Americans spend $50 million a year on subliminal message tapes designed to help them do everything from improve their self-image
to stop smoking. But there's so hidden message in the National Research Council's verdict on such techniques. The Council's
report, released in September 1992, concludes that subliminal messages simply don't work. They don't deliver the life-
transforming power they promise.
Today in the Word, June 14, 1992.
Habits are first cobwebs, then cables.
In Pulpit Digest William H. Willimon used this illustration; "Philip
Haille wrote of the little village of Le Chambon in France, a town whose people, unlike others in France, hid their Jews from the Nazis. Haille went
there, wondering what sort of courageous, ethical heroes could risk all to do such extraordinary good. He interviewed people in the village and was
overwhelmed by the ordinariness. They weren't heroes or smart, discerning
people. Haille decided that the one factor that united them was their attendance, Sunday after Sunday, at their little church, where they heard the
sermons of Pastor Trochme. Over time, they became by habit people who just knew what to do and did it. When it came time for them to be courageous, the
day the Nazis came to town, they quietly did what was right. One old woman, who faked a heart attack when the Nazis came to search her house, later said,
'Pastor always taught us that there comes a time in every life when a person is asked to do something for Jesus. When our time came, we knew what to do.'"
Willliam H. Willimon.
True habits of the heart are there when they are most needed. According to a recent
Self Magazine article, losing just one dietary bad habit can result in significant weight loss over a
period of one year. If you just substitute high calorie offenders for similar tasting, lower calorie choices, the weight
loss can still be significant. Give up one teaspoon of cream in your coffee and lose 6 pounds a year, or switch to a similar
amount of skim milk and lose 5 pounds. Give up a glazed donut a day and lose 25 pounds a year, or switch to a medium sized bran
muffin and lose 11 pounds in a year. Skipping a teaspoon of butter on a daily bagel will leave you 11 pounds lighter at
year's end, or change to a similar amount of cream cheese and drop 5 pounds. Some other items you can drop and save on are a
12 ounce can of soda a day and forget 17 pounds in a year; a 1.2 ounce chocolate bar a day saves you 12 pounds in 18 months.
There's nothing to it but to do it.
Management Digest, September, 1989.
Studies have shown that an immediate health effect will make more people change a habit than some distant threat.
Encounter, January 15, 1980, Vol. 15, No. 2.
Years ago when the western U.S. was being settled, roads were often just wagon tracks. These rough trails posed serious
problems for those who journeyed on them. On one of these winding paths was posted a sign which read: "Avoid this rut or
you'll be in it for the next 25 miles!"
A habit is something you can do without thinking--which is why most of us have so many of them.
Frank Clark, Register and Tribune Syndicate.
It is a commonplace how easily a child of 3 or 4 picks up a foreign language if exposed to it without any formal teaching.
Yet we are unwilling to admit that a child of the same age picks up our unconscious attitudes and prejudices without being taught--and often retains these longer than any of his formal education.
Sidney J. Harris.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda describes his battle with bad habits: "I took a pack of cigarettes from my pocket,
stared at it and said, "Who's stronger, you or me?" The answer was me. I stopped smoking. Then I took a vodka martini and said
to it, "Who's stronger, you or me?" Again the answer was me. I quit drinking. Then I went on a diet. I looked at a big plate
of linguine with clam sauce and said, "Who's stronger, you or me?" And a little clam looked up at me and answered, "I am." I
can't beat linguine.
Ron Fimrite in Sports Illustrated.
75% to 85% of smokers would like to kick the habit. Forty million Americans have already beaten their addictions.
Homemade, April, 1989.
On a road not far from my home are some trees that are slowly being destroyed by huge coils of ivy. The vines wind themselves
like snakes around the trunk. At this point it is impossible to untwist these runners because they are so firmly embedded into
the trees. They are literally strangling the life out of those helpless giants. But there was a day when the ivy was a small
plant just seeking a little support in climbing. Had the trees resisted these tiny tendrils, they would not be in the state they
Paul Van Gorder.
Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it every day, and at last we cannot break it.
Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.
The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.
Bad habits are like comfortable beds--easy to get into but hard to get out of
An elderly teacher, with a pupil by his side, took a walk through a forest. Suddenly he stopped and pointed to four plants close
at hand. The first was just beginning to peep above the ground, the second had rooted itself pretty well into the earth, the
third was a small shrub, while the fourth was a full-sized tree. The tutor said to his young companion, 'Pull up the first plant.'
The boy did so eagerly, using only his fingers.
'Now pull up the second.' The youth obeyed but found the task more difficult.
'Do the same with the third,' he urged. The boy had to use all his strength to uproot it.
'Now,' said the instructor, 'try your hand with the fourth.' The pupil put his arms around the trunk
of the tall tree and couldn't even shake its leaves. 'This, my son, is just what happens with our bad habits. When they are
young, we can remove them readily; but when they are old, it's hard to uproot them, though we pray and struggle ever so
From the Heidelberg Herald.