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TipsForSuccess: Bad Habits--Are You the Master or a Slave?


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Bad Habits -- Are You the Master or a Slave?

If you can break any bad habit you wish, you can be more successful.

For example, bad spending habits block your financial success. Procrastination reduces your income. Acting like a victim makes people avoid you.

Bad health is often caused by smoking, drinking, drugs, poor eating habits or a lack of exercise. When you break these bad habits, you feel better and live longer. A healthy body is essential to your success.

Bad marriages are often caused by bad habits like cheating, laziness and disrespect. Low pay is often caused by bad habits like tardiness, mood swings, unprofessionalism and so on.

From drinking to lying, smoking to gambling, you can stop any behavior that is bad for you or that you are not proud of. You become the master and not the slave.

Taking Control

You can control yourself. For example, you are the one who controls your arms and legs. You decide what you say. You are the final decision-maker on where your body goes. In other words, habits are not forced on you by others. Habits are a matter of control.

"Control may be subdivided into three separate parts. These parts are start, change and stop."

"A habit is simply something one cannot stop."

"When one finally loses the ability to stop something, that thing to some degree has become his master."

"Franticness, helplessness, incompetence, inefficiency and other undesirable factors in a job are all traceable to inabilities to start, change and stop things."
-- L. Ron Hubbard
from his book "The Problems of Work"

If you cannot control a habit, the habit becomes your master.

For example, you cannot stop eating foods with sugar in them. At first, you probably felt that you could start, change and stop the habit without any trouble. You could go for days without eating sugar. You were in control.

But then you could no longer change. You were eating sugary foods routinely. Donuts for breakfast, candy with lunch, cake after dinner and cookies in front of the television at night. You found you could not stop eating sugar. The urge to eat sugar became your master.

How to Take Better Control

"Control consists entirely of starting, changing and stopping. There are no other factors in positive control. If one can start something, change its position in space or existence in time and stop it, all at will, he can be said to control it, whatever it may be."
-- L. Ron Hubbard

So how can you increase your self-control? Improve your ability to start, change or stop what you do.

What can you start about the bad habit? For example, maybe with smoking you can start smoking each day at a different time. You decide when to start or when not to start for the day. You take more control of the "start" aspect of control.

Next, find something you can change about the bad habit. For smoking, you might switch brands. Smoke two cigarettes at the same time. Smoke with your other hand. Simply work on changing the habit.

And find things you can stop about the habit. For example, stop smoking when you are driving. Stop smoking for an hour. Stop smoking half-way through a cigarette. Just get better at stopping.

As you gain the ability to start, change and stop the habit, you will notice you have more control of the habit. Continue improving these three abilities and you are suddenly in control of the habit. You can break it completely.

For assistance with your control planning, go to

To learn more about taking control, buy and read The Problems of Work by L. Ron Hubbard. Order your copy at or


Provided by as a public service to introduce the technology of L. Ron Hubbard to you.

Copyright © 2005 All rights reserved. Grateful acknowledgment is made to L. Ron Hubbard Library for permission to reproduce selections from the copyrighted works of L. Ron Hubbard.

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