New simple habit: Help one person at the start of the day.

Today, as I sat down to write in my journal, it occurred to me that lately I have been losing a lot of my peace because of a nagging mind of “attachment and fear”. Ah, attachment, my old friend I thought. Our minds are rigged from our birth and conditioned by our society to protect us and cling on to things that protect us. (Hello, evolutionary scientists, I know you’re saying Duh!)

In Buddhism, there’s an interesting term for this: “self-cherishing” aka “ego”.

Self-cherishing is the enemy of our inner peace. A mind which is constantly seeking to serve your ego is a recipe for disaster. We all have moments during the day when this “self-cherishing” sneaks in and disturbs our peace. Of course, it’s presence is sometimes valid to help protect us from and keep us safe. But it overdoes this job and tries to trigger fear FOR EVERYTHING. Your immediate life is not in danger all the time but anxiety and fear make you feel like it is. This is coming from letting self-cherishing be our most important priority of our days. I know we are not choosing to do so but it’s a non-conscious habit we all share.

I wanted to flip it through conscious habits. So, I asked myself this morning, what would be the opposite of self-cherishing? How can I cultivate a better habit to attain that state?

The answer was apparent. “Cherish others”. Treat others’ peace, happiness and freedom more important than yours. This is a high goal but I can always start small and work my way up.

So I took up a new habit.

“Every weekday morning 8 am, I want to drop whatever I am doing and spend 2 minutes to help someone without any ROI.”

Of course, 2 minutes is ridiculous and won’t cost me anything but that is the point. Also, if you are probably laughing at the irony, you are 100% allowed to do so. Who says I want to be selfless and continues to write (borderline brag about it), right? I deserve the ridicule but I do this to stay accountable :)

Our minds are so tricky (at least mine is!) and so bad at keeping up with habits. Call it cognitive resistance or plain old laziness, it doesn’t want to cooperate.

So I have to start with a laughable challenge every time. The 2012 KP would totally under-estimate the magic in this method. But in 2018, I’ve learned through my own experience in keeping up with the habit of blogging and publishing 102 articles that this is officially how my mind works. Just one rep at a time.

So here we go, the birth of a brand new simple habit. I hope to keep up and I am also aware to further cement this habit, I have to dig deeper and blend this into an identity to make it an ever-lasting behavior.

Also, came across this beautiful list from Tiny Buddha that I’ll be using as a starting point: “20 ways to give without expectations”.

Do you have any recommendations or any practices that helped you stick with a habit like this?