I had the wonderful opportunity last night to listen to and speak with Jack Canfield last night. He is the co-author of that obscure book series known as Chicken Soup For The Soul. His story, his ideas, and his enthusiasm are remarkable. I figured I’d pass along one of the tidbits of wisdom he shared, because it has to do with this thing called Adulthood. By “Adulthood,” I don’t mean the stage in your life when you finally stop being carded at restaurants when you order a margarita. I’m referring to the “Adulthood” state of mind – busy, stressed, automated, and unfulfilled.
Mr. Canfield mentioned that 90% of our behavior is habit. 90%! Think about it: your morning routine, the way you take to the office, the things you do when you first walk in the door after work, your bedtime routine. Habit, habit, habit, and habit. These habits are useful in that they help us to be efficient. We can do more things at once because we don’t have to think so hard about each task. But, of course, there is a down side. The routines become so automatic, we rarely stop to think about what we’re actually doing. We just do it.
This is where the stressed, automated, unfulfilled part of Adulthood can creep in. Sometime after college, we adjust to the way “grown-ups” do things, and we figure how to manage work, bills, shopping, and if you’re lucky enough, the in-laws. Then we let our habits take over and go on autopilot. Commonly, it doesn’t take long for people to start feeling dissatisfied with the way things are going, which often leads to unhappiness and and the recurring question, “Is this all there is?”
They see no clear way out of their present situation, and slowly develop full-fledged Adultitis.
But remember, 90% of our behavior is habit. And to repeat an old phrase, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.”
Rocket science at it’s highest form.
So the trick to a new and better you (one that is more reminiscent of a perky pre-schooler than your unenthused high school history teacher one year from retirement) is to change your habits. It’s a simple solution, but alas, not especially easy. I would recommend Jack’s new book, The Success Principles, which contains 64 principles to get you from where you are to where you want to be. I just got it last night, but have already begun devouring it. It’s a great read, with timeless tips and techniques used by Olympic athletes, business bigwigs and religious leaders.
If Adultitis has its hold on you, this just might be the cure.