“We control our actions, but the consequences that flow from those actions are controlled by principles” — Stephen Covey
As a brain scientist studying addiction and mindfulness, I’ve been exploring habit formation for the past 6 years. What I’ve found is that old habits are hard to break, and new habits are hard to implement.
This simple metaphor explains how this works in your brain. A field full of long, spindly grass blocks your path. You could force your way through, but it’s a big field, and the grass is over six feet high. You’re keen to get to the other side, however, so you give it a go.
Twenty minutes pass, but it’s hard work, and you don’t make much progress. You push for another twenty minutes before giving up, blaming your lack of motivation, and your inability to see things through to the end. …
Ever since I was a child, I was consumed by anxiety and tormented by my mind. As I got older, my anxiety got worse, and so did my urge to escape it.
I began using drugs when I was 14 years old, and by the time I was 20, I was a heroin addict. I spent the next 15 years destroying my body and mind. But I was lucky. Pummelled into submission by the most painful night of my life, I was forced to look at the world from a completely new perspective.
Life gave me a second chance, and I devoured every second of it. Some might say that I switched addictions. But I like to call it intense curiosity, as I was bitten by the bug of life. …