Sunset at DoubleM Systems (, Del Mar, California

Friday, July 10, 2020

Habits: Autopilot for Living, Good or Bad

In my years of flying, I often wished I had an Autopilot, but that would have taken the adventure out of the experience. It was a lot of work

All commercial airliners, business jets and most other aircraft have an Autopilot installed to relieve the human pilot of a lot of the busy work of staying on the proper compass heading, maintaining altitude, keeping the wings level, etc. These things consume a lot of mind-share while flying but when delegated to a robot who will perform tirelessly and perfectly, the pilot can focus on other important tasks such as communicating with air traffic controllers, looking out for traffic, dealing with checklists, etc.

Ordinary humans have an Autopilot feature too. It's called Habit.

an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed 
until it has become almost involuntary

After we have performed a task enough times, we can do it without thinking; it becomes a habit. Like riding a bike, or making a cup of coffee. The challenge with human habits is that it takes a lot of "programming" for a habit to be bulletproof. The Autopilot on airplanes comes already programmed and works flawlessly from the first time you use it.

We would probably like to have some rock solid habits such as exercise, meditation, getting enough sleep, being more organized and productive, etc.  Maybe we do exercise, but we are inconsistent and therefore miss a lot of the benefits.

Also, we probably have some bad habits we would like to drop, such as eating too much, eating the wrong foods, excessive drinking, staying up too late to watch TV, procrastination, disorganization, etc.

First we make our habits,
and then our habits make us.
John Dryden

Wouldn't it be great if we had the good habits that guarantee a good life and success in business?
It works best if we create good habits when we're younger, but here we are right now, a jumble of some good habits, hopefully, and a lot of bad habits we'd like to get rid of. That probably seems like a lot of work, almost impossible, right? That's what I thought, but I found a way that makes it a lot easier than you might imagine.

We get into the habit of living 
before we acquire the habit of thinking.  
Albert Camus

We are what we repeatedly do,
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a Habit.

Chains of habit are too light to be felt
until they are too heavy to be broken.
Warren Buffett

You'll never change your life until you change something you do daily.
The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.
John C. Maxwell

Motivation is what gets you going.
Habit is what keeps you going.
Jim Rohn

Watch your thoughts; they become words. 
Watch your words; they become actions. 
Watch your actions; they become habits. 
Watch your habits; they become character. 
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny
Lao Tzu

In the absence of clearly defined goals 
we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia 
until ultimately we become enslaved by it.
Robert Heinlein

The strength of a man's virtue 
should not be measured by his special exertions, 
but by his habitual acts.
Blaise Pascal

Your net worth to the world is usually determined by 
what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.
Benjamin Franklin