2014 has begun and I bet we all have done planning and setting goals. That is the first and the most important part of achieving a goal. However, we tend to forget something more important: “how to achieve that goal?”
“How to achieve?” is a crucial question because you get lost if you do not know how to get where you want. I want to suggest that the most important step to it is to reflect your habits. What were the bad habits that hindered you to succeed? What kind of habits do you need in order to reach your goals?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
Aristotle stated that a habit is what we repeatedly do. This might be discouraging since this means that we need to “practice” in order to have a good habit. It might take some time and effort to get a good habit because habit is something we can do it unconsciously. Some might say practicing repeatedly might bore us and we can get burn out. However, I want to oppose to that with the story of the Shouldice Hospital.
Shouldice Hospital is a small medical center located at Toronto, and they are specialized in hernia repair surgery. A hernia is a weakening of the abdominal wall and in most hospital, from 10 to 14 percent of the cases, the operation eventually fails and the hernia returns. However, none of that statistics apply in the Shouldice Hospital. Their recurrence rate is an astonishing 1 percent. The secret to this success is that dozen surgeons at Shouldice do nothing else but hernia operations. Each surgeon repairs between six hundred and eighty hundred hernias a year, which is more than most general surgeons do in a lifetime. 1
With a lot of repetition, surgeons performed each step without pause, and the assistants and nurses were in perfect harmony. Bynes Shouldice, a son of the clinic’s founder and a hernia surgeon, was asked whether he ever got bored doing hernias all day long, and he said, “No, perfection is the excitement.” 1
Perfection always excites us because we can never be perfect. “Practice makes perfect.” Practicing is the only way to reach the perfection. Therefore, practicing and creating good habit should motivate us to move forward rather than exhaust us.
“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.” (Luke 22:39)
Jesus also showed us a good example of habit. His habit was to go up to the Mount of Olives and pray. This was the secret to His victory on the cross.
1. Gawande, Atul; “Complications: A Surgeon’s Note on Imperfect Science” pg 39-14