Bob MacArthur

The serenity prayer inspires us to change those things we can control, accept what we can’t change and cultivate the wisdom to know the difference. Often, we can take control over much more of life than we initially think possible. The question becomes, how do we take charge?

Over 30 years of research and practice conducted by the Self-Management Group yields two elements that do the most to affect performance: attitude and effort. A positive attitude coupled with sustained effort yields the highest performance. Those of us who have run marathons, launched businesses, learned to live with debilitating diseases, trekked or paddled in remote places, or lived with a host of other major challenges know the importance of optimism and perseverance.

The question becomes how? How do we cultivate a positive attitude? How do we sustain our effort? Charles Duhigg provides the key in his book The Power of Habit. Habits control more of our lives than we realize, and we can change them. Four of Duhigg’s conclusions struck me.

1) The brain seeks habitual responses in order to free itself either for rest or for more complex tasks.

2) More than 40 per cent of the actions we perform each day aren’t decisions but habits.

3) Habits can be changed if we understand how they work.

4) There are keystone habits that leverage significant change in individuals, organizations and societies.

We will explore more about habits in future posts. Meanwhile, what is one habit you wish to change? Is it related to your attitude or your effort or both? Developing new habits will enable us to take charge of our personal lives and inspire the teams and organizations we lead.