It can be said, “We live by our habits.” When we are standing still and start to walk, we almost always put one particular foot forward. Some start on the left foot, some on the right, but it’s almost always the same foot for each person. We are constantly performing acts unconsciously. We walk, we eat, and we do so much of what we do by habit, without thinking about it.
In reference to habit, each of us can fit into one of four categories. Briefly, let us look at these:
1) There are people who have the habit of never attempting anything that is difficult. They have no heart, except for the easy task. They are interested only in merely getting by in life. They give as little as they possibly can. Yet the same people wonder why others make progress, while they are held back.
2) Next are people who never hear what anybody else has to say. They never try to learn; they never observe; they are the “know-it-alls.” It is always a disagreeable experience to be in the presence of a person who never hears any part of the conversation, except what he or she has to say.
3) Another group of people are those we call “the fighters”. They are against everybody and everything. They never see the good in others, or in any institutions. In their thinking, the government is bad; the schools do not teach; the people who go to church are hypocrites; and on and on. They express their hostility at every opportunity. Someone has called such people “vicious wet blankets”.
4) Let us be thankful there is a fourth kind of person who has developed the habit of looking for good in other people, who is willing to do more than is expected, who has developed the qualities of a lady or a gentleman, who never puts people down, but is seeking to lift people up. This person is interested in making everything in the world better than it is. The glorious thing is that in lifting others up, this person is lifted up.
The greatest accomplishment in life is the mastering of oneself, and there is no deeper joy than to realize that we are living life at its very best. In reference to any enslaving habits, we need to face the question, “Who’s the boss?” The realization that we are improving brings self-confidence and maturity and strength and happiness.
By Bob Mueller
Bob Mueller is a Bishop with the United Catholic Church and can be reached at bobmueller.org
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