What is your oldest memory?
How old were you?
In 1964, my family moved into a new home on Staten Island. Very soon after we moved in, my Mother took me to Staten Island Academy. They had a day care or summer care camp for children.
To this day, I still remember everything about that first day at Staten Island Academy.
I remember screaming-crying as my mother tried to pull away from me to leave. I remember holding on to her for dear life as some older woman was pulling me off and away from my Mom. I remember standing around the outside playground area crying as other kids swarmed around me, curiously looking at the new crying kid on the block.
I shared this memory with my Mom some years ago, before she passed away. My Mom somewhat shocked. She said that memory was burned into her brain because she felt so guilty having to leave me with the day care facility. She also said there was no way I could remember that day because I was far too young.
How young was I? I asked my Mom.
She said I was about to turn three years old.
Three years old!
Good or bad, certain childhood experiences become permanently imprinted in your brain because of something Behavioral Scientists refer to as the Primacy Effect.
According to this Primacy Effect, first impressions are likely to carry more weight than other memories.
We remember early, emotional events in our childhood even into our very adult years.
We remember first best friends, first teachers, first vacations, first swimming lessons, first base hits, first kiss, first fight, first broken bones, etc.
When it comes to habits, the habits we forge in our childhood, due to this Primacy Effect, stick with us into adulthood.
- If you were raised in a family with good or bad money habits, those money habits follow you into adulthood.
- If you were raised in a family where alcohol consumption habits were commonplace, those habits will follow you into adulthood.
- If you were raised in a family where parents fought with each other, you will fight with your spouse as an adult.
- If you were raised in a family where everyone worked hard to get what they wanted, you will work hard as an adult, in order to get what you want.
- If you were raised in an optimistic/pessimistic family, that optimism/pessimism will become part of your adult personality.
This Primacy Effect is why some habits are so hard to change – they may have been imprinted into your brain at a very young age.
And this Primacy Effect is also why many habits are invisible to you – they’ve been with you so long, you aren’t even aware you have them, until someone like me forces you to confront them.
Without awareness, habit change is impossible. You can’t change a habit if you don’t even know it exists.
But once you become aware of your bad habits, change is possible, even probable.
If you know how.
That’s why I wrote Change Your Habits Change Your Life. Included in that book is the latest in habit change science.
Rich Habits, Rich Kids, Rich Habits Poor Habits and my latest book, Effort-Less Wealth, teaches you What habits to change.
Change Your Habits Change Your Life, teaches you How.
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