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The Courage to Challenge

How habits can help or hinder.

Regardless of whether we would call a given habit “good” or “bad,” the main way something becomes a habit is that, at some point, we stop thinking about it. And that’s kind of the brain’s point in the whole thing – to do something without thought so that little energy is used by asking why we do something repeatedly. It takes energy and (I would argue) some amount of courage to stop in your day and ask why you do a particular behavior. One of the remarkable things I’ve discovered about the human mind as I’ve studied Lizard Brain is that it short-circuits this sort of reflection by not distinguishing between good and bad habits. For instance, we might want to distinguish between habits like looking in the rear-view mirror occasionally while we drive (good habit) from biting our fingernails (not so good habit). But the Lizard Brain part of the mind doesn’t make this distinction; it seeks to preserve all habits. Good or bad.

But higher-level living obliges us to rewire by starting to look at why we do what we do. You certainly don’t need to go change everything you’re doing (remember: some of those habits are good!), but I’d like to propose that step one in breaking a bad habit is deploying the courage to simply bring some of your patterns into the light of your own questioning.

Try it. This week.

You will likely hear your lizard speak back to you and valiantly justify why that habit exists. The world will try to sell you on breaking a habit in 21 days (or other such nonsense). My cohorts and I say freedom begins with a challenge to your own reasoning.

And that’s a rewiring we can all use.

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