How to Build a New Habit-2

Acquiring any skill or habit is akin to the Chinese Bamboo tree. You plant the seed and you keep caring for it, regularly, steadily, carefully. And once a strong foundation is in place, you will soar high in practically no time. Let me share with you the three golden rules of building any new habit.

1. Practice

Take it as a given that it’s going to be hard in the beginning, even boring. Learning anything new is bound to have a set of challenges. To reach a state where it becomes effortless, you have to put in a great deal of practice. It takes a concert pianist an average of 10,000 hours of practice before they reach that “expert” level. Practice. Practice. Practice. When you are bored, practice a bit. When you think, you are tired of practising, refresh your practice. When you feel you can’t go on, practice a bit more anyway. Gradually increase the intensity, quality and duration of your practice.

2. Patience

If you don’t give up, you can’t fail. For example, if you are learning to meditate, don’t expect that you will start diving in the ocean of tranquility within the first few hundred hours. Don’t expect that just because you are determined to meditate, your mind will go quiet. It took me several thousand hours of intense, mindful and correct practice before I began experiencing different states of consciousness. Patience is the key. It becomes much easier to be patient if you don’t have unreasonable expectations from yourself.

3. Focus

I once read a beautiful quote by Max Lucado: “The one who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” As you progress with focus, you learn to know which or whose feedback you need to act on versus what to reject. By focus I mean a sort of mindfulness. If you are practicing patiently, chances are you are focusing anyway. If you want long lasting results from your practice, however, you have to be mindful. Going back to the example of meditation, while meditating, pay attention to every passing moment, every emerging thought, every inhalation and exhalation. This razor-sharp alertness will take your practice to an entirely new level. It’s the art of turning inward and listening to your own voice.

Mulla Nasrudin bought his wife a new piano for her birthday. The neighbors would hear her practice every day, several hours in a day. A couple of weeks later, the sound of piano stopped coming from their home.

“What happened, Mulla?” they asked him. “Your wife doesn’t practice piano anymore?”

“For heaven’s sake,” Mulla exclaimed, “don’t even mention piano. I had her switch to flute with great difficulty.”

“But, why?”

“Because with a flute,” he replied, “at least, she can’t sing while playing…”

Don’t switch (and don’t sing either if you are just starting out). Humor aside, if you really want to master any new habit then keep practicing quietly.

To build a new habit or to champion a new skill, somewhere, you have to want it desperately. More desperately than gaining others’ approval. Those who don’t have the same vision as you will disagree with you (sometimes with all the right
intentions). There will be those who won’t believe in you, but if you are serious then all you have to do is to continue practicing patiently and mindfully.

In anything that you undertake, if you don’t give up, you’ll move from a phase of intense effort to absolute effortlessness.
The higher you want to rise, the deeper your roots need to be. It’s the depth that takes time. If you are not afraid of going deep, you will have no fear of heights either.

Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!


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