Maybe we all have more in common with reptiles than we all ever thought. Maybe most of what we do in life is auto-piloted by some oblong extension of the spinal cord that we share in common with old cold-blooded friends.
If Charles Duhigg’s book the Power of Habit is accurate – and it seems to be well referenced – our brain tries to optimize around the higher cognition that Homo sapien is so proud. It’s as if our biology recognizes what is new in our family tree and doesn’t consider it every-day wear. It saves the fancy brain wave functions for special occasions only.
I exaggerate, but not that much. The Power of Habit has truly opened my eyes to how much of my life (and likely yours, too) is spent doing things without really thinking about what I am doing. Like seals learning tricks, we put beach balls on our noses’ because we want fish.
Perhaps my favorite lesson from the book is that we can’t really fight our habits with discipline and will-power. The author explains why this is true and how people with bad habits – smoking, gambling and drinking, for example – break them. It’s not what you (or I) think and that is another reason I recommend this book. You will feel better about yourself and understand why it’s so hard to change the things you wish you could.