Dear Darling Friends,
In Iraq, in Kufa, there was a history of violence by protesters. How did the new police commissioner, with the rank of a Major, control it? Be ready for an unexpected answer. The answer is – “By ensuring the food vendors stayed out of that plaza.”
The Major reviewed the videos of past protests that had turned violent. To his amusement he found, on days when the Kebab stand was absent, people did not stay long for protests. Interesting isn’t it? He used this knowledge to his advantage.
People have a habit of eating at a particular time. They have the habit of eating particular things. They have the habit of eating in a particular way.
To control the mob or to dispel the protesters, he did not have to stage a flag march.
He did not make announcements on loudspeakers. He did not threaten the crowd with dire consequences. He just removed the kebab stands !!!
At the boot camp, as a very young cadet, he had developed habits for loading his weapon, falling asleep in a war zone, maintaining focus amid the chaos of battle, and making decisions while exhausted and overwhelmed. He had attended classes that taught him habits for saving money, exercising each day, and communicating with bunk mates.
As he moved up the ranks, he learned the importance of organizational habits in ensuring that subordinates could make decisions without constantly asking permission, and how the right routines (habits) made it easier to work alongside people he normally couldn’t stand.
And now, as a law enforcement officer, he was seeing how crowds and cultures abided by many of the same rules. In some sense, he said, a community was a giant collection of habits occurring among thousands of people that, depending on how they’re influenced, could result in violence or peace. In addition to removing the food vendors, he had launched dozens of different experiments in Kufa to influence residents’ habits. There hadn’t been a riot since he arrived.
"Understanding habits is the most important thing I’ve learned in the army," the major told a news reporter.
“It’s changed everything about how I see the world. You want to fall asleep fast and wake up feeling good? Pay attention to your night time patterns and what you automatically do when you get up. Do you want to make running easy? Create triggers to make it a routine. I drill my kids on this stuff. My wife and I write out habit plans for our marriage. This is all we talk about in command meetings. Not one person in Kufa would have told me that we could influence crowds by taking away the kebab stands, but once you see everything as a bunch of habits, it’s like someone gave you a flashlight and now you can see in the night.”
There’s nothing you can’t do if you get the habits right.
Mohd Ali used to say this – “I hate training. But I get up and train. So that tomorrow I can be the champion. Otherwise, tomorrow I will be the loser. Not training would be a wrong habit. Training hard is the right habit. Hence, I train.
Come on friends. Let us be like the Major at Kufa and like Mohd Ali. Success, Impact and fame are all waiting for us.
With love, prayers and exceptional wishes,
Imagine, when we wake up, we are given only what we had thanked for.