Success and Failure are three inches and creating habits may not be the total solution.
On any given day the amount of data we process in our brains is astounding.
Apparently our brains process 400 billion bits of information per second but we are only consciously aware of about 2000 of those. In other words the brain, to a large extent is on autopilot. For that reason alone, I favour creating habits.
One of the processes I have which helps me, is to live a life as a creature of habit. I never randomly put my wallet or cellphone somewhere, I habitually leave them in the same spot. My rationale is that I can reduce the amount of bits being processed in my brain if I don’t have to think about where my wallet or keys are for example. But creating habits can lead to challenges.
So the other day I was perplexed when I arrived at my office without my keys!
In truth, my wife had borrowed my car so I left the house driving hers. My car key ring has a very large bright orange key tag on it that cannot be missed so visually it is very easy to identify from quite a distance.
I packed my computer walked out to my hallway and grabbed the keys to her car subconsciously. To give some context, I have a key rack with four hooks on it and they are approximately 3” apart. I habitually use the one on the right to hang my keys – two cars and motorbike.
I took my key for her car, left for the office and arrived at the office empty handed in terms of a door key. I was locked out. I quickly texted her and expressed my own frustration at forgetting to ask her to take her own car key for my car because I was now locked out of my office. I quickly received a returned text saying she did not take my keys.
Some relief I suppose, it was a quick drive home but what perplexed me was why, if my keys were there did I not take them!
The answer was revealed as soon as I walked in the door. Creating habits had always helped me… until someone changes my system!
Training Your Brain For Success
Someone had moved keys around and my car key was on the second hook, not the first one. It was three inches out of place.
What fascinates me is that my brain is so wired to do things automatically that it had not registered that the keys were on the next hook along.
It is creating habits that serves me well on expeditions or in races.
In events where I need to reserve brain power for the tasks at hand I have a very definite set of habits that help me focus on the objective. Otherwise I would waste energy looking for something because I did not know where it was.
The process works for me, until someone messes with my system but as you can see, it sets me up for the occasional frustration too if my autopilot is not working correctly.