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Your habits determine your destiny

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Your habits determine your destiny. So, don’t give up your power to shape them. Everybody has habits.

Habits are certain behaviours you repeat every day of your life. For you, my reader, one of your habits is reading. Everyday, after getting out of bed, you brush your teeth, dress up, eat and drink, leave the house, use the Internet through your phone or laptop and then later repeat variations of that sequence in reverse.

The outcomes of your life are determined by your habits. The patterns of your behaviour dictate your destiny. These are patterns of action, patterns of emotion and patterns of thought. They are all patterns, they repeat.

It is this repetition that steers you, like a pair of invisible hands towards, certain destinations. Your habits lead you to fame, fortune and success. They can carry you to love and happiness.

Your habits can also drive you to depression, loneliness and anxiety. They drop you into poverty, darkness, and suicide. You might not think about your habits at all, but your habits don’t just matter; they are everything. How happy you are is the result of your habits. How much money you make, have and can keep is a result of your habits.
 
How healthy you are compared to how healthy you could be; how many friends you have, even how long you would live, all of these are determined by your habits. And if you failed to pay attention to these habits, if you don’t observe or assess and consciously shape patterns of your habits, they could drive you into penury.

Understanding, this takes more than nodding acceptance. It is about grasping, accepting and truly living a meaningful existence, for habits are your only weapon in your lifelong search for meaning, happiness and purpose. The age of believing is over; we’re now in the age of knowing. You have to examine the veracity of a statement for it could be a myth.

In life, you have to choose a life path or vote for who you wish to become. You have to say yes to a dream. This best explained by the movie, Yes Man, where Jim Carrey plays a bitter divorcee- Carl, who stumbles into a self-help movement that is all about saying “yes.” The leader of the movement forces Carl to make a vow to say “yes” to any and every request. This gets Carl into instant trouble.

First, he must give a homeless man a ride to a remote place. Then, the guy drained his phone battery and asks for all his money. After walking to an interminable gas station, however, Carl’s luck turns better. A cute damsel offers him a scooter ride, leaving him with a goodnight kiss.
 
However, identity change is to truly change your behaviour. But humans don’t think of habits this way, because usually, we’re focused on goals- a certain outcome or result. The reality, however, is that first, we have to become a person that can achieve an outcome, for it is only if you aim at becoming a doctor that you can become one. Thus, the goal is not to run a marathon; it is to become a runner. In the course of the movie in question, that is exactly what happens to Carl.

 
There are many variations of the word “no” in the script, most of which were dropped in the first half of the film. What follows is a series of 94 yes, by the end of which Carl has become a different person- a guy who says yes to what life has to offer.

You don’t expect your small choices to have much impact, let alone change who you are, but they actually add up. Therefore, every action you take is a vote for the type of person you want to become. Having a cigarette once in a while isn’t bad, but it is destructive because each take sends a signal that says, “I am a smoker.” Later, you might find yourself buying a pack a day.

Just as new habits slowly change your self-image, a slow change in your self-image would lead to new habits. That is why initially, it is best to focus on a small identity change rather than a big behavioral change.

Every action is a vote for who you want to become. You are voting whether you like it or not. The habits we choose today would determine what we become tomorrow.


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