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October 12th, 2018
In the game of emotions and thinking, how we react to the short game is our long term strategy.
If we become enraged or depressed because of some mistake or failure, then chances are very good that we will experience much rage or depression throughout the course of the long game. Mistakes and failures cannot be mitigated. They are an unavoidable and a necessary part of the feedback we get from reality.
Our short game for such feedback compounds and eventually comprises our long game.
If we can replace rage and depression with calmness and curiosity, not only will the long game be more enjoyable, but without the stunting distractions of negative emotions, we can move along more efficiently, therefore faster and eventually cover far more ground.
Practicing calmness and curiosity as the chief short game strategy eventually creates a new default that can self-perpetuate into the long term and inevitably dictate the outcome of our long game strategy.
Just as a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, long game might be a general direction, but short game is the mechanics of each and every step, and how we react to them.
The gift of difference between emotions and thinking is inherent in the fact that emotion is primarily a function of short game. Emotions do not last. They have little endurance and short half-lives. And while some emotions seem to perpetuate for a long time due to habitual thinking, they are riddled with cracks and gaps where we have an opportunity to introduce new thinking that can alter the habitual thinking responsible for emotions that appear perpetual and unending.
We seek some kind of emotional experience that will forever alter who we are and how we feel, but chances are good this is a fool’s errand. We are concentrated on some external force to change us. What has a greater chance of working is seeking new concepts and thoughts that can in turn have an increasingly larger sway on the way we feel. The radical potential of a new thought is not limited to whatever dynamics such a new thought might have inside the brain with our emotional centers. A new thought can initiate new behaviors that then have a round-about effect on our emotional make up. Like going through a secret back door.
An easy example is exercise. For the overwhelming majority of people, spiking the heart rate for a little while has a huge impact on the way we feel. The idea that exercise could have this effect leads to the behavior of exercise which in turn impacts the emotions.
Meditation is another example. Studies seem unified on the statistic that positive results from daily meditation do not being to bloom until the 3rd or 4th month of meditation, so such a practice has to be initiated from a purely intellectual standpoint.
Such an enterprise shows just how many ties there are between short game and long game. The individual who begins to meditate with the long term aim of achieving greater abilities for calmness in moments of stress is playing a long game with the aim of playing a better short game, which in turn comprises an even longer long game.
Short game might become long game, but it requires a long game perspective to know how we should edit our short game.
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