Making good choices is key

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Making good choices is key

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 | ​​​​​​​Swami Mukundananda

Making good choices is key

Swami Mukundananda tells you how behavioural momentum helps you change your life for the better

Life presents us with an array of choices. We select our thoughts, priorities, emotions, and behaviours. Regardless of how good or bad we may presently be, we can always choose to make our future better. Regrettably, we also have the option of choosing to make our future worse.

Nowadays, there is no dearth of advertisements promising you an annual income of two crores, if you simply spend two hours daily on the internet; a weight loss of twenty kilos by wearing a special belt; and perfection in meditation if you take initiation in a particular mantra. Surprisingly, people are willing to get duped into believing these alluring marketing lines.

The problem is that our human nature wants quick fixes-excellence without toil, and perfection without practice. But life mastery and enlightenment are not cheap bargains. They are achieved through sacrifice, dedication, and perseverance.

The good news is that the level of difficulty does not remain the same throughout the journey. In fact, every incremental step becomes easier than the previous one. Social scientists have discovered a concept called behavioural momentum.

We are familiar with the momentum of solid objects. You may have had the experience of pushing someone’s car. When the engine does not turn on with the ignition switch, passengers get out of the car and begin pushing it. Initially, your every muscle gets exerted to overcome the vehicle’s static inertia. But slowly, the movement begins and then keeps picking speed. When the driver sees the car has gathered enough momentum, she releases the clutch, to engage the engine with a jerk and kick start it.

This is an illustration of the momentum of physical objects. Interestingly, the same phenomenon applies to human behaviour as well. As you strive to improve yourself, the velocity of your self-transformation keeps speeding up. The reason is that any learned behaviour becomes easier with every repetition, until it finally becomes a habit.

Slowly, the choices, which we keep repeating, grow onto us and become a part of us. That is why it is said: “First we make choices and then the choices make us.” Now, if our choices are harmful, the momentum will build up in the wrong direction and work to our detriment. But if we keep repeating good choices, the impetus will develop in the beneficial direction and will work to our advantage.

This explains why the most difficult part of any behavioural modification is the initial phase. It is when our brain is breaking the neural pathways of old habits and establishing circuitry for new ones. Once the behavioural momentum builds up, we reach the auto mode and enjoy the ride, because progress in life has almost reached the automatic level.

In his latest book, 7 Divine Laws to Awaken Your Best Self,  he discusses the most important divine laws of life. What are these laws? How can our life be enriched by their knowledge and application? This joyous journey is accomplished through the seven chapters of the book.

The writer is global spiritual leader, best selling author and Vedic scholar

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