In this blog post, I won’t be talking about how to deal with annoying people. That will be the subject of several other posts. Here, I will be talking about the things that we commonly do to ourselves against all common sense that make our lives worse. In particular, I am referring to our thought patterns and how we act on them.
Your brain is wired to help you survive. By default, it will eagerly tell you tales of how you might become homeless very soon or get struck by lightning. But your mind also wants to feel permanently comforted and satisfied. If you think about this long enough and you’ll soon realize that nature has artfully crafted your life into the perfect practical joke. Your brain will always be irrational in what it picks to think about and how it feels about those things. It’s your job to notice this and re-direct your thinking.
A multi-billion dollar personal growth industry has been built around the goal of teaching you how to craft a high-quality life using something that resists working in your interest. Here, I will attempt to distill some of its wisdom for you.
- Time flies when you’re having fun, but it disappears entirely when you’re living in the past. Situations can last forever in your head, but only in your head. Once again, the easiest way to pull yourself back into the present is through action.
- Anger and resentment can last forever. These kinds of emotions are particularly irrational because the situation has likely passed, and the problem is yours. Internalize the fact that it only affects you. Ask yourself how you want to feel. Think about what you’ve gained or how you’ve improved and focus on how you feel. You deserve to feel good.
- The right situation will force away any toxic behavior, object, or person. Let’s take someone that believes he can never control his spending behavior. When he is down to his last few dollars, chances are, he will miraculously have the ability to spend intelligently.
The same is true with procrastination, unhealthy eating, and relationships. What situation can you create or put yourself into that will force you to change your focus to eliminate self-defeating thoughts or behaviors? Do that and repeat it as often as necessary.
- If you have trouble letting someone or something go, it doesn’t go away by planning on letting it go. What role did those things fill for you? Was it love, excitement, or the feeling that you matter? Whatever the case is, identify your need and fill your life with other things. Exercise is great for this because you feel powerful- physically and mentally. You also need to create purpose and meaning in other ways through some kind of action. What can you get excited about? How can you make someone’s day brighter?
- Imagine that your life is a game. Stress can often force you to make irrational decisions, like procrastination. Shut out the world right now and imagine that your life is a big game. What if you were a player controlling this body that you have through its life? What would you do with it? What if nothing was really a big deal? Try holding this perspective until you actually finish the thing you are putting off.
- You can actually develop desires for things on demand. If you hate vegetables, you won’t anymore if you eat them enough. This does not apply to everything, but when something is right for you, a part of you feels it. Rewiring your desires is just about connecting to this part of you and growing that connection.