72 Secrets to Happiness
Secret 32 Habits





Do you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again?  Wouldn't you love to break the cycle of unhappiness this causes you?

Occasionally we make such a big mistake that we say never again.  But then inevitably it does happen again.  The circumstances change slightly and our memory fades so we constantly keep repeating the same old actions.

Habits are not all bad and brushing your teeth every morning is a good example of a good habit.  It is just that bad habits seem to be easier to come by and harder to get rid of.  In the case of bad habits, the underlying problem must be removed or this negative trait will keep haunting us, and with each repeat of this negative behavior our pain and suffering will increase.  It is simply not enough to just say to ourselves that we must stop and turn over a new leaf.

The secret here is that habits are gut level reactions.  Reactions, with the exception of life threatening ones, are 99% wrong or at least not the best choice.  You will never learn to quit bad habits or find happiness unless you learn the four rules to avoiding negative reactions.

1. Learn to quickly  recognize all reactions and identify them as such..
2. Ask yourself if the reaction was going to be helpful to you or harmful.
3. Consider how else you may be able to handle the current situation.
4. Be proactive by making a choice instead of a mindless reaction.

Be assured that you will by instinct react instantly when that is the safest option and will not be following the four step rule above.  But in all other circumstances you should be able to identify a reaction within a second or two and then apply the rules.  Here is an example.

Someone cuts you off in traffic and you normally get instantly angry.  You are human so you will normally start to get angry but since you are watching for reactions you recognize that your anger is a reaction and ask yourself if what you are about to do next is really the right thing and who will benefit and who might suffer.

The answer may be that you were having a perfectly normal happy experience until this happened and now it may take you hours to get over the trauma of this encounter.  By continuing your anger will it just get stronger and what effect is your anger going to have on the offender?  Will showing the offender your anger teach him a lesson or just ruin his day as well?  Maybe a courtesy toot on the horn without anger may make him aware but it will still be up to them to decide if they even care about their actions.  You on the other hand can decide that the offender is not going to spoil your entire day and simply let it go or beep if you can do it calmly as a courtesy.

You have hundreds of reactions every day, most are not as big a deal as the one above, but using the four rules can make a significant difference not only to your general happiness but to your success in business and with friendships not to mention your close relationships.

Many parents tell their children to count to 10 when they get angry as a way to control themselves.  It is essentially the same thing.  Our minds are powerful and very capable of making great choices if just given a chance.  Reactions take choice away from us.  So do not be a slave to reactions and habits will soon be memories.
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