Atomic Habits: The Missing Chapter

"Keeping your habits helps you exert influence on those around you. Conversely breaking your habits allows others to control you."

Atomic Habits: The Missing Chapter

This piece was originally published on my Twitter as a thread.

Atomic Habits: 8/10 But there's an idea I was waiting for Clear to mention that he didn't. Here it is:

"Keeping your habits helps you exert influence on those around you. Conversely, breaking your habits allows others to control you."

Author @JamesClear discusses how your environment shapes and molds our habits, and this is very true. But he doesn't discuss how our environments also consist of the people around us. Anyone who has tried setting new habits knows the people around them are a huge obstacle.

Imagine you're a young guy, and all your friends, including you, smoke cigarettes. Now imagine you want to quit smoking. You're not just fighting your habit; you're fighting the group's habit. The group hit a rhythm, and now you're gonna break that?

Clear talks about how every time you do something, it's a vote for that identity. That's 100% true. Internally it's a vote, and externally a vote. If your friends have seen you smoke for years, they've come to see you as a smoker. Every ciggy cemented that idea.

Quitting smoking means kicking your habit and breaking the identity you've built over time. Your friends see you as a smoker, and they'll offer you cigarettes. It could be envy from them (your change highlights their stagnancy), or they're just in a cycle.

And just like you spent years building that identity of a smoker, now you need to build the new identity of a nonsmoker. And until you've quit smoking for long enough, any break in the habit will be perceived as "ah, he's not serious about quitting."

Consistently held habits train those around you to work around them. -If you never take the smoke, they'll stop offering it -If you do business with a Jewish person who always takes off the Sabbath, after a while, you won't even think to schedule a meeting on Saturday.

Inconsistently held habits won't train those around you to work around them. If your family constantly sees you cheating on a diet, they won't take that extra step of accommodating your diet at Sunday Dinner. You've shown you're not serious about it; why should they be?

"Enough with this vegan garbage. I saw you scarf down a lamb gyro three different times this week."

Keeping your habits is the secret between changing the world and being another face in the crowd. Keeping habits is how you change yourself, which changes your environment, which will begin changing those around you.

The more consistent you are, the more your habits become a fixture in people's minds. Your habits become their reality, and people begin working around them. If your habits are inconsistent, they're perceived as changeable and subject to the pressures of people around you.

If dad mows the lawn every Sunday morning, it's not annoying; it's just Sunday, time to wake up. If dad misses 3 Sundays a month and then starts a month later, everyone starts protesting and saying, "no, there's no reason it has to be like this."

A lot of what we accept as reality is very well-maintained habit loops. For a long time, many of us took commuting and working in offices as the only way it could be. We didn't challenge it. The habit was maintained so well that people couldn't see past it. It became our reality.

Of course, habits are not impervious and can obviously be broken and disrupted. But the longer a habit has been maintained, the more energy it'll take to disrupt it. The more consistent you are in your habits, the harder people will have to work to exert control over you.

Working in offices survived wars, unrest, and stock market crashes. It literally took the fear of death to break that cycle. We've had the tech for this for years now, but we hadn't broken the habit yet.

The more consistently you maintain a habit, the more you become the fixed point everyone builds off. The more people begin working around you. Every week the street sweeper comes at a fixed time. That's the fixed point; it never changes. Now the street's schedule has to work around that set point. You move your car according to that fixed point.

Strive to become the fixed point in your world. You'll build up a habit mass and create a gravitational pull. When you are the fixed point, people work around you.  It's the only way that anything that lasts gets built.  

"Be the change you want to see in the world." Over and over and over and over and over and over.

Create Habits > Create Realities > Shape Reality.

Thank you to Mr. @JamesClear for the solid read.