My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When you feel that something important about your approach to your current life isn’t working, you should adopt a new way of sailing your ship at life’s sea. Hence, following my read of Aristotle’s Way by Edith Hall, I continued pursuing the answer in Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, a self-help book based on Aristotle’s dictum that virtue is a habit in 21st-century parlance.
Fogg’s approach to habit-forming practice is categorized into small steps that require no intellectual, or philosophical commitments, as in the case of new year’s resolutions. He refers to motivations and willpower as “fair-weathered” friends who hooray and holler at our resolutions to change at first but disappear into the lost memories of the first initiation when our souls plunge at the lowest later. Instead, we must befriend “Aspirations” and “Outcomes” as faithful friends who will help us build a Behavior Design that best matches our disposition and lifestyle by which we can realize our affirmation as the functionary of noble ideas. For example, if you want to save $500 as an emergency fund, you can start by curtailing your Starbucks visits or bringing your lunchbox to work, rather than saving a lump sum of money from your paychecks; as the saying, “Drop by door fills the tub.” Fogg refers to such small practice as the principle of “Golden Behavior,” which you can do when you feel like calling it a day, even on your most challenging day.
Notwithstanding the noble intentions and the greatness of simplicity in Fogg’s guide to habit-forming, some carbuncles I find incongruent in his examples of his successful people who are comparatively well-off business owners or professionals. Of course, that is not to avert his excellent idea that the simple is the best. Still, I hoped to find examples of everyday working-class people struggling to make their lives better who have fewer resources, such as seeking help from a person like Fogg, a Behavior Scientist at Stanford University. Maybe I could inadvertently judge his study results only with limited information based on my reading. Still, I only wish that he would include a broad social spectrum of subjects in the advantage of Golden Behavior. But then I could be a captious reader feeling left out of the selected successful achievers.
In all fairness, the book is worth reading if you are especially keen on Aristotle’s way of happiness, which I regard as personable and approachable, compared to Plato’s metaphysical way of interpreting how to live a perfect life. But let’s forget about the ancient Greek school of philosophy. Still, Tiny Habits do matter.
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