Success Is A Habit, But It's Not Routine
We usually think of habits as negative. Smoking rather than flossing, for example. Habits are like peer pressure in that regard. But peer pressure is only bad if your peers are.
Peer pressure can actually be quite positive. I have peers who challenge me to achieve more, read more, work smarter, think differently, and get more out of life. A lot of unproductive, unhappy people would do well to find positive peers to pressure them!
So it is with habits. They can be good or bad. Your success depends on cultivating good habits.
Habit vs Routine
There’s a difference between habit and routine. One is intentional, the other mindless. No matter what your picture of success looks like, you won’t get there by being mindless.
A couple definitions from dictionary.com for clarity.
Habit: an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary
Routine: regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, or rote procedure
“But Damian,” you’re saying, “the word habitual is in the definition of routine.” Yep, it is. Along with unvarying and unimaginative. Are those adjectives you’d like to see on your tombstone?
Also the word rote is used to describe routine. Rote means “without thought.”
Unimaginatively and unvaryingly plodding through life without thought seldom yields positive results.
Habit, as opposed to routine, is defined as an acquired behavior pattern. See the difference? Acquired is active. That means you sought it out and made it happen. Intentionally.
Cumulative Effect of Habits
Good or bad, habits don’t generally make you or break you immediately. Unless you’re talking about a serious drug habit, which can be quickly lethal.
Habits have a cumulative effect. They’re like compound interest in that regard. The fit person isn’t fit because she exercised Tuesday. She’s fit because she exercises every Tuesday. Several other days of the week too. Habits always have a payoff, it just takes a while.
The Sales Habit
My friend and insurance agent has a policy about insurance policies: He won’t quit for the day until he’s sold one.
That was the advice given by his grandfather, who started the agency. Tom cultivated it into a habit. Intentionally. He demands of himself that he sell at least one new insurance policy per day.
That’s disciplined and deliberate. After 3 decades of daily habit, the cumulative effect is a prosperous business.
Where have you fallen into a routine? What aspect of your life and work is unimaginatively without thought? What about your habits?
Creating the life and business of one’s choosing requires one to first make an active choice. Make the choice to develop good habits.
Damian Mason is a self made businessman, farm boy, and speaker. He has dozens of good habits and a couple bad ones. www.damianmason.com