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We all have them. Sometimes they are just sweet idiosyncrasies that add flavor. Sometimes they are annoying habits that own you. Ultimately you are in charge of your decisions and you don't have to cave in to your automatic pilot.

Take a minute and think about a few of the people you know. It's likely that each of them have strong characteristics that define them. It is also likely that none of those characteristics were chosen by them. They just showed up, like a current in the ocean just off the beach that can rip the unsuspecting swimmer out to sea in a moment.

We label some tendencies good and others bad. This is determined largely by who benefits from them. If you tend to be a hard worker, your parents will encourage it, as will your teachers, your employers, and probably even your friends. It's a great tendency, right? If it gets in someone's way it will be given a different label, like 'Workaholic.' Now it's not so good. Behind many characteristics like this are tendencies that aren't really good or bad. It just depends on how they influence a situation.

Whatever your tendencies are, they are just tools in your tool kit. Maybe you tend to use one tool more than the rest because it's more familiar or more comfortable. Maybe you even use it when you shouldn't. If you have a really nice, big hammer, it's probably best not to use it for installing windows. Save it for something more appropriate where it can really shine.

So, don't run on automatic pilot if you can avoid it. Make a conscious decision every moment about what you will do. Don't let yourself be swept out to sea in the invisible tide of your tendencies. Harness them and use them as strengths where they belong. Lock them in the dungeon if it looks like they might cause trouble. You can choose your own way.

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