Some day scientists will isolate the part of the brain that thinks it’s fun to ignore the very sensible, practical things that everyone tells you.
You know — the rebellious part of the brain whose job it is to release joyful chemicals when you’re doing something that goes against all common sense and advice to the contrary. And they’ll probably give it a really cool name.
I have to say, I get a big crazy rush when this part of my brain takes over. It doesn’t happen that often but when it does, wheeeeee!
There are two ways this kind of decision can play out.
One is disastrously.
While I was teaching in Germany this summer, I managed to carve out some time for an old friend of mine there. He’s going through some intense heartbroken misery right now, so that was pretty much all we talked about.
Anyone who’s ever been dumped and can’t figure out why knows how truly awful this is, and my friend has got it bad. It’s a serious case of the broken hearted blues.
And it’s been going on since February, which is a loooong time.
Anyway, it was obvious that he was a mess. And so, after we’d talked about it and processed for a few hours, I had to ask, “Honey, what are you doing to treat it?”
It’s that truckload of criticism again. Criticism — the unasked-for kind that’s chock full of hurtful judgments — is no fun, to say the least.
That’s not exactly news.
But aside from the unpleasantness of it all, the experience of being criticised makes everything else harder. And then, oh boy, let the second-guessing begin.
So you’re going about your business of living your life and just doing your thing. And all of a sudden you’re in a bad mood.
Bang! Just like that, the whole world is miserable and annoying. How’d that happen?
There’s nothing like a case of phone call dread. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about general “I
have no time” stuff or even about your average low-grade procrastination avoidance situation. Also assuming this isn’t about some peculiar phone phobia of yours that kicks in whenever you have to push buttons or something.
This is when you’re dealing with one specific sticky and uncomfortable interaction that you just don’t want anything to do with. For whatever reason, this one is loaded.
Hey! The way you’re trying to motivate yourself: totally not working.
We all know the “hey, look, I’m not doing that thing I said I’d do” feeling pretty well. And yeah, it’s not fun. When that sinking feeling shows up, you start looking for something that you think will “motivate” you. Something to push you harder so you can get in gear and get that thing done already.
Unfortunately, you (and by you I mean probably you but really, uh, me and everyone else I know) tend to choose ways to motivate yourself that aren’t very good for you. Even worse, it might sorta kinda feel like they work, so you keep using them.
No, really, don’t make me leave my comfort zone! For some reason, all sorts of people seem determined to push you out of where you’re comfortable to where you’re …. well … uncomfortable. Which is bizarre enough that it’s worthwhile to find out why.
Just so you know, I personally have zero patience with the whole “you have to leave your comfort zone if you want to make changes” thing. Not just because it’s a tired cliche of the “think out of the box” sort. Not just because it’s an annoying self-help-ey trend. But because it’s a seriously bad idea.
Ow, make my patterns stop hurting! There’s this semi-creepy deja vu thing that starts happening when one of your patterns kicks in. You know when it’s happening when you catch yourself thinking, “Again?!” Or “Oh boy, here we go again … ” Or, “I can’t believe this is happening again!”
In fact, the worst thing about doing something you wish you weren’t is that sinking feeling of again-ness. Here we *are* again. Again!
But I just don’t have time! There is this weird and yet totally understandable thing that happens to people (and by people I mean: me and everyone I know). It happens when you find yourself in deep procrastination avoidance, in deep freak-out mode, or both.
Here’s what it’s like: You remember this really good technique. You know it works. You remember that using it makes everything better every time. And yet … exactly. You’re not using it. And you’re not going to. Why? Because you don’t have the time! (Insert fist-shaking and groaning as necessary).
A friend of mine recently closed his yoga studio and went back to wearing a suit to work. (I mean, is that every yogi’s nightmare or what?) He said something about financial stresses and taking care of his family, but I can’t help thinking about something else that happened a while back.