“People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes.”Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow
In the past changing location was a necessity. We had to follow the food and be creative in order to survive. Now, technology has made the basic necessities easily accessible, everything is becoming automated. Personally, I love technology, it opens up new opportunities for innovation and allows people to do more creative work. But, somewhere along the way we have come to fear change.
The mind is the captain and the body is the ship. The captain directs the ship and the ship feels the ocean. The captain can not stop a wave from pushing the ship off course. There must be a captain and ship in order to get to a specific destination. This is the analogy I came up with that mirrors Jonathan Haidt’s rider (thoughts) and elephant (feelings) in his book the Happiness Hypothesis.
Thoughts and feelings both can help you change. The best way to change is to change your environment.
Thought can only be a past or future happening. We can think in the moment, but not of the moment.
The past is everything that has happened up to this moment. Depression is thought of the past — what has happened.
The future is all the possibilities that could happen after this moment. Anxiety is thought of the future — what could happen.
Feeling is the now, the moment. We have 5 senses: taste, touch, sight, sound, smell. The senses combined create feelings. The moment is non-existent because once we think of the moment it is the past. We think in the moment, but we can not think of the moment. Moment is the word we use to describe something that does not exist. In this non-existent moment everything exists (funny how the world works). The universe is a gigantic paradox.
It’s funny, there are self-help guru’s preaching of “be in the moment,” “return to the moment.” What I find funny, is the moment never left, there is only one moment (the non-existent where everything exists moment) and it is the one you are currently feeling. Lets talk briefly about how to return to the moment that never left. Start by asking questions and raising awareness. The mind likes to overthink, and to control the chatter is to ask questions: how do I feel? where do I feel this feeling (heart, head, stomach)? what is the cause of how I am feeling? First you must become aware of the problem. Once you become aware of the problem, you can change.
The cool part about us bipedal hairless apes is our thoughts create feelings, and vice versa. Thoughts are in the mind, and feelings are in the body. There can not be one without the other. How you think determines how you feel, and how you feel determines how you think. You can come at change from either direction.
When I was at home in my parents basement I wanted to travel. I would think about travel day and night until eventually I had intense feelings. What would have been quicker is if I would have just started traveling and not think about it, I was getting in my own way. I visualized myself in another state, tasting different foods, talking to different people. Feelings of fear got in the way, and prolonged me from taking the first step.
Routines are made when the same sensory inputs are repeated. The best way to change a routine is to change your environment. You need a whole new set of sensory input. If you sit there and think about changing your environment you will eventually get there, but it will take a lot longer then just changing the environment (i.e. thinking about traveling instead of traveling).
Fear is the inhibitor of action. It is an intense feeling that gets in the way of change and growth. Our monkey mind starts to go wild when it feels fear triggered be unfamiliarity. Fear is the signpost telling you where to go. Eventually the monkey calms down and the unfamiliar becomes familiar. Another change is needed to grow. If you stay in the familiar for to long it will become unhealthy. Thus starting the cycle again — change is the only constant.
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