In 1971, the US Vietnam War entered its 16th year.
Two congressmen in Connecticut have released a startling secret to the American public: nearly 15% of the officers of the U.S. troops in Vietnam are addicted to heroin.
This secret made Nixon, then president of the United States, feel very headache. In order to save the army, he decided to set up an office for prevention and rehabilitation, which was in the charge of Lee Robbins.
As we all know, once people become addicted to drugs, it is generally difficult to give up, and the relapse rate is almost 100%.
But Lee Robbins found that after returning the drug addicts to the country, most of them successfully got rid of their addiction: the relapse rate was only 5% in one year, and only 12% in three years.
This extraordinary data has surprised and delighted many people. In order to find out the real situation, Li Robbinss team further tracked and observed the drug addicts.
They found that those who did not succeed in getting rid of addiction were mostly due to their continued contact with addicts after returning home.
On the contrary, those officers and soldiers who have successfully recovered from drug addiction are because after returning to their families, the surrounding environment has completely changed, there is no pressure of war, and there is no chance to contact drug addicts again.
James Kerr, a habit expert, explains this:
The so-called habit (such as drug addiction) is a kind of repeated behavior. After many repetitions, this kind of behavior gradually does not need any brain cognitive process, can occur automatically. This kind of automation mechanism, once deeply imprinted in peoples mind, is almost impossible to clear. But we can reduce the chance of triggering habits by changing the environment.
An important feature of habit is that it exists in our mind in a coding way, such as:
You cant help lighting up a cigarette when you are depressed; when you come home from work, you will automatically open the mobile game when you are tired; every time you are stuck in the work, you will take out your mobile phone, and then log in to the social networking site to row and row aimlessly.
The underlying code here is:
Depression = cigarettes; off work fatigue = mobile games; work jam = social networking sites.
So if you want to get rid of these habits, first of all, you should try to avoid depression, work fatigue and work jam.
On the contrary, if you want to form a good habit, you must establish and strengthen positive coding.
Scientific research has shown that showing cocaine pictures to drug users, even for only 33 milliseconds, can re stimulate the desire to relapse.
In the face of mysterious habits, most people always attribute the reasons to individuals, so if they want to quit a certain habit, they will always tell us how to control ourselves, such as abstinence, prohibition of impulse, etc.
But James Kerr has a new way. What he wants to tell us is:
On the basis of self-discipline, we can better form or break some habits by changing the external environment and mastering the rules of habits.
Block bad habits, sugar good habits
Victor Hugo, a French literary giant, is a patient with severe procrastination. Sometimes, a manuscript can drag on for a year or more.
The publishing house couldnt help but postpone the delivery time again and again. In fact, he cant help himself, because he has too much social intercourse.
Once, a manuscript that had long promised others was dragged by Hugo for 12 months, and he finally decided to make an end.
In order to force himself to write, he asked his assistant to lock all the clothes in a cabinet he could not find, leaving only a warm shawl. His purpose is to make himself undressed and unable to go out.
It turned out that it worked. For the next six months, he stayed at home almost every day to write. This forced manuscript is the familiar Notre Dame of Paris.
In fact, in order to complete a task, sometimes we have to force ourselves.
Hugos practice, in psychology, is called creating commitment mechanism. In life, this method is widely used in the cultivation and abstinence of habits.
For example, in order to stop gambling, some people voluntarily ask casinos and online poker websites to blacklist themselves, or deliberately stink their game and gambling products among gambling friends.
A friend of mine, in order to go to bed on time, set up a power timer, and cut off the router and power automatically at 10 oclock every night.
These little things, which seem a little funny, are actually very practical. James Kerr thinks:
The best way to break bad habits is to make them unrealistic. Keep raising the difficulty until you are discouraged.
On the contrary, the secret of forming good habits is to constantly create a better environment and make good habits more attractive and easier to use.
At the beginning of the 19th century, chewing gum was not called Gum because it was neither sweet nor fragrant, and tasted like chewing gum, so that its sales could not go up.
It wasnt until 1891 that Wrigley added the flavor of spearmint and juicy fruit that the sales of chewing gum increased significantly. At last, many people developed the habit of chewing gum.
It is the same with most good habits. We must create conditions to make them more sweet.
One of my colleagues, he and his wife, in order to develop the habit of cooking at home, set up a special money fund account called travel. Every time they cook at home, they deposit 50 yuan into the account. By the end of the year, if they had saved enough, they would have taken the money out for the trip.
In addition, in order to form a good habit, in addition to rewards, we should also reduce the obstacles to form a good habit, so that it is simple and easy.
Many people want to develop the habit of reading and exercising for a long time, but they are always afraid of action because of their fear of difficulties.
James Kerr tells us that if you want to form a good habit, you should not scare yourself at the beginning, and youd better get started in the simplest way.
For example, you can use a method called two minute rule, that is, you can simplify any habit that looks difficult into a two minute task, and then start with the two minute task.
Read before going to bed every night is simplified into read a page; do 30 minute yoga becomes take out yoga mat; review lessons becomes open my notes; run 3 miles becomes tie my shoelaces.
Facts have proved that, in many cases, what is missing is a good start and so-called portal habits when we fail to form a good habit. In fact, once you enter the portal, you will find that you often do more.
For example, when you have finished reading one page of the book, most of you will think that it is better to read one more page; when you have taken out the yoga mat, you tend to think that its also taken out anyway, so its better to do yoga..
There are many ways to form a good habit, but the purpose is the same: bullying and luring, simple and easy, try to remove all kinds of obstacles.
Good habits are hard, easy and moderate, and good people keep improving
As long as we follow the principles of adding sugar and simplicity, we can come up with many ways to cultivate good habits.
However, in life, sometimes the reason that hinders the formation of good habits is not that there are not enough skills, but that another more fundamental problem has not been solved, that is, many people do not know what kind of habits or what kind of career is suitable for themselves, and it is worth adhering to.
Some people can stick to a habit or career for years, or even decades, but some people give up after two or three days. They either feel bored, unchallengeable, or they feel too difficult, and they will always be unattainable.
In 1955, Steve Martin, a 10-year-old boy, sold garden guides at Disneyland.
Later, he was transferred to the magic shop in the park and tried to tell jokes to customers. He soon found that customers didnt like the magic he performed, but rather liked his jokes.
Knowing this, he began to deliberately practice his ability to tell jokes and perform in a small club near Los Angeles. Sometimes there is no one in the club, but he still insists on exercising and performing on stage alone.
Over the next 10 years, he continued to experiment, adjust and practice, and strive to work on television. Finally, he got the chance to show up on the talk show and became a regular guest of tonights talk show and Saturday night live in the 1970s.
Finally, after 15 years of hard work, he became popular, setting a record of 63 days to perform in 60 cities, and became one of the most famous Comedians in the United States.
Martin, obviously, has found a suitable career for himself. His childhood experience tells him that he is good at this career. Later, the process of continuous training also shows that this is a challenging job.
In his own words: study hard for ten years, improve for four years, and then have four years of crazy success.
The best habit, or the career you want to stick to, must follow the so-called blonde girls rule, that is, moderate difficulty, just right.
Martins comedy career is the best example of the blonde girl rule.. Every year, he expands his plot, but only for a minute or two. While retaining a few certainly amusing passages, add some new materials that have not yet verified the effect.
Psychologists who study heart flow also think that a career or a task is 4% more difficult than their ability. It is not too simple or difficult. It is the easiest for people to immerse themselves in it and reach the state of heart flow.
Too easy, it will make people tired and bored; too difficult, it is easy to crack down on self-confidence.
However, it is necessary to remind that although it is important to find a habit that is difficult and moderate, if a habit has been successfully developed, it will also be the beginning of self limitation.
For example, reading for an hour before going to bed at night has become your habit. This is a good thing, but there are also side effects. That is, because you are used to reading for an hour, even if you have two hours of sufficient time one day, you will only read for an hour.
James Kerr believes that the real benefit of habit is that after you are familiar with or automate certain actions and thoughts, you can pay more attention to higher-level requirements. But the problem is that habits can also slow and solidify the feedback mechanism, hindering the pace of progress.
A real master in a certain field is not to master a good habit and everything will be fine, but to learn to constantly reflect on themselves, and to constantly add new challenges and cultivate new good habits on the basis of the old habits.
Basketball players, after mastering the dribble skillfully, will continue to exercise the non dominant hand to carry the ball to lay up the basket; after the surgeons cutting action has been easily done, they must continue to exercise to deal with emergencies.
In this sense, its only a stage skill to find the habits that are difficult and easy to adapt, but what we really want to build is a kind of life philosophy that is constantly improving.
Forming a good habit is not the end. Step by step, down-to-earth, constantly exploring and expanding the boundaries of our own capabilities are the real essence behind our research habits.
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