In my last two posts, I talked about the benefit of ingraining a very powerful urge to write by creating a habit. Writing under the same circumstances every day for a few weeks can create stimulus control in which the environment triggers our writing behavior. But I also cautioned that we can sometimes hinder ourselves if we limit our writing to only that special circumstance. We don’t want to limit ourselves! We want to be productive no matter where we are, right? So, to avoid that, once we’ve established a good habit, we need to vary our writing environment (while still sticking with our routine) so we can train ourselves to write under a variety of stimuli. This will allow for optimal productivity.
Today, I want to add in two new concepts: cognitive control and locus of control.
Cognitive control: refers to the way people’s behavior can be driven by mental constructs such as plans, instructions, goals, and prior events. It also refers to the way our behavior can vary in real time, allowing it to change as our plans, goals, and values (etc.) vary. This allows our behavior as a whole to be flexible instead of rigid.
Locus of Control: In other words, to whom or what we attribute our success (or failure). Is it because of things inside of us (i.e., internal locus of control) or things outside of us (i.e., external locus of control)?
How does this all fit in with stimulus control and generalizability?
So, step 1, just remember that external factors impact us.
STEP 2: External factors don’t have to be the end-all be-all of our behavior. Yes, stimulus control is powerful, but so is your brain. We need to remember that the executive control of our behavior lies within us.