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June 27th, 2019
Those who feel stuck, victimized, down, depressed or as though they are running in circles often also feel trapped in these feelings.
When we are young, our brain is changing at a rate that is sort of uncontrollable. But with adulthood, we come across the notion that the brain has stopped growing and changing and that we are who we find ourselves to be. It’s this mistaken belief that often contributes to that feeling of being trapped for the down and depressed.
‘If only I could change my brain, then I’d be happy, productive and… whatever.’
This is pretty lazy logic, and it’s employed by this mindset as a means of protection. If our mindset has us convinced that change is no longer possible, then the ideas that make up this mindset have guaranteed their longevity. This is like a dictator who has the people convinced that democracy is simply an impossible fantasy.
But there is a simple exercise for the individual that flat out proves this logic wrong, namely the question:
can you remember what happened yesterday?
If the answer is yes, than that is evidence that the brain has changed, even if just a little bit. But this thin edge of the wedge is all one needs. We can use this and apply a sort of Archimedes’ lever of changes as they compound through time.
The mistake comes with our desire and expectation of instant changes, instant gratification. The success of others looks so solid and obvious, but we never see all of the tiny changes and efforts that amounted to this success, we only see our own steady stagnation. Movies do us the further disservice of compressing all the tiny efforts and changes of underdog characters into montages that last seconds, or perhaps a few minutes at most.
The montage is quite literally a contradiction because it demonstrates large amounts of time and concurrent results as nearly instant.
Memory is our weapon against such illusions. And we need not even test ourselves about yesterday. Hold up a number of fingers right now, and then relax. If that number can be remembered even moments later, then the brain has changed.
Now, we need only get thoughtful about what sort of changes we can purposefully implement to change our life and move towards the goals we dream of.
This episode references Episode 21: The Montage is False.
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