FOR HUFFINGTON POST
It’s taken me three years to discover American Author, David Wong’s brutal article listing harsh truths to become a better person. We are what we do regardless of how we think and treat other people. Sometimes it’s important to understand the mechanics of our actions and look at ourselves scientifically.
Our brain is wired to find routine in our actions; it looks for repetitions so that it can ignore them and focus on what we are doing at the time – in the same way that our eyes ignore what is in our peripheral vision. Our brain has to do less work as a result and can control the flow of chemicals that make us feel uncomfortable, or have to adapt. This often leads to inaction. We become comfortable with routine and automatically defend ourselves from making life-changing decisions. It’s a subconscious reaction and we are proficient in finding excuses for our inaction.
As the article expresses, we have to consciously do the work. We have to put the effort in and betray our brains for our own good. We are the architects of our own destiny but it takes courage, and believing we possess that courage is essential.
We all have individual needs, as society has needs, and the two are entwined – we receive what we give. It is a gambler’s fallacy to believe that we are owed good fortune because of the suffering we’ve endured. We can’t wait for the good things to happen we have to make them happen.
What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? If the answer is uncertain, it’s important to create the answer because that’s what will define you. It’s never too late, no matter what excuses your brain finds. We all have the ability to be good at something: learning a language, writing a book, we can change careers or even build something.
Repetition is important. Whatever new skill you try, you will eventually become good at, and master the craft. The first steps are always the hardest; our brain fights the cause, which is the reason so many New Year resolutions are abandoned by February. However, if you enjoy what you become good at as routine, your brain will also accept that routine and you’ll be comfortable doing it. You can recreate yourself, build a future, contribute to society’s needs and be the person you can admire in ten years’ time.
Most importantly, don’t let anybody stop you or discourage you. Just because you are stepping out of your comfort zone it doesn’t mean you force others out of theirs. There’s a common misconception about empathy. Many people put you in their position and think of what they would do in your situation instead of putting themselves in your position and thinking about what you should do. There is an important difference and that softens the line between cynicism and encouragement. It’s important to have faith in your own actions because you can achieve any goals with passion.
This is why, as the new year approaches, it’s important that we reflect on the aspects of our lives that make us happy. Then use that as a foundation to build our identity in the years ahead. We won’t remember the time we spend at the desk at work or cooking and cleaning at home. We remember the holidays, the day trips, the concerts, the meals out and picnics in the park. What is good for our soul is often what takes us out of routine; what we give to society is often what we benefit from.
So let’s use the new year to get good at something and identify what we enjoy doing. Design our lives in a way that we can look back and admire ourselves and be proud of what we contribute to the world. We can all get good at something; we can all scribe our signatures to the history of our little slice of time, even if it’s to our local community.
I wish you all a happy and exciting 2016.