“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Hard to beat good old Aristotle for a sound bite.
As I write early this morning the soft gentle rain and the burbling rush of the creek rolls just outside my French doors.
Living on a creek – less than than ten feet from the house at places – is rewarding. 360 days of the year. Five days a year its harrowing as creeks by nature can handle only so much water at once. More rain or upstream discharge than that is called a flood.
Periodically I'm not just by the water but in it.
Yet we all make our choices.
Later today some landscapers will come to give me more ideas about managing the water: retaining walls, drainage, slopes. I know a lot about it. Dealing with stuff is a habit.
This week in the US we celebrate Thanksgiving again. You can look up some of the facts about this if interested, but I'll share a gem with you here: it is over 400 years old having first been celebrated by the Spainards in 1607 in what we now know as Virginia.
For a young country 400 year-old habits are a nice thing to have.
This happens to be my favorite holiday of the year because unlike so many others where we overlay something else – gifts, candies, drinking to excess – on top, Thanksgiving remains what it was intended to be. A day of thanksgiving and peace.
We're all creatures of habit. The Hux is annoyed because his habit is to go out when I get up, but I won't let him go in the rain. He is change averse and wants his habit. He'll get over it.
I deal with things – problems, challenges, etc – becuase dealing with stuff is a habit. Acquired from my Dad who had many fine habits, I too became a dad early and life and thus never wanted to let my kids down. So I deal with things head on habitually.
As I've aged I've taught myself to eat better (and less) and exercise more even as the cigarettes and alcohol gave way years ago. All habits. All learned.
You see, we can learn new patterns of behavior, new habits, both at home and in the office. We can reformat our mental hard drives, keep the partitions we want and upload new software regardless of age.
We can practice new habits.
While some wait for a holiday to become reflective and introspective the succesful people I know – success being living the life you want – do this as a matter of daily habit.
What went right today? What could I have made better or different? What was my role in the things that didn't turn out the way I hoped?
The habits of successful people include focusing on what they want and thus what they need to do to achieve that – the daily habit of introspection – but also a gift its taken me a long time to learn: be your own best friend.
Make it a habit to be your own best friend first in the things you say and do, the food and wine you consume, the daily activities you practice and most of all in the people you hang out with and love.
Be your own best friend. Adopt that habit.
And you will find thanksgiving comes many times a year regardless of the country you live in.