The Habits that Kill Us

LeapingHabit keeps us exactly where we are and imagination frees us. But for all of our adult lives, we form more and more habits and routines and close our imaginations to the endless possibilities of our existence.

Habits simplify our lives and allow us to travel through this world unconsciously. So we take the same route to work everyday, we watch the same movies, and wear the same clothes. But those are meaningless, harmless habits. There are far more dangerous habits.

The most talked about habit that kills people is smoking. But in reality, the habits that confine us to a self-imposed prison, when we could have achieved so much more, kill us much more effectively—they are the habits that kill us inside, while we remain alive.

Negative beliefs are the habits that imprison us. Perpetuating beliefs that we are not capable of something because that is what we have been taught and have come to know.

As a young man, I had social anxiety disorder and the thoughts of meeting new people or making a speech filled me with terror. And I allowed that terror to imprison me for years. Then I met the greatest boss I ever had and he would never listen to my protests that I couldn’t do something. He would simply say, “Yes, you can.”

And it’s because he wouldn’t accept my excuses that I found myself making a speech to 900 people in the banqueting hall of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York. I couldn’t sleep for days before and I couldn’t eat. But as I listened to the applause at the end of my thirty-minute speech, I experienced the greatest high of my professional life.

Yes, you can.

Innocence unbounds our imaginations. That’s why we should protect the innocence of children for as long as we can. But as we grow into adults, so we are steadily stripped of our innocence and our imaginations begin to form limits. As we satisfy ourselves with the comfort of routine, we expertly develop the habits of our beliefs.

And as the years go by, we allow those habits to kill us.

We all need someone in our lives who tells us that we can rather than we cannot. Someone to remind us that we are repeating the negative behaviors of our past. Someone to believe in the possibilities of our imaginations.

Even if that person is you.

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