According to some scientists at least 40% of our actions are governed by habit! Charles Duhigg delves into this idea in his book "The Power of Habit" and it is a fascinating read.
In it he explains that when the brain experiences something for the first time it works furiously to understand all the inputs. Over time as a habit is formed the brain switches off and the basal ganglia takes over much of the function about this task. This allows the brain to focus on the other tasks or switch off and save energy. This parallels of the ideas in the productivity ninja book of creating a second brain to store all your short term memory thereby allowing you to function at a higher level.
He shares the fascinating story of Eugene Pauly who suffered brain damage from a severe viral infection losing all short term memory but still had the power to build habits. This lead to a life full of strange experiences in which Eugene could do certain tasks habitually without understanding of how he was doing it because he couldn't remember learning it.
It explains the idea of keystone habits that can change lots of other habits in turn. A good example of which is incorporating the habit of taking photos of a few patients per day which in turn improves habits about treatment planning, quality of work, communication, profitability, career prospects etc. I will actually be talking about exactly this thing tomorrow to a group of Bristol Uni dental students.
It then goes on to explain how habits have helped numerous people and organisations succeed. For instance how training habits turned Michael Phelps from a good swimmer into someone who could break world records blindfolded, how Starbucks can take employees failing at McDonald's and turn them into successful managers.
At first glance you might think that this book offers little apart from an interesting read. But actually I would say this is a little like Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari in that it presents normal things in a very different light making you take a step back and reconsider the world around you. Definitely a book I would recommend to others. Would you like a copy? https://amzn.to/2HnAM9q
Dr Chris Harper