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Atomic Habits part 3: The people around us… what are they doing? How does this affect our habits?

  • This is part 3 of my personal reflections surrounding the book, Atomic Habits. If you are interested in reading from the beginning, here is part one

The book says we imitate habits from 3 groups of people:

  1. The close
  2. The many
  3. The powerful

The Close

‘The close’ is in regards to proximity- who we keep around us:

“We copy the way our parents handle arguments, the way our peers flirt with one another, the way our coworkers get results…

one of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where your desired behaviour is the normal behaviour

Atomic Habits, page 100

Man, what a fact. I think when the desired behaviour is normalized, it’s not so scary to achieve.

((a personal tangent: This reminds me of something I use to do a lot, but not really much now. I use to really like to listen to conferences, podcasts, or interviews of people who are experts in their fields, even if the field has nothing to do with me. Just being in the “same room” with those kinds of people, going back and forth with each other, it made me feel like the world was so big. Much bigger than my city and what’s going on around me. Now, reading this book, I realized how beneficial that probably was for me: their behaviour became the norm, their success became the norm, it makes me feel less crazy to want to dive into so many things))

What’s really crazy to me about this concept is that now, because of social media, the people closest to us could be people we have never met, or even had a conversation with. Just because they are behind the screen doesn’t mean we should exclude them from this category. We are constantly consuming their pictures, their thoughts, and their overall behaviour.

When watching our favourite content creators, it’s important to ask, “do I want to be like this person?” “are these qualities I admire?” “is this making me feel more confident about myself?”

The Many

Humans are tribalistic in nature. Conformity and peer pressure are very real things, and very powerful on our decisions & habits:

“Whenever we are unsure how to act, we look to the group to guide our behaviour. We are constantly scanning our environment and wondering, ‘what is everyone else doing?’ …

the normal behaviour of the tribe often overpowers the desired behaviour of the individual

Atomic Habits, page 103

I think we see this in trends all the time. People flock to learn the latest dance or buy things waaaay out of their budget, for no logical reason other than to fit in.

Sometimes it’s a harmless if it’s clothes or a dance. But what if it’s a lifestyle? What if it becomes normal in your circle to mess around all the time? To not take responsibilities seriously? To start doing drugs? What happens then?

We should keep in the back of our minds, these phases come and go, but sometimes the effects do not. Hanging out with people who aren’t making the best decisions, could waste the years we were suppose to be growing and building. So yes, we eventually come out of these things and grow up, but that doesn’t mean we will get those years back.

It’s really been important for me to ask myself, is divulging in this trend worth compromising my values? My future? Is it worth distracting myself from reality?

Do I want to be struggling at 40, wishing I was more mature in my 20s and 30s?

The Powerful

Money talks! Duh!! And so does power and status.

“This is one reason we care so much about the habits of highly effective people. We try to copy the behaviour of successful people because we desire success ourselves. Many of our daily habits are imitations of people we admire. You replicate the marketing strategies of the most successful firms in your industry. You make a recipe from your favourite baker. You borrow the storytelling strategies of your favourite writer”

Atomic Habits, page 104

Many times we chase after things because we see how society praises them. It becomes more attractive. That’s important to keep in mind as well.

This concept made me reflect… for the things I’m aiming for in life… Do I really want it? Or do I want what people will say when I get it? Is that why I’m imitating the successful? Is that a healthy drive?

What do you think? That’s all I wanted to share.

Also, has it been a struggle separating yourself from the herd, or has that come naturally for you? What have you’ve done to reduce external influence? Have any tips? Let me know your thoughts in the comments

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