Book Review: The Power of Habit

“To modify a habit, you must decide to change it. You must consciously accept the hard work of identifying the cues and rewards that drive the habits’ routines, and find alternatives. You must know you have control and be self-conscious enough to use it” — Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit

I often talk about the importance of mindfulness: living in the now, savoring new experiences, pulling yourself out of autopilot in order to be present in the current moment. Some people go so far as to claim that practicing mindfulness is the best approach for a happier life. Yet, others claim what seems like the opposite: that autopilot can be our friend, and that habits can make our lives simpler and happier.

My philosophy is currently floating somewhere in the middle. I think both mindfulness and routines are necessary for the pursuit of happiness. We can use our mindfulness practice to become more aware of our personal habits, which can help us eliminate unnecessary decisions and leave us more energy for things that will make us happier.

ThePowerOfHabitNew York Times investigative journalist Charles Duhigg agrees (although his point of view definitely focuses a bit more on the habits side of things). In his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Duhigg unpacks how harnessing our habits can transform our lives, businesses, and communities for the better.

The transformation starts with understanding the mechanics of a habit. The “habit loop” structure is pretty simple: First, there is a cue, which triggers a routine, which is validated by a reward.Read More »

Advertisements

Book Review: the life-changing magic of tidying up

“I am convinced that putting your house in order will help you find the mission that speaks to your heart. Life truly begins after you have put your house in order.”
— Marie Kondo, the life-changing magic of tidying up

978-1-60774-730-7Marie Kondo’s the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing is a fascinating book. If you ask around or research online, it has pretty mixed reviews — some people swear by it, while others say things like: “…the author is bat-shit crazy.”

Inspiring and endearing, albeit a little extreme, this book takes you step by step through how to declutter your life and make room for a little more joy. Read More »

Book Review: Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change

“If we don’t find some way to make friends with groundlessness and the ever-changing energy of life, then we’ll always be struggling to find stability in a shifting world”
— Pema Chödrön, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change

LivingBeautifullyCoverLife, like a fierce wind, can be unpredictable, and we must be open to whatever direction it blows us in. When we fight it, we only feel frustrated and unstable — instead, we must learn to embrace it and understand that sometimes, it will move us wherever it wants to. Pema Chödrön defines the “groundlessness of being human” a bit like my wind metaphor. She writes, “contacting the fundamental ambiguity of being human provides… the opportunity to experience the freedom of life without a story line.”

Read More »