I’m a curious person.
Whenever I read an article that contains a quote, I’m compelled to research the quote and the person.
I was reading an article in Success magazine titled “7 Ways to Become a Better Person This Week.” There were quotes by Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. The quote by Epictetus, who lived from 55 A.D. to 135 A.D. Was below a heading titled Good habits drive out bad habits.” This heading strongly related to some of the words in Og Mandino’s “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” Scroll number one states “For it is another of natures laws that only a habit can subdue another habit.”
Here is Epictetus’ quote: “Since habit is such a powerful influence, and we’re used to pursuing our impulses to gain and avoid outside our own choice, we should set a contrary habit against that, and where appearances are really slippery, use the counterforce of our training.” In other words, have a habit replace another habit.
I started my search on Epictetus after reading the quote. Who is this person, I asked my curious self. Look him up and “Do it now.,” it replied. So I did.
The first thing that yanked me by the collar was his birth and death dates — 55 – 135. Okay. So what’s so significant about the date?
Come on. Are you seriously asking me that question? It’s obvious. Some really smart and influential individuals have been talking about how to change behavior for centuries. They were spot on. No testing a thousand subjects. No 2000 page research paper to verify their hypothesis.
Some how Epictetus and others, probably long before him, knew.
I don’t remember when I first heard about this simple method to change a habit. I’m sure I thought it was genius when I heard it. But in reality, the concept didn’t hit home until the third of fourth reading scroll one in “The Greatest Salesman in the World. ”
Bing..Bing..Bing. The concept reconned a path to the target and hit it. Then along came the Success magazine online article to make sure I got the message.
I actually got it, this time.