Where You Need to Look to Change Your Life
There’s something to the idea that most of the ways we perceive, judge and interpret situations happen beneath our consciousness. This has been captured in the psychological research around automatic processing and more recently in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink. However, here’s the issue, in order to make the interpretation of the present, the mind reaches back to past experiences that could hold old models that are no longer supportive to your health and well-being.
As a kid you may have learned that throwing a tantrum made people cave in to your demands and get your way. As an adult you may still get what you want, but in the process you alienate and push people away. As a kid you may have learned that conforming to the “cool crowd” and picking on other people gained you favor and acceptance and now it breeds a sense of dis-ease and guilt. Perhaps you heard the messages that boys don’t cry or good girls don’t get angry and now holding in those feelings only serves to make you rigid and repressed.
One of the points I’m attempting to make in my new book The Now Effect (Atria Books, 2011), is that there are many spaces in life that we miss because our minds have an inclination toward automaticity. In these spaces lie clarity and the opportunity to choose a different response.
So there’s a space between a moment when you don’t get your way and the reaction of the temper tantrum. There’s a moment between when you walk into the office and you get started on the 100 emails waiting for you, there’s a space between a tear getting triggered and the decision to keep it in. These spaces are filled with opportunity and possibility to make adaptive changes that can change your life.
However, in order to become aware of this space we need to intentionally dive into noticing them more in our days and even creating them. This doesn’t need to be a rigid system that doesn’t fit, but instead can be a playful adventuring into the moments of your life.
Allow this post to prime you to be more aware of the spaces that are occurring all around and I’ll be sure to let you know when the book comes out so you can go deeper.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.