Habit is the strongest agent in men’s interactions with the world and each other. Just as an object continues in motion unless acted upon by a force, so does a man continue in his way.
Example application: If you want to be a leader, inure your subjects to following your commands. Be patient in dominating another person’s will; start with small favors. Change their attitude little by little, such that they conform to the new reality before making another change.
Ethically speaking, I believe it is evil to subvert a person’s will like this. I don’t have a good reason to believe that (and good reason not to), but I’m an irrational person so I can get away with it :-). I consider myself more of a white hat hacker.
I created this principle in response to an event at the Alpha Game blog. The average post had approximately 25 comments until the post asking for anonymous demographic information- which had more than 200 comments. Having made their first comment, many readers continued to comment on other new posts. The average comment count has yet to converge, but it appears to be between 50 and 80.
I suspect habit is strongly related to self-identification and other ego processes.