A visitor to an elephant feeding camp noticed the chain with which the leg of one of the elephants was tied, de-linked from the iron peg on the ground and he rushed to the camp office nearby to inform the wildlife authorities about the emergency. He was astonished when an official there reassured him that there was nothing to worry about, telling him that the elephant would go nowhere as long as the chain was around its feet, tied to the peg or not!
His explanation is thought-provoking. From an early age, the elephant had become accustomed to the chain around its leg, firmly attached to a peg in the ground, during feeding time. So, each time the chain was put around its leg, the elephant understood that it was immobilized. Once it became habituated to this procedure, whether the chain was tied to the ground or not didn't matter. The elephant stayed rooted to the spot.
Our habits are similar. We are tied to them, unable to break ourselves away - at least we are made to believe so. Habits that adversely affect our personal and professional development must be broken, habits such as these:
An unthinking response to a situation where the results could be counterproductive and sometimes disastrous, especially in inter-personal relationships
Not caring to listen and fully understand another, leading to a breakdown in communication
Lack of diligence
Not completing tasks or carrying out one's responsibilities conscientiously, affecting the outcome
Rude and unfeeling attitude, unmindful of others' sensitivities
Behaviour aimed at creating a false impression of oneself
To break these commonly identifiable habits is one thing, but individual habits are another thing altogether. It is the individual alone who can identify the chains of negative habits and break loose from them. The key to identifying them is to closely look at those that we developed a long time ago. The hardest habits to break are the oldest.
(Read also Watch the Habits)