Harvesting Habits Holistically: A Viewpoint

habits wordle

By Parambir Kaur, Souradeep Roy, Amritbir Kaur

Editor’s Note: We are all tied down due to some of our habits. We might be the slave of a few of them while we tend to avoid getting drawn into this quicksand.                   

 

THE EVER-REFLECTIVE HABITS                                              

By Parambir Kaur             

          “Oh! I really cannot stop taking tea even if my doctor has strictly advised me against doing so,” exclaimed a friend at a get-together. Now one would say that the speaker has become a slave of his\her habit. Basically someone’s personality is nothing but only a sum total of a handful of habits, some of which one might have inherited and the rest may have been developed intentionally or according to need. And on account of these very habits each human being is different from the other. One can say that these habits determine the quality of one’s life to a great extent. They also ensure the kind of image a person will have in society. The way one talks, one’s choice of words ; the manner in which one conducts oneself on different occasions; the kind of food one eats and the way one eats it; the colours and  style of dress are all, an expression of one’s habits and reflect one’s personality. Even our thought process is influenced by our habits. A deliberate effort has to be made on regular basis, to train one’s mind to concentrate only on the positive beliefs.

Then there are good and bad habits. As a human being is the topmost among the living beings on this earth, it is quite expected that instead of becoming a slave to one’s habits, one should rather govern them. Even otherwise acquiring too many habits tends to make life dull, mechanical and monotonous. Only such a practice deserves to be turned into a habit, the results of which are bound to be positive. When one finds that some habit is doing more harm than good to one’s disposition, there is no reason why one cannot get rid of it gradually, with consistent and conscious effort. And such a being ends up becoming a motivation source for one’s fellow beings, therefore improving the standard of society unknowingly. Taking out some time on daily basis to praise and confer with God is one of the most rewarding habits.

There also comes a time when some practices, instead of remaining merely habits, turn into principles and come to be known as the hallmark of someone’s temperament. Being flexible and able to change one’s behaviour, according to the need of the hour, is a sign of wisdom and maturity. This makes life interesting, boosts morale and eventually paves way for success. The American social writer and philosopher, Eric Hoffer has averred, “Wise living consists perhaps less in acquiring good habits than in acquiring as few habits as possible.”

THE OTHER SIDE   

By Souradeep Roy

          Another school of thought would contend that habits cannot be placed in the category of good or bad. Waking up every day is a habit we all possess. These can be called involuntary habits, that is, habits we all adhere to every day such as the basic act of waking up or sleeping. These habits are essential in the way they regulate the proper functioning of the metabolism of the body. However, in a larger sense, almost everything that we do every day in our lives is involuntary as we are all fashioned to live in a certain way. Modern society in Albert Camus’ opinion is “Rising, tram, four hours in the office or factory, meal, tram, four hours of work, meal, sleep, and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, according to the same rhythm – this path is easily followed most of the time.” Thus this routine is but another substitute for habit – the habit of living. This kind of a habit of living in the same dull repetitive existence is neither good nor bad. It is a condition of living, and worse, it cannot be altered. It is a common phenomenon to experience the need of a ‘break’, which sometimes comes in the form of a holiday or sometimes just in the form of a good get-together. What we try to achieve through this is an escape from the habit of living the same kind of life. But such attempts offer only a temporary solution to the larger question of escaping the clutches of a routine. For most, the repetition of everyday events is the bane of living. The first step towards finding a solution to such a situation is the realization that we are after all in a habit of living in a ‘chain of daily gestures’ (Camus). The only solution is in the realization itself because we cannot but feel that no matter how much we would like to, we cannot completely alter the monotony of our lives. The only respite, in such a situation, is in realizing that living life itself is a habit. (This opinion of our everyday life becoming a habit is drawn from Camus’ view of existentialism, a view that finds its complete expression in The Myth of Sisyphus.)

 

SELF-DISCIPLINE

By Amritbir Kaur

Harry S. Truman, the former American President, once remarked: “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves…self-discipline with all of them came first.”

With a view to inculcate a sense of self-discipline the authority must be in some or the other way invested in the students. This will help to serve many purposes – it makes the child more responsible towards his duties, makes the process of administration a bit more democratic and also inculcates a sense of pride among the students in their being able to contribute towards the management of the institution. Self discipline is something we all need because it is a vital characteristic of successful people. Why? Because nothing is as easy as it seems. There are always unforeseen challenges and problems on the path to success and achievement. To beat these you must persevere and be strong. Likewise, eating disorders or other problems associated with excess (such as smoking or alcoholism) require will power.

Excessive habits foster low self esteem and lack of self confidence. If you suffer from an obsession and cannot control it, you may blame or punish yourself. Likewise the reverse is also true. Low self esteem may cause some of these problems (eating too much, too little, binging or other damaging disorders), this is a vicious circle.

Self discipline helps you control your actions and make sure you stay on track. It is helpful if you suffer disorders like those mentioned above and need to break out and cure yourself. Please make use of help from friends or counsellors as this will support you in your efforts. Going it alone is very difficult!

 

A DOORBELL

By Souradeep Roy

Tell me, tell me, what is this ordinary?

Where can I find it?

Is it there in my fixed fingers

holding a toothbrush

which sweeps my teeth everyday?

Is it there in my gait

when I walk directionless

towards my college?

Is it there in my pen

which fills white sheets

with utter gibberish?

 

Tell me, tell me, where is this ordinary?

Is it there in the makeshift bus-stop

where I stretch my hand daily?

Is it there in the concern

of a million

over how I became so tall?

Is it there in the hot vapour

of the morning tea

which mixes into the air suddenly?

 

Tell me; tell me more about the ordinary.

Teach me to be concerned

about how I look,

how I dress,

how I speak,

or rather,

how well I look,

how well I dress,

how well I speak.

 

Better still,

create a map of my footsteps

I should tread

from home to school,

from school to college,

from college to office,

from office to the market

and finally back home.

 

Just keep this one request:

don’t stare at me,surprised

after you hear the doorbell.

Posted in Featured, Non-Fiction.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: THE LITERARY JEWELS – Vol. 2, Issue 2 | The Literary Jewels Magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *