Have you noticed the extent to which we human beings go to avoid doing what needs to be done? 🙂
‘How to quit smoking’, ‘How to overcome laziness’, ‘How to control my anger’, ‘How to overcome my Mobile phone / television addiction’ to even ‘How do I bring an end to my Nail Biting habit’ – some of the questions which I regularly end up answering as a part of my work. I thought to bury it all in a blog post by straight answering ‘How to get rid of any of your bad habits’.
Most people hope for an advice which doesn’t require much courage. If you are hoping for something similar- please close this window and get back to doing something familiar e.g. the same old 2-3 familiar apps on your phone between which you keep sifting the whole day.
“It is not your passing inspirations or brilliant ideas so much as your everyday mental habits that control your life.”
– Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi)
The power of habit rules our day to day actions. A good many people let their whole life go by, making repeated good resolutions to improve, without ever succeeding in establishing & following new patterns of actions that are wholesome. More often than not we find ourselves doing; not what we wish to do, but what we are accustomed to doing. Very seldom do we realize that the health, success & wisdom outlook of our life entirely depends upon the issue of the battle between our good & bad habits. It is a psychological Mahabharata WAR!
And this Mahabharata is in my body. There are 100 Kauravas (Easy tendencies or blind senses or Kurus i.e. the offsprings of the blind king Dhritrashtra) BUT there are only 5 Pandavaas (Right tendencies, wisdom or sons of Pandu).
Let me further draw an analogy with the corporate world to explain the concept simply. Imagine I am a senior manager who has multiple reporting i.e. two bosses. You know multiple reporting rarely succeeds. Mostly they lead to confusions; if not anything else.
These 100 Kauravas combine to make my one boss and the 5 Pandavas combine to construct my second boss. No sooner do I try to feed the Pandavas (during my effort in changing); ALL the 100 Kauravas get actuated & they come & confront me. This is because of my so many years of apathy & ignorance towards following the Pandavas as my boss. I give up as 100 is 95 more than 5. I try to change so many times wilfully but numbers defeat me & I am back to that familiar & comfort zone feeling of listening to my old bosses – Kauravas.
So! How do I damn change then?
Here is my plan. Read very carefully & slowly next. Your exact answer lies in here:-
1) I cannot win this battle in one day. So I will jabardasti discipline myself to a fixed routine in which I confront & kill a few Kauravas everyday – Old Boss-i-cide 🙂
The discipline of fighting Kurukshetra daily (Yes DAILY ONLY) will ensure that very soon Kauravas will begin to diminish in numbers & my new bosses Pandavas will slowly and gradually begin taking control.
More I will do this Tappa (tapasya) & make myself strong in this Agni of Tappa – the more will I be able to destroy more of my old bosses daily.
V soon if I just hang on this Tappa ; the new management control should take place & the nascent & jubilant sentiment (in my mind ) will set a new momentum … (Wow & unprecedented joy wala phase as early signs of victory )
2) What can help me in this battle is my decision to slowly cut & cauterize all those people, objects , situations & set ups which are stimulants to Kauravas (aphrodisiacal to them ). So that I fight when the enemy is sleeping. Better chances of Eureka! e.g. I got rid of my mobile phone addiction by deciding to switch off my mobile phone at 10pm daily and not switching it on before 8 am daily (I had to cut the thing (switch off), as my own will power was not raising itself fully & I ended up checking my phone even at 12 midnight). Stating it again- ‘You need to burn / cut the people, objects, situations or set-ups which stimulate your bad habits’. No other way if your will power is semi-strong & not massive strong.
Summary: – Your environment is BIGGER than your will power. So, create the guts to shift your environment if the current one stimulates your bad habits chronically. For so many years, my best friend never could get into the habits of fitness and meditation while doing his hectic job in Mumbai. When he decided to take a break and go to Ranchi (Kriya Yoga- Meditation Centre) for a month; he finally could let his dream habits get established inside him. Reason- Environment is bigger than your will power.
Massive, massive action required to do all of above. But yes – doable & winnable. It will be fun if you do it with all your heart and trust me IT WILL BE WORTH IT. You’ll feel wow about yourself. That Mojo returning waali feeling.
Buddy! Kill your bad habits- whatever they are: Laziness, Excessive emotionalism, Living upto an image, Poor fitness, excessive mobile phone / internet, over involvement in people & people issues or anything ! Because if YOU do not – Your habits will chain you like a slave & would not let you move freely in the direction of ‘Life which you have always wanted to create’.
Often we continue to suffer without making any effort to change, which is why we don’t find lasting peace and happiness. Wrong habits may promise a little temporary happiness, but ultimately they bring misery and destroy happiness. People who yield to the temptation of harmful habits do not fully realize this. Eventually they become so used to these habits that they helplessly drift on, becoming more and more inured to the subtle tortures of continuing their wrong habits. Finally they reach a stage where the thought of forsaking the poisonous comfort of their wrong habits is actually shocking. Persons used to the darkness of bad habits naturally hate the light and comfort of good habits.
People do not intentionally turn to evil, nor do they really enjoy being evil. They are evil because they do not know the greater charm of good habits and are unable to compare and select the best. Or they fall under the influence of others’ opinions, and unconsciously are led to evil.
These words of Bob Dylan summarize all that I wrote above- “Basically you have to suppress your own ambitions in order to be who you need to be.” 🙂
Be a warrior, not a worrier. Win this Mahabharata daily – the battle between RIGHT & EASY. If you stay a winner for 30 days continuously- you shall have gotten rid of any of your bad habits. That’s a commitment.
You just need 3 or 4 good habits to be assured of a good life for a lifetime. Go & Attack!!