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30+ quotes from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Quotes from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Charles Duhigg ·  375 pages

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“Change might not be fast and it isn't always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You can't extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Willpower isn’t just a skill. It’s a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there’s less power left over for other things.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“If you believe you can change - if you make it a habit - the change becomes real.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future: THE HABIT LOOP”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“This is the real power of habit: the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“As people strengthened their willpower muscles in one part of their lives—in the gym, or a money management program—that strength spilled over into what they ate or how hard they worked. Once willpower became stronger, it touched everything.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Companies aren’t families. They’re battlefields in a civil war.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“THE FRAMEWORK: • Identify the routine • Experiment with rewards • Isolate the cue • Have a plan”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“There's a natural instinct embedded in friendship, a sympathy that makes us willing to fight for someone we like when they are treated unjustly.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“...hiding what you know is sometimes as important as knowing it...”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits - practical, emotional, and intellectual - systematically organized for our weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the latter may be." - William James”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Once you know a habit exists, you have the responsibility to change it . . . others have done so . . . That, in some ways, is the point of this book. Perhaps a sleep-walking murderer can plausibly argue that he wasn’t aware of his habit, and so he doesn’t bear responsibility for his crime, but almost all of the other patterns that exist in most people’s lives — how we eat and sleep and talk to our kids, how we unthinkingly spend our time, attention and money — those are habits that we know exist. And once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom and the responsibility to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power of habit becomes easier to grasp and the only option left is to get to work.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“If you want to do something that requires willpower—like going for a run after work—you have to conserve your willpower muscle during the day,”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Simply giving employees a sense of agency- a feeling that they are in control, that they have genuine decision-making authority - can radically increase how much energy and focus they bring to their jobs.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“It is facile to imply that smoking, alcoholism, overeating, or other ingrained patters can be upended without real effort. Genuine change requires work and self-understanding of the cravings driving behaviours.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Self-discipline predicted academic performance more robustly than did IQ. Self-discipline also predicted which students would improve their grades over the course of the school year, whereas IQ did not.… Self-discipline has a bigger effect on academic performance than does intellectual talent.”5.2”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Habits are powerful, but delicate. They can emerge outside our consciousness, or can be deliberately designed. They often occur without our permission, but can be reshaped by fiddling with their parts. They shape our lives far more than we realize—they are so strong, in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Small wins are exactly what they sound like, and are part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves. “Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage,” one Cornell professor wrote in 1984. “Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.”4.14 Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“there’s nothing you can’t do if you get the habits right.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Most economists are accustomed to treating companies as idyllic places where everyone is devoted to a common goal: making as much money as possible. In the real world, that’s not how things work at all. Companies aren’t big happy families where everyone plays together nicely. Rather, most workplaces are made up of fiefdoms where executives compete for power and credit, often in hidden skirmishes that make their own performances appear superior and their rivals’ seem worse. Divisions compete for resources and sabotage each other to steal glory. Bosses pit their subordinates against one another so that no one can mount a coup.

Companies aren’t families. They’re battlefields in a civil war.

Yet despite this capacity for internecine warfare, most companies roll along relatively peacefully, year after year, because they have routines – habits – that create truces that allow everyone to set aside their rivalries long enough to get a day’s work done.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Champions don’t do extraordinary things,” Dungy would explain. “They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“Whether selling a new song, a new food, or a new crib, the lesson is the same: If you dress a new something in old habits, it’s easier for the public to accept it.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“But to change an old habit, you must address an old craving. You have to keep the same cues and rewards as before, and feed the craving by inserting a new routine.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“I love Paul O'Neill, but you could not pay me enough to work for him again" one official told me. "the man has never encountered an answer he can't turn into another twenty hours of work.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


“The best agencies understood the importance of routines. The worst agencies were headed by people who never thought about it, and then wondered why no one followed their orders.”
― Charles Duhigg, quote from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


About the author

Charles Duhigg
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