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Break the Mold and Create Your Own Work

Break the Mold and Create Your Own Work

Last Thursday, I wrote a column here called “Why Work?” I was hoping that we could break away from thinking about the income we tend to quickly associate with jobs and working for a living, and think about some other motivators, and some other satisfiers. Yes, income is a necessity of life, and I do not deny it is a strong motivator, but once you get enough to satisfy your basic needs and a bit more, you quickly discover that cash isn’t everything. Not by a long shot. It is just the beginning, because we human beings need more than money to love this thing we call “true living.”

Personally, I love working, and the feelings I associate with work are those I wish for everyone; happier people treat other people better and are nicer to be around. Just think how much better customer service would be if you never again had a grumpy service provider who barely disguised their displeasure with their job (and with you annoying them into doing it).

The reason I write, coach and speak about Ho‘ohana, the value of worthwhile work, is that great work done really well is how even greater stuff happens.

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There are no givens. It takes work to move us forward; work breaks us free from stagnancy and inertia. And groundbreaking successes, no matter how you want to define them, takes the effort and focus of passionate, feels-important work. No one said this was easy, and frankly, I think ‘not easy’ has its merits. There is considerable value in hard work.

I think my column fell short last week for you, and I need to thank Tony Clark and Chris Cree for the help they gave me in salvaging it.
—Tony wrote: What are you Working For? and
—Chris wrote: Work Where Your Passion Is, and then
—Tony wrote: Why Settle for Just One Path? which (I’m guessing) may have inspired
—Chris to do this: Contemplating a Bit of a Course Change

In other words, they worked harder at this subject than I had. They got great stuff to happen. Thank you guys.

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As with “Why Work?” The coach in me tends to asks questions, and then wait a bit before glibly handing out answers; I feel I’ve given you more when you have to think harder to come up with the answers yourself. Tough love has its place; it can prep you for the reality of a life in which answers don’t come easy. It can help banish an entitlement mentality, and help us groom a better work ethic. It can deliver this aha! moment where we realize that all that gritty, nose-to-the-grindstone work felt pretty terrific both in the doing of it and in the result.

And the right work? Well, it can be that meaning-of-life kind of question, can’t it.

Finding the work that you are perfectly suited for is a tough thing, and finding that work which you are passionate about, AND getting compensated for it fairly – or better yet, exorbitantly – is even tougher. Tough to impossible. If you go looking for that perfect job, you are in for a journey on which you have to try a lot of things, you have to make a lot of sacrifices, and you have to hope that in the process you get surrounded by decently good people whom you’ll like to be with.

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That’s “finding” and “looking for” the right work. For most people, the problem with their right-job/passionate-work search, is that they are looking for something which very likely does not even exist. They are trying to uncover a package deal which consists of a bunch of variables designed by someone else needing a job to get done, not work to be lived passionately by the person doing it. There’s a big difference.

The break the mold alternative, is creating your own right work first, and then figuring out how to get compensated for it second.

Right work is work you make happen on your own terms. You cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset, and you work for profit and not for a paycheck. Next you market what you produce; whether it be invention, talent, skill, or knowledge. You become a highly marketable, wildly desirable commodity that people are all to willing to pay for the privilege of having. It’s rarely a chore for you to produce more of what they might want from you, because you started off loving the doing of it in the first place. You are fueled by passion, you get affirmation and recognition when the marketing delivers sales, and the cash becomes gravy.

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Now understand that you can do this for an employer and need not have your own business. Profit versus paycheck is a state of mind and an attitude, it’s part of financial literacy. Think of marketing what you love to do as qualifying an employer and getting into the interviewer’s seat yourself. You are not looking for the perfect job; you are interviewing buyers for what you do. You are offering to deliver to them the perfect role that up to now was missing in their company. They need you, not just the job. They are paying for you, not for a task they can train someone cheaper to do.

This creation of yours may not be less work; it may be more, but only for the short term. In my case? 24 years of looking, until I got smarter and spent 3 years of creating. It may take longer for you (or not), and yes, you may need to work in a 9-5 job you hate so you can pay the bills while you are creating it. Chaulk it up to the character and work ethic you need to cultivate anyway. For believe me, unless you are incredibly lucky —exceedingly, unbelievably, astoundingly, amazingly blessed and lucky —the right work, YOUR right work, is something you have to make, stamping it with your personal, one-of-a-kind brand. It is not something you look for and find.

I would also suggest:


Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is the founder of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership. Her most recent online collaboration effort is JJLN: the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network. For more of Rosa’s ideas, click to her Thursday columns in the archives; you’ll find her index in the left column of www.ManagingWithAloha.com.

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Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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