Now and Then
The trick about making a positive change for yourself, about yourself, is that it sets off a lot of warning bells in your mind. It’s kind of like fixing a boat that is sailing across the ocean: there will be plenty of people on the boat screaming, “If it ain’t sinking, leave it alone.” There’s that constant threat of whatever you might do to improve the boat making it worse, and sinking it in the cold and unforgiving ocean, to be forgotten like so many lost souls of history.
The brain has a bias to over-value the current situation, and fear the unknown. Let’s get back on that boat in the middle of the ocean. It’s international waters so we can gamble. Gambling is one of those activities that, if you play long enough, you are going to lose. The casinos, even in international water, aren’t going to let you play if they aren’t going to win–over time. But casinos seem fun. People are engaged in the activity, there are lights, drinks, and scantily clad women. It seems like the thing to do, especially with so many other people doing it. That’s when the bias to over-value the current situation kicks in.
We think we can have a bit of fun now, because we don’t know when we might get this chance again. Why save our money, or put it to work in an annuity, or invest in our future, when we can have fun now? Over-valuing the current situation may well condemn your future. We do it with our finances, the food we eat, and the exercise, or lack thereof, each and every day.
So how do we break out of that mindset? How do we fix what we are built to do naturally?
The greatest successes come from an impassioned dedication to an art, craft, or duty for which the practice is the reward you seek. Caring for your family because you care about them. Walking because you enjoy the movement and the time outside. Making music because you love music.
Passionate practice gives us an opportunity to do something we enjoy, that can help our brain get some needed exercise, and may even offer our body some exercise as well, if your passion happens to be physical. But if it’s playing the ukulele, then by all means do that.
Even something as simple as walking like you mean it can be done with passionately, and lead to greater things. It’s something you can do now, and it invests in your future.
Succeeding In Spite of Your Willingness to Fail
Our psyche is very wary of danger, and the embarrassment of failure can be devastating, so our minds will often predetermine that something is too difficult, so it will be okay to fail. So how do we assuage those fears to give us the best chance to succeed?
You must take the time to assure yourself that you are trying something you care about, and that it will help your future. I mean you literally have to think those very words, and then thank yourself afterwards for giving yourself the chance to try it.
Giving to Others. Loving Yourself
Sharing your time and talents may be the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself, and demonstrates how much you care about yourself. You can’t expect others to love you or care for you if you don’t love yourself or take care of yourself.
It’s like those pay-it-forward commercials in which people help the blind guy, hold open a door, or pick up trash from the sidewalk. Chipping in and helping the village take care of business connects us with the community. You deserve to live in a place with people that do just something like that, and the best way to make it happen is to do it for yourself first of all.
Enthusiam and The “Law of Attraction”
The difference between the internal compelling enthusiasm and the external expression of enthusiastic action that others may notice. People are inspired by enthusiasm. It’s contagious, and a big part of the joy of living.
We humans developed the ability to notice dangerous situations and recognize suspicious characters who might do us harm. We also enjoy the ability to immediately trust people who seem like-minded and sincerely interested in our well being.
That’s the great payoff for being positive, showing enthusiasm, and doing something you are passionate about — people that share that passion will be attracted to you, and will want to talk to you. Your circle of friends will grow because you do what you enjoy, and do it with enthusiasm.
Build Your Brain Muscle
Our intelligence is not limited to a certain genetic allotment, or even to a particular area. Quite the contrary, we can develop and improve our ability to think, the speed at which we think, and explore new areas of intelligence, including the ability to learn. If you have a sincere interest, and pursue a passionate practice, you can strengthen your ability to think.
It’s possible I’m delusional, but I am convinced that since I began practicing music (currently playing the ukulele) and exercising regularly, and eating primarily whole foods, and taking supplements like fish oil, my brain works better and I think more clearly.
If this is crazy, I don’t want to be sane.