It takes us only two times to do an action to establish the foundations of a habit. Doing something the third repeated time confirms it as a habit. Almost all of us take the same path from home to work and rarely do change it. We have to go through a particular set of roads and streets only twice to go through it the third, fourth, fifth and nth time, without realizing that we are taking the same path again and again.
Similarly, almost all of us have established certain mental patterns for achieving a particular mental state like joy, boredom, happiness, peace, relief, fun, etc. We can call them our rule book for ourselves to feel or to feel like doing or to not feel like doing something.
Initially, we establish our rule book to do things in a manner that is easy for us. We want to do things in a way that suits us in a given situation. The dilemma is things do not remain the same. Situations change, environments change, people change, even we do change, but we do not change our rule book for doing things or for feeling a certain way to do things.
I once met an office manager, who refused to alter a one-sentence notification for us, just because she thought it was confusing her. She had very fixed set of rules for doing things. No doubt she was complaining of how little time she had to resolve things since things were always piling up on her desk. You can guess how efficient she would have been at work just because of one rule she had set for herself: “If I have to work on many things, I cannot do single even.”
Do you have a set of rules for doing things? I am not saying “principles”. Principles are code of conducts that are universal like truthfulness, integrity, honesty, patience, respect for others, hard work, etc. Rules are not principles. Rules are our preferences to do things; our way to feel in a particular way.
Here is a test to find out if you have very fixed rules or not.
- Do you take tea only at a given time in the day?
- Do you feel uneasy if a friend invites you at the last hour?
- Do you enjoy only on holidays or weekends?
- Do you enjoy doing something only after certain conditions have been met?
- Do you wait for something to happen to enjoy?
- Do you feel angry or consider him stupid when someone is doing a particular thing iun a manner other than yours?
- Do you find it hard to respond lovingly towards others when they are doing things the other way?
- Do you feel yourself willing to receive love only from some particular people?
- If answer to any of the questions or similar questions for you is yes, you perhaps need to revise your rule book. Or do one thing, just for a few days, decide to have no rules. (Remember the difference between rules and principles).
That is called going with the flow.