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Establish Habits of Growth, Not Stagnancy, in the Work Place

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There comes a time on any job where the first day panic is long forgotten. You’ve seen how to do the job, you’ve seen how not to do the job, and you get into that comfortable niche of “doing okay,” where nobody harasses you too much, but then, nobody is expecting anything dynamic from you. You are predictable, and people like predictable. Maybe you can focus a little more on the family, or your hobby, maybe that’s what you want. But if you hope to keep your professional edge, you must fight against such rusty habits: make the habit of challenging yourself.

Research has shown that about 40 percent of our daily activities are done through habit: not just grabbing your toothbrush before bed, or starting the coffee first thing in the morning. A wide chunk of your behavior is habit. Having such a mental capacity is a double edged sword: our staunchest addictions are established, in part, by habit, and our healthiest lifestyles also are sourced in habits. Some people visit the gym every day, and never miss a routine, not because they have superior will power to you, necessarily, but because they’ve made it such a habit that it would be harder for them not to.

How does this relate to keeping your edge at the work place? You must have that special kind of habit called attitude where you seek out the challenges, the problems, the chinks in your armor where you are weakest, and fill them in. “Always do what you are afraid to do,” as ancient advice, and sound; by taking on the difficult assignments, by doing the extra bit for your boss, you are not merely currying appreciation from your employer, but you are setting yourself into the habit of being an overachiever, one who does the extra bit, who far from making excuses to avoid work, makes excuses to pull a little extra weight.

Having this habit of ambition is easy if you are a natural go-getter. But what if you are shy, or reserved, or lack courage? Courage too is a habit, and requires little more than exposing yourself to greater and greater stresses, greater and greater anxieties. Just as our muscles grow by overtaxing them a bit, and then resting and letting them grow, so does our will power also grow by taking on more and more stress, a little at a time, and then relaxing and letting ourselves grow stronger.

Such mental exercise will do more than prepare you for advancement in your job, it will make you a stronger person who is able to cope with loss and pain in your personal life. Having build the habit of exercising your ambition, your ability to will and handle greater work, avoiding what doesn’t work for you, you will be stronger as a person as well. What matters, first of all, is simply making the goal to grow and advance, to build that habit. After that, like tending a small flame on a windy day, you simply have to keep it up, to feed the fire little by little, until it is stronger than the wind, and big enough to feed itself.

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Establish Habits of Growth, Not Stagnancy, in the Work Place by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes