From Further Secrets of Adulthood: If we’re too tired to do anything except watch TV or cruise the internet, go to sleep.
I have to admit, I struggle sometimes to remember this Secret of Adulthood. I don’t have trouble getting off the internet, but sometimes I watch TV because I feel too tired to read. Continue reading
5 reasons why rewards can be very dangerous for habit-formation.
Of the 21 strategies that I identify, that we can use to make or break our habits, the Strategy of Reward was one of the most difficult for me to understand.
In large part, because the lesson is: be very wary of using rewards to master habits!
Why? It sounds so sensible to reward yourself for sticking to a good habit. But it turns out that rewards are very, very tricky to use well.
Why? Continue reading
Of everything that I’ve considered and concluded about happiness and good habits, I think this phrase sums it up best. Continue reading
From Further Secrets of Adulthood.
I feel this way often. I need to schedule time to be unscheduled, I need to force myself to wander, I have to reassure myself that staring into space is as useful as staring into my laptop.
I guess the idea isn’t so much “laziness” as ”leisureliness.” Continue reading
I take giant amounts of notes, and I’m constantly copying passages from books that I read. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also one of my favorite things to do.
Oddly, I’ll often take notes, or copy passages, where the meaning isn’t clear to me. Sometimes it takes me years (if ever) to understand the meaning of something that I knew was significant, but didn’t know why. And then, when I grasp it — so thrilling! Nothing makes me happier. Continue reading
Of all the insights and observations that I make about the nature of habits and human nature in Better Than Before (at least I hope I make them), I’m most proud of my Four Tendencies framework.
It was very, very hard to grasp this pattern in human character, but I have to say, now that I’ve identified it, I constantly see it on display in the world. Those four categories (Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, Rebel) do capture something–something that strikes me as truly real. (Want to find out your Tendency? 65,000 people have taken this Quiz.)
I’m always trying to understand the Four Tendencies better, and looking for examples, and evidence comes to me when I least expect it. Continue reading
When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, “What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?”
“They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,” Pa said. “Go to sleep, now.”
But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.
She thought to herself, “This is now.”
She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.
– Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods (last paragraphs)
This is one of my favorite passages in all of literature. I think of it often, especially when I come home after a trip. “This is now.“ Continue reading
“All severity that does not tend to increase good, or prevent evil, is idle.“
– Samuel Johnson, as quoted in James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson
I often think about this remark by Samuel Johnson.
Because I’ve been so focused on habits over the past few years, during the writing of Better Than Before, people often talk to me about the habits they want to change.
And although I have so many strategies and ideas that I’ve identified to help people master their habits, to my surprise, I frequently find myself making the case against changing a habit. Continue reading
This post is back by popular demand, because when I tell people that I’ve been working on Better Than Before, my book about habit change, one of the questions that people most often ask me is:“What habits are best for creativity?”They want to know what habits help people think creatively — and also, actually produce.
Often, people make the case for adopting a particular habit by pointing to a renowned figure who practiced that habit, with great success. For instance… Continue reading