Have you ever had a big argument with someone and said things that you’ve later regretted. Perhaps you’ve even wondered how you could have said something so awesome. I know I have. Or perhaps a friend has asked you for your opinion on their new clothes, and really .. . It’s not a good look. But if you say that he or she will feel hurt, and so you tell a little white lie. And feel slightly guilty for doing this.
This sort of internal conflict within us happens all the time and we hardly notice it. Perhaps the most common example of this internal conflict is procrastination. Part of us thinks we should really work on that thing now cos the deadline is looming. But … its such a nice day, and you’re on a great Netflix-watching binge roll. And the very slight pause between one episode finishing and another starting is a little too short to really unravel this conflict.
Whilst modern science hasn’t yet been able to unravel the mystery of consciousness, one of the things we know from the “inside” of consciousness; that is our personal experience is that we are complex beings.
We experience ourselves as a single coherent and unified self whose choices and actions of course make total sense in any one moment. But imagine you took a series of random snapshots of the contents of your consciousness throughout a typical day. And you sat down and looked at them all and compared in each snapshot what you valued and what you believed in each of those moments.
What you would discover is that in a sense we don’t a single unified self. We are made up of multiple, often conflicting selves. Not multiple selves in the sense of multiple personality disorder, or “Dissociative identity disorder” as its now called. But rather a sort of community of selves. “Procrastinating guy”, “Diligent guy”, “Guilty guy” and “Binge watching guy” are allll sitting around arguing with one another. It’s like that 2015 Pixar movie “Inside Out”.
And the reason I’m sharing of all this in the context of a habit building program is this. The single biggest reason why people are not able to successfully fulfil a New Years resolution or build a robust habit, or any variation of doing what we say we’re going to do, is because of this internal conflict.
If you imagined each of these selves of yours as a member of “team you”. It takes each of the individual players in the whole team, working together to create a desired outcome. If the team is conflicted about strategy, or who is do what, then the team is not going to be successful in acheiving its desired outcome.
The single biggest reason for “habit failure” is due to a lack of “coordination” of your internal team. However. Whilst we all have these multiple sometimes-competing selves, we also implicitly have a deeper self. A more selfy self. And the role of that self is to work with and coordinate and direct our team. I call that self the Self Author, and we will cover more detail about our Self Author in later videos.
The last point I wanted to leave you with for today was this. Your Self author has some special players in your team that are critical to building a habit. I call them the 4 heroes and in tomorrows video I will introduce you to them.