I’m a Fellow of the RSA (The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). It has a long and interesting history:
It was founded in 1754 and was granted a Royal Charter in 1847. Notable members have included Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, William Hogarth, John Diefenbaker, Stephen Hawking and Charles Dickens.
The RSA was set up to “embolden enterprise, enlarge science, refine art, improve our manufactures and extend our commerce”, but also to reduce poverty and secure full employment.
There was an interesting article recently on their blog by Ian Burbidge on the topic of habits, and here are some extracts:
We try to understand these issues by looking through three lenses that provide perspectives on the incentives and power dynamics that influence our behaviour and illustrate, ultimately, the complexity of making change happen. Why is this relevant for behaviour change? Well, change is change, a shift from one state to another. It’s too easy to look at an individual and say ‘just do it’. Seeing our lives as complex and interlinked allows us to identify and then unpick the full range of ties that bind us in our current habits and behaviour…
Knowing does not equal doing. Even if we receive and inwardly digest the public health messaging around alcohol, it does not automatically follow that we act on that information. For many of us, no amount of information will lead to new behaviours. But we can disrupt habits by interrupting or changing their behavioural triggers. Further, the evidence from my work with Do Something Different is that once you begin to untangle this web of linked behaviours, all sorts of magic happens across all elements of your life. This magic happens because everything is linked: whether we smoke, work or exercise; who we socialise with, whether we volunteer in our community, what we eat, how we spend our spare time… this is our life and it’s often messy, always interlinked. Unpick one set of links and it impacts on all the others.
I quite like this idea of a web of links and thinking how displacing some may lead to magical (unexpected) behaviour.
A more pragmatic view on habits has been discussed in a preceding post.