“To stop fooling yourself, start fooling yourself”.This looks like a Zen Koan. But if we get what it means it makes our life work better.
The Trap: “Someday” we want to do everything we really want to do in life.
- To read a long pending book
- To start exercising
- To learn a musical instrument
- To start swimming
- To write article
- To meet friends
- To go on that world class diet plan …etc.
These and many such plans we plan to start from “Tomorrow” or from “someday” and that day never comes. Does that mean we are not really committed to these things?…NO. Does that mean we lack Willpower?…NO. Then what’s the root cause?
Life happens in an impulse. In present (this very moment) we take stands and decisions in an impulse. For eg. To start reading books (may be one per week), We buy a new table lamp,a new book stand, and a few new books or join a library. Tomorrow when it’s time to read the book as planned, we end up watching a TV show or spend time on FaceBook which again happens in an impulse. When it’s time to delay gratification we usually succumb to temptation compromising on our inspired future. This is exactly why we have jogging shoes, we have a musical instrument, we have new journals, swimming suits which we never or hardly use. The impulse with which we brought it is not the same at the time it was supposed to be used. Then we go back to become the same person(who had that positive impluse) but only to repent and feel low about our self for not keeping our promise with our self.
What’s the way out?
Let’s do a small exercise. Sit relaxed closing your eyes and just imagine a BIG BLACK MONKEY dancing with headphones on ears. (Do it NOW). Open your eyes , hope you could imagine a monkey and its dance. Now close your eyes again. This time don’t imagine a BIG BLACK MONKEY dancing with headphones. Close your eyes and remeber not to imagine “MONKEY”…done?… What??? You could still see the Monkey? But you were not to see it. The only way to get rid of this monkey is to FOOL your mind. You have to trick yourself to get the results you want to get. Try closing your eyes again and imagine “ A WHITE ELEPHANT “ running towards you. When you open your eyes you will be amazed to realize that there was no dancing monkey this time. How can we use this self tricking to get what we want? Continuing the same example of reading books, the best way to carry that impulse of reading is to disconnect your TV for certain duration thus not allowing the ‘impulse to watch TV’ sabotage your intentions. The choice of STOPPING one impulse to carry-on with the one you want comes from “Thinking about the Thinking”. Its your “CHOICE POINT”. Creating an environment that favors what you really want. Some ways of tricking your mind is by disabling your internet for certain duration using various new applications, making close friendships with daily joggers who will pull you from your bed, catch a fruit seller who just dumps good fruits at your home every day, disconnecting TV, locking yourself in some programs/trainings which will give no scope for temptations. People who get things done, who get what they want, do not have more willpower or more commitment. They just trick themselves; they think about their thinking at every “choice point”. The cola companies and the fast food giants have always been brainwashing us , we just need to counter brainwash our self with what we really want. So next time when you think about going to a shop to get a fast-food packet fool yourself by first empting the fruit try in your refrigerator. Spend your efforts in over-smarting yourself instead of making empty promises. Fool yourself to stop fooling yourself. …alittleBIGthing 🙂