Hi there. This was an inspirational thought that crossed my mind as I was aroused by a muse upon my waking. I knew I had to get it down in my journal and after writing it, that it was something worth sharing with the world. These are thoughts on developing habits using Machiavellian governing strategies from long past. The ideas presented in “The Prince” will never be outdated. They are timeless. Transcript below for those that don’t want to dredge through my handwriting and follow up after that.
The Empire of your Mind
Machiavelli wrote in his book “The Prince” that after conquering a new province that is far from your capital, the capital should be moved closer to or into the new territory. Your old territories will remain loyal out of habit and new ones will be easier to govern because of the extra attention.
Consider for a moment that good habits are territories. The ones you maintain are provinces in your kingdom, and the others you are trying to establish are already conquered the first week that you adopt them. Why then, do new habits seem to disappear so quickly and not stick?
Consider relocating your capital closer to the new province to govern effectively. Make the new habit the first thing you do every morning. Your old habits will hang around and continue to serve, but new ones need extra attention to make them an effective part of your life.
An example for writers: I made journal writing a habit by forcing myself to do an entry every single day for near a year now. I get my daily’s in now without much effort, but I’m trying to force my writing/editing into that same habit category. Daily. From today forward I’ll try doing my hour of writing/editing first, making it my focus, and I’m confident that my journal will still be updated because I already feel so strongly about getting an entry everyday.
New habits that you want to develop need nurturing. They need you to make them a priority, and put them first above all else. At that critical stage from the second week to the third month, we tend to loose sight of why we started the habit. Whether this is working out, cranking 500 words a day, cooking one meal a day, practicing handwriting, or meditation, working on a future business strategy, planning for retirement, budgeting, or anything else. When you find that habit that will help you along in life, take ownership of it, and make it the FIRST priority until it’s established. Until you do it without thinking about it. Until it stops being a chore.
Bad habits can be thought of in the same fashion, as raiders trying to take your good habits away, or perhaps the guardians of good habits that will replace bad ones. These are the fights that we need to fight everyday. Military success doesn’t come from one battle, but from constantly regrouping, reanalyzing, and fighting all of the fights that need fighting. Fight those fights, and fight them daily, until you destroy the habits you don’t want and capture the habits you do. This isn’t a week-long strategy to redefine your entire life. It’s a war that will last you the rest of your life, and your success or failure in life will depend on how much time you devote to establishing good habits and eliminating bad ones.
What are some habits you are trying to develop? How are you doing it? What are you doing today to make your future a little brighter? I really hope that taking this article to heart will help you on your quest to a making your life awesome.