Habits dominate your life and mine. We are creatures that like familiar routine, no matter how exhilarating the alternatives! We like what worked! We understand them. They may be effective or not, at least they are familiar. We also know that when we used them last we survived. If they would good enough then, they should be good enough now.
I tend to forget one problem with this approach. Well, maybe I do not really forget, I simply overlook. Did it work? Were the outcomes ones that I expected? Was the process that unfolded consistent with my highest values? In short, did I learn from yesterday? Am I willing to try something different with a goal of reaching higher? Can I grow?
Comfort is born in doing what we did yesterday. The music is familiar. The process is assuring. Even the outcomes are not surprising! Everything is as it should be.
I am not suggesting that we change for the sake of changing. I am suggesting that we should examine, think critically, and challenge. Is it worth keeping? Is it useful however it could be better? Is it sacred or traditional, both or neither.
“When they got to Iconium they went, as they always did, to the meeting place of the Jews and gave their message.” (Acts 14.1) It was an old habit. It stayed on for a time with two good friends. It worked until circumstances dictated that it was obsolete. I cannot imagine anyone using this approach today.
With today’s challenges and opportunities I find two missing elements in our approach to habits and tactics.
We are not thinking. In times of chaos, stress, and crisis, the opportunity for critical thinking is the greatest.
We are not engaged in a dialogue. Listening with the intent of understanding and learning about the other takes time, energy, and a willingness to embrace something new. It also takes courage, lots of it.
We are missing history’s lessons. In our urgency, we are walking into yesterday’s mistakes. We can begin new habits with each moment, even now.