A few weeks ago I went to an awesome conference on Servant Leadership for work. Often I go to these things and think that I’m hearing the same thing dressed up differently, but there was something unique here. As I often do, I came home and was talking to my kids about the conference and how the things my company graciously pays hundreds of dollars to teach me, is often the same info that we teach scouts. This was the same in subject, but the content was refreshing and unique.
One of the speakers, Charles Duhigg, was discussing his research and the subject of his book “The Power of Habit” In his book and his talk Duhigg talks extensively about how our brain compensates by turning most of our day into a series of habits that can be identified by the process: CUE -> ROUTINE -> REWARD
I’m not going to pretend that I understand fully the implications of his work, nor am I going to relay accurately all of what he has found, but I did want to share how this impacts us, as Scouts and Scouters.
He has a whole section of his book about Keystone Habits (which are habits that affect other habits) and the importance of willpower. He details out the “Marshmallow Experiment” in which they find that kids that can delay gratification have more success in most areas of their life.
Coupling this research with what they’ve found out with Keystone Habits, he asserts that as a parent, by teaching your child to make their bed prior to leaving their room… by this simple act of delayed gratification, this new habit can be the touch point for many other positive habits that they can build upon. (By the way, for adults he used the example of flossing every morning to affect positive change in your life!)
How does this couple with Scouting? What kind of habits are we trying to instill? Doing a good turn daily is our slogan, what if that became habit? What kind of life would our scouts, scouters and families then have?
Oh, by the way, the conference was the World Leader’s Conference! I’m already looking forward to next year!