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If we wish to change the person we find ourselves to be, we must change our thinking.
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October 11th, 2018
Being a weather reporter is humorously referred to as either the easiest job, or the hardest job, both for the same reason: it’s so difficult to predict the weather accurately. Of course with advances in technology, the job is becoming more accurate.
How many of us treat the quality of our own days in much the same way that we view the weather?
How strange and potentially wonderful would it be to turn on the news and see that the weather reporter has turned into a weather dictator: an authority who dictates what the weather will be. How powerful would such a person become? This weather dictator could easily become like a god who we try to placate in order to ensure that we get the sort of weather that we want. Couples would spend thousands to ensure sunny weddings, farmers would dedicate huge portions of their crop to guarantee rain.
Unlike current weather reporters who are bound by an external weather that is only partly predictable, each of us has the ability to turn into a weather dictator for the ups and downs, the lows and highs of our own life.
While the pessimistic and jaded might think it ineffective and probably ridiculous, it’s a curiously powerful exercise to wake up in the morning declare that the day will be a magnificent one.
The jaded pessimists somehow always overlook the self-fulfilling properties of any given outlook, particularly their own.
Jaded pessimism only has the smallest chances of being cracked by unusually good external events. And even such events are subject to being labelled as a whim of fate. Such jaded pessimists might feel empowered by the reliability of such perspectives, claiming that no expectations and no hopes guarantees no disappointment, but always fail to see that such a claim is still a perspective that is focused on external events: it is not a perspective that genuinely springs from an internal place for the sake of the person. Making a declaration that the internal weather of one’s self is going to be spectacular, no matter what external events occur has potential reliability far exceeding any degree of jaded pessimism, if only for the fact that it is internally generated. Sticking to such a sunny disposition might be far more difficult, but we must ask why it is so difficult and if attempting such a declarative disposition will always be so difficult. Habitual thinking is a difficult, counter-intuitive thing to change.
In fact, few things are more counter-intuitive than changing one’s thinking since intuition is a description of feeling and much of the way we feel is a function of the way we think. By this description, thinking and feeling seem like two gears perfectly lined up with one another, each spinning the other at exactly the same rate. Or how the heat of the sun is what creates clouds that block it out.
And yet there are still sunny days.
Luckily thinking and feeling, while intimately tied, are not one-for-one mechanisms, and concepts that we encounter in thinking that don’t appear to spark any immediate emotional ramification can end up having deceptively large emotional ramifications. The mismatch between thinking and feeling in this case has to do with the half-life of emotions versus the endurance of a concept. Emotions do not last long. Anger, for example is perhaps the most spectacular emotion, and yet anyone who pauses to think about it would be forced to admit that it’s actually quite hard to stay very angry for any stretch of time. The emotion needs to be continuously fed with mental reminders of the injustice committed or the misfortune rendered.
One of the contributing factors to emotions that seem perpetual, like the lackluster emotions of pessimism or even depression, is that much of thinking is habitual. Like a broken record, many concepts in the brain are on perpetual repeat, which renews any emotion resulting from such a conceptual perspective. At the beginning of each day, the record player is turned back on, and we hear much the same weather report we’ve been hearing for potentially many years. But a change in thinking can change the tune,
and unlike the news, our own personal weather report can create the mental weather we experience.
Instead of passively experiencing the day, we might want to wonder what would happen if we start things off by asking: what kind of weather would you like today?
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