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The Power of Habits

Habit grows out of environment


out of doing the same thing in the same way over and over again – out of repetition – out of thinking the same thoughts over and over – and, when once formed, it resembles a cement block that has hardened in the mold – in that it is hard to break.

If it be true that habit becomes a cruel tyrant, ruling and compelling men against their will, desire, and inclination – and this is true in many cases – the question naturally arises in the thinking mind whether this mighty force cannot be harnessed and controlled in the service of men, just as have other forces of Nature. If this result can be accomplished, then man may master habit and set it to work, instead of being a slave to it and serving it faithfully though complinings. And the modern psychologists tell us in no uncertain tones that habit may certainly be thus mastered, harnessed and set to work, instead of being allowed to dominate one’s actions and character. (…)

Habit is force which is generally recognized by the average thinking person, but which is commonly viewed in its adverse aspect to the exclusion of its favorable phase. It has been well said that all men are ‘the creatures of habit,’ and that ‘habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day and it becomes so strong that we cannot break it.’

A habit is a ‘mental path’ over which our actions have traveled for some time, each passing making the path a little deeper and a little wider.If you have to walk over a field or through a forest, you know how natural it is for you to choose the clearest path in preference to the less worn ones, and greatly in preference to stepping out across the field or through the woods and making a new path. And the line of mental action is precisely the same. It is movement along the lines of least resistance – passage over the well-worn path. Habits are created by repetition and are formed in accordance to a natural law, observable in all animate things and some would say in inanimate things as well.”

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