Why I Do What I Do
Q. Why do I do what I do?
A. That’s an open-ended question, if ever I heard one. Nevertheless, I’ll take a stab at it. Here are a few general comments. Behaviors do not come out of a vacuum, especially those that result in negative outcomes. As the old saying goes, “Every pathology has an ecology.” Multiple factors impact human behaviors. Here are a few of those factors:
- Following the script you were handed at birth. Many people exhibit behaviors that were passed down in family patterns of behaviors from the past three or four generations. What is your script? You can find tips for identifying your script in my mini-monograph entitled: Scripts for Living.
- Giving your brain a reward. Many people develop and continue behaviors because the behaviors trigger the brain’s reward system. The brain only continues behaviors for which it gets a reward. Gradually some of those behaviors can become strong habits, if not addictive.
- Trying to meet expectations of family, school, church, society, and so on. Many people adapt to expectations—including their own—in order to fit in, be successful, keep the peace, earn a living, or a host of other reasons. When this involves adapting away from the person’s own innate giftedness it can result in negative outcomes including diminished health and shortened longevity.
- Getting caught up in the “shoulds.” Many people spend a lifetime living out “shoulds” based on beliefs and attitudes that were absorbed consciously or subconsciously prior to the age of five. Sometimes those beliefs and attitudes related to finances, education, career choices, religion, and you name it.
Take a look at these factors and evaluate your behaviors against them and decide whether or not you want to keep exhibiting them or need to alter them. As James Baldwin pointed out: Not everything that is faced can be changed—but nothing can be changed until it is faced.