When I sit in a chair, I take for granted it will support me. When I turn on the faucet, I take for granted the water is clean and I won’t get sick if I drink it. And even when I fly, I take it for granted that I’ll land safely.
So many of the decisions we make each day are powered by our subconscious. We follow a pattern and routine that is programmed based on our repeated behaviors and the data our brains receive about the outcomes of our actions. Have you ever driven to work or a familiar destination and not remembered the drive? It’s because your brain was on auto-pilot – programmed based on repeated behavior.
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, says that 45% of our actions are driven by habit. When something is new, we pay attention to everything to figure it out, but the more automatic something becomes, the more easily the brain can turn off. The question becomes, what’s a decision as opposed to a habit?
We take things for granted that are habitual, familiar or expected. But should we?
What do we take for granted that we shouldn’t? What relationships, customers or coworkers do we assume will be there in the same way they have always been?
What about our health and our bodies? It’s easy to assume everything will keep working like it always has.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered, “Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about his future that he does not enjoy the present, the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies never having really lived.”
There are so many aspects of our life that we take for granted. However, if we stop from time to time, take stock and examine the 40+ percent of our lives that is on auto-pilot, habitual and rote, we may find there are a few things that could use a new investment of time, energy and attention.
There are times when we should look through the microscope, and then there are times to look through the telescope. The forests of our lives have more than just trees we need to see.
What’s one thing you may be taking for granted?