Learn more about habits with this collection
The importance of physical activity
The role of genetics in lifespan
How to maintain a healthy diet
There are hundreds of things we do routinely every day. We wake up, check our phones, eat our meals, do our jobs.
More recently, these actions have become a place for self-improvement and life-hacks. These guides tend to show habits as routines that follow a repeated sequence of behaviours, but this account is stripped of much of its historical richness.
Today's self-help books rely on 20th-century behavioural psychologists such as BF Skinner, Clark Hull, John B Watson and Ivan Pavlov. These thinkers prioritise observable, stimulus-response reactions over inner feelings or thoughts.
Behaviourists believed people were conditioned to respond automatically to certain cues, which caused repeated actions. However, in light of contemporary neuroscience, the behaviourist image of habit has changed. For example, the brain is malleable and allows habits to write themselves in our neural wiring over time.
Philosophers used to look at habits as a way of thinking who we are, what it means to have faith, and why our daily habits reveal something about the larger world.
Aristotle uses the term hexis (a lasting characteristic, capacity or disposition that one 'owns') and ethos (what triggers the essential principles that help to guide moral and intellectual development.) Later in medieval Christian Europe, Aristotle's hexis was Latinised into habitus.
The theologian Thomas Aquinas saw habit as a significant component of spiritual life. In his Summa Theologica (1265-1274), habitus meant rational choice that leads the true believer to the sense of faithful freedom and consuetudo involved habits that inhibit this freedom: the irreligious, daily routines that don't actively engage with faith.
Consuetudo is where we get the terms 'custom' and 'costume' from. It suggests that habit extended beyond individuals.
Enlightenment philosopher David Hume thought of habits in broader terms. He considered habit as something that empowers and enables us. He concluded that habit is the 'cement of the universe' that 'all operations of the mind depend on.'
He believed that any skill we use to change an experience into something useful is built from habits, such as language, music, relationships. Habits are then essential instruments that guide us to navigate the world.
More like this
17 life lessons that are learned the hard way
The neuroscience of branding
Explore the World’s
Take Your Ideas
Just press play and we take care of the words.
No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.
2 Million Stashers
Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.
Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.
Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.
This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!
Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.
Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.
Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.
I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!
Read & Learn
Access to 200,000+ ideas
Access to the mobile app
Unlimited idea saving & library
Unlimited listening to ideas
Downloading & offline access
Supercharge your mind with one idea per day
Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.
I agree to receive email updates