Do you have any bad habits?
Is there anything you do on regularly that makes you cringe or feel guilty right after doing it?
Our habits are actions we consistently perform. They define us. And, that's why is so important to analyze them on a conscious level and eliminate any "bad" habits.
I believe a "bad" habit is something that takes more than it gives. The negative consequences of performing the habit outweigh any positive benefits that it brings your way. And, this definition extends beyond habits.
I believe a relationship that takes more than it gives should similarly be eliminated — a girlfriend who causes you more stress than happiness or a buddy whose incessant whining and shaming is holding you back, for example.
But, I digress. I want to share four particularly bad habits that could kill your confidence and self-esteem, if left unchecked. And, at the end of the day, confidence is everything.
How you feel about yourself and how sure you are about your abilities directly determines how happy you are and how successful you'll be in your career and your relationships.
Here are some things that are probably hurting you more than helping you:
1. Watching pornography
Almost every single one of us men starts masturbating to porn during our teenage years. And, it's no wonder why — it feels amazing.
In fact, so many of us engage in this habit that it's made research on the subject nearly impossible, as there's not enough guys who don't jerk it to porn to use for a control group.
However, the recent rise in popularity of the "no-fap" Internet community has revealed a whole bunch of reasons you should stop.
The main two benefits guys who have stopped are realizing is a decrease in social anxiety and the elimination of erectile dysfunction, whether that means not being able to get it up or climaxing too quickly.
The reasoning behind these negative effects is that when you watch porn, you train your body to get aroused by pixels on a computer screen instead of the touch and feel of a real woman.
And, what are the benefits? I can only think of two: sexual education and the pleasure of an orgasm. But, most men who watch porn have seen enough to have learned their fair share about sexual techniques that quitting shouldn't negate the benefit.
And, you can masturbate without porn to achieve the second. So, is watching other people have sex on a screen really worth it, guys?
2. Engaging in social media
We all engage in social media to some extent. It allows you to stay in contact with distant friends and share what you're up to. But, it's all too easy to tie your sense of self-worth to your social media "game."
What I mean by this is that we're all validation-seeking beings by default. We love recognition. It makes us feel "good" and important. And so, posting a pic of you riding a camel in Africa and receiving 100 likes can fulfill this need.
Now, in the selfie age in which we live, this is a bigger problem with women. But, I see guys doing it, too.
I'm not suggesting you delete your Facebook and Instagram profiles immediately, but rather, manage how much time and effort you dedicate to them. Try to only do the "newsfeed scroll" once a day to help your brain unplug from the social media matrix.
3. Playing video games
Playing video games is a form of escapism. It allows you to escape the real world, even if just for a moment. Whether you're LeBron James in "NBA 2K" or a badass mercenary in "Call of Duty," it can feel damn good to dominate with the controllers.
And, escapist hobbies are good — to an extent. Getting away from the day-to-day grind is healthy in limited doses. It's like a form of mild meditation. But, there's a huge danger of over-consumption, the same as with social media.
You have to draw the line somewhere or you'll risk becoming that guy who ties his own self-worth and sense of achievement to how quickly he can level up his "WoW" character.
You don't want to look forward to playing video games more than you look forward actually doing things and experiencing the world.
Grabbing a beer with buddies, going rock-climbing, hitting the gym or reading a good book aren't things that should take second station to firing up the Xbox.
4. Watching extensive TV
This habit is more-or-less "bad" for the same reasons as playing videos games. Using television shows to escape the world and immerse yourself in an alternate reality is healthy in small doses, but you don't want to be the guy who talks about Hurley from "Lost" like he's your real pal.