Pretty much everyone wants more. Increase is a driver for most of us in career and business matters. More connections, more influence, more options, more opportunities, more choice, more sales…it goes on. To get more, you have to be more and usually do more. It turns out the big secret to that is your habits. And Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit is pretty much the bible on the topic.
CONFESSION: This is the first book I’ve reviewed that I’ve not actually read. But these days few books actually need to be read, at least in the business or non fiction category. This review comes from digesting summaries and seeing a short presentation on the book from one of my mastermind members Paul. That’s not to say it isn’t worth reading – it looks like a brilliant book! Here’s what I know and learned:
- From brushing your teeth to switching on your computer, we all have habits. It’s the stuff you do on autopilot as the brain serves to save energy and actually think less. The more you’re aware of them, the more you can control them to yield your desired outcomes.
- The habit loop says your routines, behaviors or actions (like having a coffee break at a certain time of the day) are triggered by cues or stimuli, which result in outcomes or rewards.
- There are five cues that trigger every habit. These are your location (you’re in the bar, so you drink a beer), the time of day (it’s mid-morning so you’re ready for a coffee), the people around you (I’m with Joe, so we’ll have a smoke), the preceding action (I’ve eaten chocolate, now I chew gum) and your emotional state (you’re stressed, so you bite your nails)
- There are few quick fixes to ditch a bad habit. 6 out of 7 heart attack victims go back to the same routines after they recover. Habits are hard to break, so the wisdom is to replace rather drop them. The best way to do that is recognise the five triggers or cues and change them.
- Work habits such as planning your day the night before, checking email twice daily, always being on your phone…can all have a positive effect on your performance.
- Getting other people to change is almost impossible. This is why a lot of coaching and training doesn’t work. It’s short term. That’s why knowing how habits re formed and changed is vital to success.
I loved this whole idea of being able to control our habits rather than letting them control us. You can see how easily these concepts can be applied to your networking, your selling, your writing, your productivity and ultimately your performance. If you’re a reader, this should definitely be on your bookshelf!
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