THE HABIT OF CONNECTIVITY


Harlequin

“Harlequin” by KSR

We have all been told repeatedly that the key to a good relationship is to understand clearly just what the other person wants. That sounds pretty easy, except that the other person frequently doesn’t know what the heck he really wants. This makes it difficult because all his wants then begin to contradict or compete with each other. This difficulty does not lessen the importance of understanding those wants. Husbands and wives have spent lifetimes trying to figure out just what makes the other one tick. Jane Austen said that “One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”

No one likes to think they’re average, least of all below average. When asked by psychologists, most people rate themselves above average on all manner of measures including intelligence, looks, health, and so on. Self-control is no different; people consistently overestimate their ability to control themselves. This over-confidence can lead one to assume that they’ll be able to control themselves in situation in which it turns out, they can’t.

All of us have a finite amount of self-control we can exert each day. Self-control is difficult and energy depleting, and each time we exercise self-control during the course of a day, we have less remaining for later in that day–making us more susceptible to those habits we are trying to change. People naturally vary in the amount of self-control they have, so some will find it more difficult than others to break a habit.

brownies

Some studies have shown that it takes only 21 days to form a habit. I think it depends on the habit. So-called “good” habits probably take longer to form than do the “bad” ones. It would be interesting to know who came up with the 21 day number. Probably the same one who gave us the “5-second “rule for grabbing stuff off the floor after dropping it. Habit can be equated with New Year resolutions. How long has it taken most of us to break a few hastily made new habits this year? It’s better not to make any, thereby relieving yourself of a certain guilt trip.

We only have the capacity to focus on a limited number of things at a given moment, and sometimes when we concentrate on one thing, we are often completely blind to other things–even if it’s a woman dressed in a gorilla suit right in front of us. We need to form the habit of connectivity. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing. We want to be loved and be happy.