The Good Habit Rabbit: Again

It’s school time again and I thought my readers might find this old post from 2013 of some value, especially those with kids.  Enjoy!

rabbit_1500988cgood habits

We had our usual panic one morning before school. “Where’s my canteen card? I can’t find my mobile phone!!  My iPod battery is empty …..”  I’m certain all the parents out there can recognize the situation – kids never put things away and then at the last-minute, when it’s time to go, they can’t find anything! (Maybe it’s not just kids, but that’s a story for another time).

Anyway, after several weeks of this early morning panic, frantic running up and down the stairs, sometimes accompanied by tears, I decided to figure out a solution.  Frontal lobotomy came quickly to mind, but too messy.  I was looking for an elegant solution that was more about a change in thinking than a set of punitive consequences or another of “Dad’s rules”.

Then I remembered the story of the “Good Habit Rabbit”.

Once upon a time there was a colony of rabbits who had dug their dens in an open meadow, where they could easily forage for tender young grasses.  During the early morning and evening hours all the rabbits would be out feeding.  This wasalso the meal time for Mr. Fox as well, who loved tender young rabbits.

While most of the young rabbits were eagerly eating and playing, one very peculiar young rabbit would spend a few moments eating, then quickly dart back to his hole, only to come out again, go to another part of the meadow, begin eating, then dart back to his hole again.  This went on at each feeding time.

All the other young rabbits thought he was stupid to be wasting so much time running around back and forth when he should be eating and playing with the others.  His reason for this “unreasonable” behaviour when asked was:  “I know Mr. Fox is out there somewhere and if and when an attack comes I want to have my escape route so well memorized that I can quickly get back to my den from anywhere in the meadow without really thinking about it.  It will be easy,  just like a habit.”

The other young rabbits laughed at all this wasted time building a silly habit, until one day, several foxes attacked at once.  There was instant pandemonium with little rabbits rushing too and fro, squealing and frantically trying to find the safety of their dens.  The “Good Habit Rabbit” was one of the few survivors that day!

So, at dinner one evening I told the story of the Good Habit Rabbit, then we talked about a single place for her mobile phone, her canteen card and her iPod.  We set up a special area in her room for these where they were to be put first thing when she came home from school.  It worked.  We are now working on building a “Good Habit Rabbit” set of behaviours for other things as well.

By the way, it’s also a good management and leadership technique for being effective and efficient during those days that are packed with meetings and other executive duties.  Think about the value of becoming a “Good Habit Rabbit”!

Some of mine are:  summarizing my notes at the end of every meeting rather than relying on my memory (after a full day of back to back meetings I can’t keep all the details or my agreements straight), keeping a daily log of things I learned or need to think more about, and even some simple ones like a specific place in my briefcase for Passport, car keys, wallet, security card, etc.  Just a set of good habits to make life run a little smoother.

“Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”
― Samuel Smiles

Written and Posted by: John R. Childress

Senior Executive Advisor on Leadership, Culture and Strategy Execution Issues,
Business Author and Advisor to CEOs
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid

Website: www.johnrchildress.com

e: john@johnrchildress.com
Twitter @bizjrchildress

Read John’s blog,

On Amazon: LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture

Read  The Economist review of LEVERAGE
Also on Amazon:   FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution

John also writes thriller novels!

About johnrchildress

John Childress is currently Visiting Professor in Strategy and Culture at IE Business School in Madrid and a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
This entry was posted in Human Psychology, John R Childress, Life Skills, Organization Behavior, parenting, Personal Development, Psychology, Self-improvement and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Good Habit Rabbit: Again

  1. Love the story John

    Like

  2. Excellent story. I’m usually quite well organised but I could definitely do with being a better Good Habit Rabbit to break some of my less positive habits. Thanks for posting this 🙂

    Like

  3. I’m wondering if you would like to come to my home and assist in teaching my rabbits some good habits?

    Like

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