Are We in Control of Our Own Behaviour?

Written by Simon Jack (guest contributor)

Of course we are, what a stupid question! We have to think before we act, therefore we have conscious control.

But the real question is what is behind our conscious thoughts that influences how we act..?

...or perhaps I should say who is behind them?

Let me introduce you to your Creatures of Habit.



Your brain’s task automator. It loves to keep you in the comfort zone of what you know best. Repetition is a sure-fire way of ensuring the are no unwanted surprises a little mental effort is wasted as possible.



Your brain’s inbuilt resistance to change. Protection loves to keep the status quo and looks to avoid any upheaval due to new methods at all cost. Protection is often heard muttering, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”



Your brain’s desire for quick gratification. Obvious likes to find an answer then move on without over-stretching the mental muscles. It’s job is to find the quick route without stopping off to explore other directions.



Your brain’s need to be right. Judgement can’t stand being wrong and is fanatical about demonstrating superiority through logic. It and hates to waste time and resources and subsequently takes a no-nonsense line by being as critical to new ideas as possible.



Your brain’s social barometer. Follower prefers to stick with the herd to protects you from doing anything too embarrassing or unsafe. Influences you to make decisions based upon what is most likely to conform to others’ expectations.



Your brain’s law and order department. Obedience ensures you conform to the correct ways of doing things so you don’t experience any unknown consequences. As such, it will do its utmost to uphold the rules - even the unwritten ones - often without a need to stop and question any assumptions.



Your brain’s confidence inhibitor. Gremlin is responsible for stripping your courage and stealing your belief. It’s a bit of a hypochondriac; it plans for the worst and as a precaution and prevents you from taking action by talking you out of even trying.

Can the Creatures be Tamed?

We all have the Creatures to varying degrees. We all absolutely need them or life would be a nonsense act of randomness.

However, when any change to the norm or extra effort is required, the Creatures go to battle stations. The more the Creatures exert their influence over us, the more they become the norm. The thinking behind an action then becomes cemented. In other words, that's a thinking habit.

Whether you realise it or not, the Creatures of Habit are controlling the way you think to a large extent. And the way you think determines how you are likely to behave in response.

So what does it take to take back control of your behaviour? The difference is realisation. By getting to know your Creatures, you can understand when and why they act up. You can convince them to let go and open up new options to explore by uncoupling their typical go-to habitual methods and associations.

For example, take the Protection habit. Generally, once we find something that works, we tend to stick with it, unless we stumble upon a better way. To overcome Protection, we need to proactively find ways of stumbling more often! By staying alert and realising there is always room for improvement, the blinkers come off and more opportunities to innovate start to present themselves.

This now leads on to another question- if the Creatures can influence own behaviour, can we influence others by tapping into their own Creatures?

The answer is yes (quickly cutting to the chase!). Once you can identify the Creatures of Habit that control the thoughts and behaviours of others, you can start to find ways to nudge them in a different direction.

We'll explore more on how to influence behaviours and choices in others in a future post, so subscribe to stay alerted.

But back to the original question - are we in control of our behaviour? Yes. But if we want to make positive conscious changes, it's time to make the Creatures of Habit your new best friends.

Want to understand which Creatures influence your decisions and ideas the most? Take the Creatures of Habit test and find out.