Haley Scholars Fall 2012 Reading Groups
By Cindy Lyles
In this chapter, Duhigg introduces Paul O’Neill, one of the most influential, former CEOs of Alcoa. By instituting routines surrounding worker safety, his leadership made Alcoa one of the safest companies in the world while also skyrocketing profits to record high numbers. Safety may seem an arbitrary target to focus on when rebuilding a company, but O’Neill recognized it as something far greater; a keystone habit.
According to Duhigg, “Some habits have the power to start a chain reaction, changing other habits as they move through an organization” (100). In this respect, keystone habits are more significant than others because they can alter other patterns of behavior. As powerful as they are, however, they can be difficult to identify.
What was one notable way that Duhigg's descriptions and explanations of keystone habits solidified or altered your overview of habits?
Duhigg's descriptions and explanations of keystone habits altered my overview of habits. I always looked at habits as domain specific in a way. You have a certain type of habit for a certain situation or context. However, according to the idea of keystone habits, there are some habits that are more important than others because these "keystone" habits have the ability to alter other habits that exist. Though my perspective has been altered, I do think the idea of keystone habits are both hopeful and scary.
Duhigg, once again, altered my entire perspective on habits. Before reading about keystone habits, I viewed all habits as equal. One habit did not affect another habit, and they functioned independently. According to Duhigg, keystone habits have habits that are interdependent on them, and can eliminate a plethora of habits. For example: I had the bad habit of going to bed late. Even if I was tired, I would stay awake. This habit would affect my breakfast eating habits and my daily devotional habits in my bible because I would wake up late, not allowing time for those activities. When I changed the habit that had the power to affect other things in my life, everything else began to fall in to place.
A point to ponder: Look at how African American woman are portrayed in the music industry. A very vulgar and belittling message about black woman is being circulated throughout the mainstream music culture, and is being adopted by African American Woman of this generation. Would eliminating the keystone habit of listening to music that degrades woman shift the habit of viewing woman in this light?
My idea of habits has been completely altered. I never thought that by changing one thing that I am used to doing could start a chain reaction in altering my other habitual tendencies. Reading about this has actually made me decide to see if changing my habit of procrastination will change any other bad habits that I have
All the complexities behind the concept of "habit" has been truly intriguing. It makes sense to me that habits ultimately effect other important factors in life, however, having the will power to change, or learn to change, certain habits seems to be a bit more challenging. For example people KNOW they should not smoke and know that smoking causes cancer and causes impairments on lots of other aspects of life but being able to change that habit must come from a deep inner passion. I believe people are aware of their habits and ultimate consequences but what is the answer to increasing the success rate of eliminating bad/life changing habits?
One notable way that Duhigg's description and explanation of keystone habits altered my overview of habits. Before reading about keystone habits, I believed that all habits were conservative happening on their own when you start to create them, but after reading about keystone habits, it became apparent that many habits are created because of a pre-existing habit. For instance having a habit of working out may lead to getting better sleep at night leading to getting up earlier in the morning to have a balanced breakfast leading to a balanced diet throughout the day, leading to a life of strong health.
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