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Introduction to the Forming of Habits
All the behaviors we repeat tend to become patterns. It is always easy to understand this from a very simplified perspective. For instance, how do we tie our shoe laces? We do it without even knowing how we do it. If we have to describe the sequence of movements we make with our hands it is almost impossible. But we do it quickly and very successfully without even knowing what we did it. Our signatures are the same. If we sign a document we do it without thinking. But let’s look at a slightly more complex example. Riding a bicycle. This is an extremely complex activity. But, once you have repeatedly practiced it, it becomes automatic and we don’t even think about the complexities. The brain has created a file where the patterns are embedded and it executes the actions without the need of conscious control. A bit more complex. Driving a car in heavy traffic. We do it with very little conscious control. Sometimes, if the situation is not demanding we do it without any conscious control. It is an embedded pattern in the brain. It has become a habit. This what the brain does. It forms neuron paths so that behavior could become automatic, smooth and efficient without the need to continuously relearn the necessary sequence of actions to do something. Not all behaviors become equally well embedded in the neuron as habits. Let’s take a very simple but far reaching combination of habits. The one behavior is that of being taking ownership of tasks, the other to hand tasks to other people to do it for us. If a person, over a period of time developed a pattern of handing task to somebody willing to do it for him, that behavior becomes a pattern. Let’s say the child grew up with parents who never allowed him to do things for himself, they always took it away and did the work for the child. They made his bed, cleaned his shoes, dropped him off at school, took him for sports activities and even did his homework. This kid develops a pattern to hand-off. If this pattern becomes well formed in the neurons of the brain, it starts to happen without the individual even noticing it. It becomes like tying shoe laces. This individual now has an embedded habit of handing tasks to other people to be done. They don’t even know that they are doing it. It is a habit. The same with the habit of taking ownership of tasks. If a person has, over a period of time, been in a situation of doing everything himself, that becomes a pattern or a habit. Let’s say the person grew up with parents who forced him to make his own bed, do his own homework for school, make his own food when he is hungry, clean his own shoes, get to school and back by himself, get to his sports activities and back all by himself. In the brain of this individual a different pattern is formed. To do thing yourself. At a point, this habit becomes so well defined and embedded in the brain that the person doesn’t even decide or notice it. They just automatically do things themselves and it becomes very difficult for them to hand tasks to others. This principle of behavior patterns is applicable to everything we do. The moment behavior repeats, the brain creates neuron patterns. The more we repeat the behavior, the more it becomes automatic with minimal conscious awareness, interference or even decision-making. But, not all patterns are equally strong and equally well embedded in the neurons of the brain. Some behaviors are softly embedded and it would happen automatically only under specific save condition. For instance, riding a bicycle on a straight and level road can be done without any conscious control. But, for the same cyclist to ride a mountain bike at top speed down a hill following a very narrow dangerous track is a combination of habit and control. The Next video will explain.