Are you doing things because they make sense or have habits taken over conscious thinking?

There is a story about Russia in the days of the Czars. In the park of St. Petersburg Winter Palace there was a beautiful lawn, on that lawn a bench, and next to that bench, two guards. Every three hours the guards were changed. Yet no one could explain why these guards were guarding the bench. One day an ambitious young lieutenant was put in charge of the Palace Guard. He started wondering and asking questions. Finally, he found a little old man, the Palace historian.

"Yes," the old man said, "I remember. During the reign of Peter the Great, 200 years ago, the bench got a fresh coat of paint. The Czar was afraid that the ladies in waiting might get paint on their dresses. So he ordered one guard to watch the bench while the paint dried. The order was never rescinded. Then in 1908, all the guards of the Palace were doubled for fear of a revolution. So the bench has had two guards ever since."*

"If you want to know your past--look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future--look into your present actions." ~ Old Proverb

Every once in a while it’s wise to ask, "Why am I doing this?" If your dad always bought Fords, is that enough reason for you to only do that today? If you’re still using a typewriter, either you love that little clicking sound or you have missed the development of some easier ways to write. Perhaps you loved the challenge of your new job 20 years ago, but today you’re a different person. Is it time to move on?

I recently saw a 44-yr-old client who said, "I’m tired of living my life based on decisions that were made by an 18-yr-old." Most people evaluate their lives in retrospect; they simply look back from 70 and wonder how they got there. You can put yourself in the driver’s seat instantly by really taking a fresh look at the "why" of those things you are doing today.

The modern definition of "insanity" is to continue doing what you have been doing and yet expecting different results. Are you ignoring years of experience and knowledge only to continue doing what you have always done? If you want different results, you will have to do something different. If the paint dried years ago, move on!

*Paul Lee Tan, Th.D., Encyclopedia of 7,700 Illustrations

From the Bible:

"As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness." Proverbs 26: 11 (HCSB)

Direction for Today:

What activities are you doing today that are more a result of habits than of well-thought out thinking?


Dan Miller is President of The Business Source, founder of "48 Days" and author of 48 Days To The Work You Love and 48 Days To Creative Income. He is the growing authority for creating effective life plans that are achieved by integrating natural gifts, unique personality traits and one's own values and passions. His unique clarification of how God gifts us will introduce you to a new sense of freedom and fulfillment of your life's calling. For more information, visit http://www.48days.com/.