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Change the default

Blog

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Change the default

Scott Miker

The other day I was having issues with my work computer.  It was behaving strangely and I wasn’t able to log on to certain websites. 

I talked to our IT manager and he recommended restarting the computer.  When that was done and hadn’t fixed the problem he changed the browser to go back to default settings.  This fixed the issue and I was on my way.

I started to think about this from a performance standpoint.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could undo a bad day by simply restarting?  Or if we could go back to a default setting that will work perfectly?

But for most people the default settings aren’t ideal settings.  Most of us, by nature, tend to look for the easy path forward.  We all strive to be better, yet for some reason our default setting isn’t leading us to success.

But I feel that there is a way to change the default setting.  Most of this default setting for us has been ingrained in us from friends, family, parents, teachers, mentors etc.  We take our attitudes and beliefs from our society and culture.  Then we form behaviors and do those over and over until they become habit. 

The way to go in and change our default settings is to change the habits.  We have to address our recurrent behavior and find ways to do the right thing over and over again.  This patterned action is extremely powerful. 

This is how you change from blaming others to taking 100% responsibility.  This is how you go from taking the short-term approach to the long-term approach.  This is how you go from quitting to continuing. 

But realize that everyone starts somewhere.  Most of us learn these through mistakes.  We make bad choices and have to realize our errors in order to correct them.  We may quit something prematurely or blame a team member when things go bad instead of taking responsibility and working hard to fix the problems we have control over. 

The key is to be able to adjust as you learn from your mistakes.  But we all seem to have a pull towards what we do repeatedly rather than what we know we should do.  We keep getting pulled by the default setting.  This could result in making the same mistakes over and over again. 

Instead of looking at mistakes and trying to think of ways to justify it, take those and find ways to change the default settings in your life.  Change the habits and natural tendencies to be on improvement.  Focusing on improving those areas of our lives can have great benefits.

Change is possible but if we keep falling back on our default behaviors then we will never really grow and improve.  We have to understand the power of habit in our lives and use specific techniques to succeed.  Unfortunately for us we don’t have an optimal default setting loaded that we can simply reset to, we have to work towards developing the right settings.