Normal Chaos

You have probably heard it said by someone wanting you to
repeat a monotonous activity that “practice makes perfect.”
As many times as you and I may have heard this, it is quite
simply not true. Practice does not make perfect. Practice
makes consistent.

If you practice something at a high level of performance, it
will reinforce that same level of performance. On the other
hand, if you practice an activity over and over in a
substandard manner, you will do little more than reinforce
this substandard level of performance.

You have probably dealt with people or organizations that
consistently perform at an unprofessional, impolite, and
substandard level. Like me, you probably wonder: How did
things ever get so bad in this organization? The answer is
simply that mediocrity has been going on for so long, and
reinforced so deeply, that it now seems normal.

Human beings always seek their own level of comfort. You
have probably heard about prisoners who are finally released
after spending many years behind bars. Then, more often than
you would think, these individuals will go out and do
something stupid, get caught, and get sent right back to
prison.

After years of counseling within the prison system,
psychologists have determined that some inmates become so
accustomed to living within prison walls, that it becomes
their comfort zone and, on a subconscious level, they prefer
it to life in society with you and me.

So much of what we do in our personal and professional lives
is done out of habit. If you will consider your morning
routine as you get ready to go to work, you will realize
that dozens of things happen in a mindless habitual fashion.

This is a powerful tool if you use it wisely, because we can
control our habits if we will simply become proactive and
choose our own course of action.

Anything we do for 21 days will begin to become a habit.
This means that, on the 22nd day, something will seem
strange or out of place if you do not follow the routine you
have established.

Excellence can become a habit. Chaos can become a habit. And
mediocrity can become a habit. The process is inert. It does
not care at what level you perform. Our minds simply want to
reproduce that with which we are familiar.

As you go through your day today, remember: You are
currently a product of yesterday’s habits; but take heart,
because tomorrow will be a product of the habits you form
now.

Today’s the day!

by Jim Stovall