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Every one of us has many bad habits, but it’s strange that most of us keep these bad habits every day even though we realize it. Why we do this?
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Source: Psychology Today
It’s a paradoxical truth of human existence that we are motivated by self-interest yet regularly act in ways that undermine it. This curious tendency often manifests in the form of futile persistence.
Why do we persist in pursuing futile paths of action? For one, the tendency may be merely the shadow side of our innate tenacity. After all, the human capacity for perseverance ______ (4 words missing) failure has a large upside.
Alternatively, we are often inclined to repeat some otherwise callous behavior because it provides short-term relief or pleasure. Our brain has evolved to ______ (1 word missing) the short-term. I know that my overspending will hurt me in the long run. But right now shopping is fun. And I’m here right now.
Moreover, the short-term reward is often both certain and emotional while the long-term calculation is uncertain and cerebral. It is hard work for our brain to bring our cerebral, strategic, rational process to bear on an immediate, emotionally gratifying experience.
In addition, part of the difficulty in breaking useless or destructive behavior patterns has to do with the inherent power of habits themselves. Contrary to popular belief, and to the ways we like to perceive ourselves, much of our behavior is not “free” but rather scripted, conditioned, and, over time, automatized. Automatic habits require no conscious attention, and will hence persist unless consciously disrupted.
Another part of the reason for our persistent futility may _____ (1 word missing) in the cognitive domain. Our beliefs and convictions play an important role in shaping our actions. For example, parents tend to think their children should listen to them or they may beat the children or yell at them.
Besides, this pattern of futile persistence—like much of living—has to do with a calculus of fear. Often, we keep engaging in a dead-end ritual because we fear that the alternative is worse. Battered spouses often remain in the destructive relationship in part because they believe that attempting to leave is more dangerous than staying.
That’s all for today’s [Listening]!
What bad habits do you have? How do you overcome it? Share with us in the comments down below. 😘
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