I’ve been giving a lot of thought to habits lately. We all have them, good and bad. We consciously choose some of the habits and do others unconsciously. I took inventory of my habits with the filter: “what do I want for my life?” This filter led me to re-examine much of what I do and many of my conscious thoughts.
In 1903 the American Journal of Psychology defined a habit, as such, “A habit, from the standpoint of psychology, is a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.” After careful introspection, I decided that I could throw most of my habits overboard without a floatation device. I immediately thought, “What would XXX think about it?” XXX being someone or anyone I knew or didn’t. I think I allowed much of my life to be influenced by others opinions and or my perceptions of their thoughts. Finally, in my forty-first year of life, I deem this habit destructive and my decision is to cast it away. I can do that right? After all, I am captain of my own ship.
I have always loved those self-help types of books. I’ve gleaned the same sort of advice since I started reading them. I succeeded in making temporary changes to affect the problems which led me to purchase a book. It seems that after being satisfied in my success, I then tossed away the newly formed habit(s) that proved beneficial. I realize this makes no sense at all, as I write this journal entry. How much money have I spent on those books anyway? What if I invested that money into that stock share that appreciated so much in 20+ years? See, I did it again.
Now that I have that figured out, how do I cast aside other people’s perceptions? Wikipedia just told me that a perception was this: “Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sense organs.” Maybe I should go back to the expensive books? What is the definition for self talk? Nope. I’m not going back to Wikipedia one more time today!
I think the only appropriate decision is to chart my own course and do what is best for myself, my wife and my family. There is no purpose in the world for beating myself up with my perceptions. Real or imagined. What will I ever do after gaining all of that time back for myself? Something productive, I guess.
I have eliminated social media from my life. I am pretty sure I have gained back full days out of the month with that decision. What is social media anyway? I think I used Facebook and whatnot to better my stock in other’s eyes and my own. (ie. bad habit) Why should I care about what others think of me? Why would I want to make myself look better to other people, many of whom I don’t even know from the real world? I made the decision to spend time enriching my life with real world experiences and connection with others, namely my family. I am better because of it.
Sometimes I feel like a fog has cleared and I can actually see what matters in life. I hope to continue down this path and live in a more positive world where I don’t care what others think of me. My life is the only one that matters, in reality. I am a better man when I live for me and for my the positive outcomes that are probable in life.
I am looking forward to fair winds and calm seas.