can be anything from a hormonal change to a strong emotion. If we were watching a brain scanner, we would see a small spikes in our brain waves it while seeing the trigger for the habit and a lot bigger spike during having the prize. After the habit has developed fully, there is no way of getting rid of it. The only thing we can do is to avoid the trigger or change the routine if the trigger cannot be avoided. This will take lots of conscious effort and time. It is not impossible, but the time varies from weeks to months depending on how many repetitions we have done.

The ability to overcome our natural resistance for change and good habits are two building blocks for a great life

Without the ability to overcome our natural resistance to for change, we do not succeed as well as we could. The only permanent thing in the world is change. We have trouble in adapting this fact. Our world will definitely look different in ten years, but we may have not changed at all. It is not easy, but necessary. All the great performers in their own fields have adapted to change. Good habits conserve energy and lead to better skills and better life, when their effect is bigger on you than your bad habits´. Think about your habits and try to figure out which kind of effect they have on your life.

Sources:

Superhuman by Habit, Tynan
The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg
The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy
Be Excellent at Anything, Tony Schwartz
Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin

Have a great week!

-TT

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