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November 29th, 2018
Who are you when you are tired?
Who are you when you are exhausted?
Who are you when you’ve finished hiking for 12 hours?
Who are you after a cup of coffee?
Who are you in the morning after a heavy night of drinking?
Who are you after 5 successive days of abundant sleep, consistent exercise, and healthy food?
All these situations evoke different personalities from us. Though we seem to be the same person - the same body walking around and being subjected to these things, the state of consciousness and the probability that we will treat others well varies drastically depending on the situation.
That last one sounds great. 5 successive days of abundant sleep, exercise and healthy food. But what percentage of people that we encounter during the day even come close to this kind of regiment? It’s quite possible the answer is none.
Most of us have fallen victim to habits formed from trying to patch up these losses in energy. We drink loads of caffeine in the morning and then throughout the day, being totally oblivious to the fact that caffeine has a 12 hour half life. Meaning if you have a cup of coffee at 3pm, then half of the caffeine in that cup will still be working it’s magic at 3am. No wonder sleep wasn’t all that restful and when the next morning comes, more coffee seems to be the answer, when in reality it added to the problem.
These simple mistakes that snowball into habitual behaviors have a strong influence on who we are. Regardless of the debate surrounding free will, few people would argue that it’s simply easier to be a nicer version of ourselves when we’re well rested, and that the probability of saying something regretful when exhausted is quite a bit higher in comparison. While it is possible to make a better mindful choice when our past self has conspired to make things difficult for us by being stingy with all the things that give us energy, it’s silly not to try and make the better choice a bit easier.
Strangely, the path to reversing such bad habitual behaviors is not easy. It’s a paradox that getting to a better energy level where things feel easier begins with decisions and behavior that is so difficult.
But this paradox presents a kind of compass. Whatever we are afraid to give up, whatever we are too lazy to do, whatever we crave… All of these things point us in certain directions and the paradox is realizing that we should march in the opposite direction to many of these urges.