The Power of Habit

by

Charles Duhigg

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Power of Habit can help.
Tony Dungy is a highly successful American football coach who turned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts into two of the NFL’s winningest teams. His secret was to make his players practice a few key formations over and over again, until they were automatic. This taught them to act faster and more decisively than their opponents. Dungy’s strategy shows how good habits are the key to successful teams and that the Golden Rule of habit change is the best way to develop them. However, it also shows why people have to truly believe in themselves in order to build new habits. For years, Dungy’s teams repeatedly lost key playoff games because they overthought their strategies, instead of following the routines Dungy taught them. But after Dungy’s son committed suicide, his players started to believe more sincerely in his methods and coasting to victory in the playoffs.

Tony Dungy Quotes in The Power of Habit

The The Power of Habit quotes below are all either spoken by Tony Dungy or refer to Tony Dungy . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Power of Habit published in 2014.
Chapter 3 Quotes

His coaching strategy embodied an axiom, a Golden Rule of habit change that study after study has shown is among the most powerful tools for creating change. Dungy recognized that you can never truly extinguish bad habits.
Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.
That’s the rule: If you use the same cue, and provide the same reward, you can shift the routine and change the habit. Almost any behavior can be transformed if the cue and reward stay the same.

Related Characters: Charles Duhigg (speaker), Tony Dungy
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Power of Habit LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Power of Habit PDF

Tony Dungy Character Timeline in The Power of Habit

The timeline below shows where the character Tony Dungy appears in The Power of Habit. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: The Golden Rule of Habit Change: Why Transformation Occurs
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
Habit Change and Personal Growth  Theme Icon
Social Habits and Cultural Influence Theme Icon
Tony Dungy, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach, feels hopeful during the closing minutes of a game... (full context)
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
Social Habits and Cultural Influence Theme Icon
...Diego, the Buccaneers get into formation. Rather than teaching them hundreds of different formations, coach Dungy only taught them a few—he wanted his players to act so automatically that they would... (full context)
Habit Change and Personal Growth  Theme Icon
After becoming the Buccaneers’ head coach, Tony Dungy made the team repeatedly practice their most important moves until those moves were automatic. He... (full context)
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
Habit Change and Personal Growth  Theme Icon
Social Habits and Cultural Influence Theme Icon
...straight. But they also fell apart in high-stakes playoff games—at key moments, the players abandoned Dungy’s method and went back to their old ways. Dungy got fired—and the next year, the... (full context)
Habit Change and Personal Growth  Theme Icon
Social Habits and Cultural Influence Theme Icon
After leaving the Buccaneers, Tony Dungy moved to the Indianapolis Colts. He used the same techniques, and the Colts followed the... (full context)
Habit Change and Personal Growth  Theme Icon
Social Habits and Cultural Influence Theme Icon
...they started overthinking things in the first half, and they fell far behind. At halftime, Dungy reminded them to stick to their habits. They did, and they pulled ahead. In the... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Power of a Crisis: How Leaders Create Habits Through Accident and Design
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
Social Habits and Cultural Influence Theme Icon
...some people ultimate authority over others. To do this, they have to do what Tony Dungy and Howard Schultz did: take advantage of a crisis. (full context)