Skip to main content

Would you steal if you wouldn't get caught?

Vandana reads all my posts. In my previous post Giving up Tennis, the last line went
"Has Vandana stopped playing Tennis. I don't even think of it. If you start wondering and thinking about it, you have started playing Tennis again. I want to give up and that is what I am focusing on."

She said it sounded holier than thou. So let me explain what I meant.

I have a strange quirk. I don't like my socks washed in a washing machine, I like them washed by hand. When Vandana and I were playing Tennis, she told me that if I wanted them washed by hand I would have to wash them myself. I used to do that for a long time. My work involves long hours and travel and sometime I would end up not washing socks for a while. After we started playing the Madison instead of Tennis, Vandana saw me struggling and helped me wash the socks by hand. It took a load of my hands and I felt very happy and grateful for this help.

Over time as I started playing the Madison instead of Tennis, Vandana also changed her behavior and started playing the Madison instead of Tennis. Occasionally both of us backslide :-) . 80% of the time both of us are playing the Madison.

The key point is that I stopped basing my behavior on hers. My behavior was not "conditional". I was focusing on playing the Madison without constantly making comparisons. I was not counting the number of times she did not play the Madison. That is a major change that happened inside my brain.

Behavior has many drivers. Mostly we let circumstance drive our behavior. This is "impulsive" behavior. If circumstances put us in a position where we can steal without getting caught, and we steal, we are being impulsive. When we are able to control our impulses, we let our ingrained values drive our behavior. That is "value" driven behavior. We don't steal because our values don't allow us to do that.

I worked very hard to make playing the Madison part of my ingrained values. So when circumstance come up, I don't give in to impulse and start playing Tennis, I control my impulses and see how I can play the Madison instead, because that is part of my values.

How do you go about making something an ingrained value. Hmm, that is definitely another post.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Weddings - Symbols and Messages

When I got married, I spent my wedding days in a daze. My parents, my in-laws, the officiating priest gave me instructions and I blindly followed them. This is normal . During an Indian wedding there are a huge variety of rituals to be carried out. They vary based on the region you come from, the sect you belong to, and traditions followed in your family. In my opinion, they all have one thing in common, the bride and groom are totally disconnected from the entire spectacle that is playing out around them. Now my son Prahalad is getting married to Sneha and I will watch them go through an identical experience. So I started wondering how I could help them make sense of the crazy few days they are going to experience. I have a wonderful idea Me, I am an engineer and so I had this wonderful idea. Compare the wedding ceremony to F=ma. That is Newton's Second Law of Motion. If you understand the symbols and what they stand for, then it is a very useful and powerful equation. If y

Accepting Your Wife in Marriage

I read a change management book a while back. It said that all changes follow identical phases. How long you spend in each phase may vary, but you will go through all the phases. The phases are inevitable. “Changes” are anything new - a new job, a new house, a new hobby, a new spouse, or a new way of doing things. When you initiated the change you did it because you felt the change would be for the better. Initially there is a honeymoon phase, you see all the nice things about the change. You are excited and happy. After a while you start noticing the drawbacks, the negative aspects of the change. You enter the disillusionment phase. You are upset and angry, you feel cheated. At this point three things can happen. Breakdown. You abandon the change, and go back to the old ways. You try to get another job, another house, abandon your hobby, or divorce your spouse. Trapped. You are unhappy but grit your teeth and go on. You feel trapped, stressed out. You continue in the

Giving up Tennis

In my previous post I was discussed how most people treat their marriage as a Tennis game. In Relationship Tennis you are trying to dominate your spouse and get them to behave as per your concept of the perfect spouse. If you are uncomfortable or unhappy in your relationship with your spouse, the first and most important step is to stop playing Relationship Tennis. Not easy. This post is about how you can stop playing Relationship Tennis. As I discussed in depth in my post Accepting your Wife in Marriage I decided that I want to improve my relationship with Vandana. When I talked to her about it, she thought it was one more strategy I was using in my Relationship Tennis. When I asked her what would convince her that I was serious, she threw me a challenge. The challenge was very simple, she said, "You never make the bed, for the next one year make the bed everyday and I might be willing to believe you." So the first step on the journey was that for one year I made the