Bill Cottringer

“The obscure takes a while to see and the obvious—even longer.” ~Anonymous.

What is the worst bad habit you can get caught up in? One that is hard to see because it is so much of who we are on this human journey. As it turns out, this worst bad habit is just a resting spot in our natural growth process and is necessary to get to the finish line. Just like all the other left sides of the equation which our dualistic thinking has created, our worst bad habit serves the main purpose to let its opposite right side to emerge and encourage us to keep moving forward past them both. This is the “circle of life” like night becoming day, ignorance becoming educated, and failures turning into successes.

The worst bad habit we can get caught up in is having a short range perspective of life and all the situations we are confronted with. This short-range perspective within our ‘psychological conscience’ includes all the immediate pleasure and need gratification experiences that our minds and hearts “want.” This inventory can include a range of temporary, personalized, and selfish objects from wealth to power to recognition to easy solutions to complex problems.

It’s opposite—a long-range perspective of the ‘moral conscience’—is more in sync with the substantial needs of our soul that deliver authentic happiness and genuine peace of mind. These are things like truth, beauty, compassion, unconditional love, wisdom, understanding and creativity.

The difficulty is that you have to explore all these infinite wants long enough to become aware that they always result in failure and incomplete satisfaction because of the ‘impermanence’ they come packaged in. But then again, making the transformation from a failed short-range perspective to a long-range one is not an easy thing, and may be what some refer to as the “longest journey across the universe.”

This transition is difficult because it takes time to shift attention from the determination and commitment of efforts and the immediate extrinsically-rewarding results you get with a short-range perspective; whereas it becomes a challenge having patience at realizing and appreciating the intrinsic rewards that taking the high road to satisfying soulful needs, results in over the long haul.

The change between exchanging a short-range perspective for a long-range one is simple to know but difficult to carry out. Any transformative change involves four stages:

1. Becoming aware of why and how the bad habit doesn’t have your real long
range welfare as its primary intention.

2. Building the necessary determination, commitment, and sense of urgency to get busy with the change.

3. Making a focused effort to practice the change in attitude and behavior.

4. Having patience until the change takes hold as a habit and you start getting results that are undeniably satisfying.

The most important insight about this process is that neither side of this equation is “superior” to the other and a claim to that effect is really just a short-range perspective itself. Both short-range and long-range perspectives can be appropriate, depending on the nature of the situation; and it is the thoughtful merging of these perspectives that gets the most creative, worthwhile results that lead to longer-lasting happiness. But then again, it is both the fleeing glimpse of short-range happiness and the experience of long-range happiness that leads to a more whole, complete perspective, which is always more valuable and useful, then, now and later.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Reality Repair Coach, Photographer and Writer. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing), Passwords to The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press), You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence), The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree), Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers) and Reality repair Rx (Publish America). This article is part of his new book Reality Repair coming soon (Penguin). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or