Everything we learn in our lives is replaceable. The thoughts, the habits, the way of communicating, the understanding, your beliefs, your bed sheets, your girlfriend’s broken iPhone, and even – might actually cost you less than getting her a new iPhone – your girlfriend, I mean, people. Everything. You would agree with that, right?
The same holds true for your thoughts. With a little bit of effort, you could start changing the current wiring of your brain and steer your life to a more positive state of being. Build new habits. Form new beliefs. But just as you can condition yourself for better things, you can also program yourself for increased negativity. And I have been a witness to both conditions of people close to me, and even myself included.
You may or may not be aware that your brain has a capacity, and when this capacity is filled up with all kinds of ideas, unlearning and learning could be a process hard to tough out. It’s not that easy to change the direction of where you are going and turn left when you’ve been sailing to the right all your life.
The human inertia is critically powerful. You will struggle. But let me ask you a question. If you already struggle, do you think a little bit of struggle for the better is not worth it?
Perhaps, you are feeling where I am going with this. But if you are still not sure, bear with me for a little longer as we are about to dive deeper.
The Plastic Surgeon and His Ferrari
Let’s imagine that you have a prestigious job. Let’s say you are a famous, handsome, fearless and a brilliant plastic surgeon. You are not, but let’s imagine that for a minute. You love driving around in your Ferrari, wearing costumes that cost two-three thousand dollars.
When you are not at work, you spend your time hunting down women. Sometimes maybe in your office in your 25,000 square feet mansion overlooking the ocean. But you are a workaholic, and you love your job. So most of the time you spend in nipping and tucking the bodies and faces of random people. After all, that’s what you do to have the life you have.
When it comes down to plastic surgeons, you are number one, with a big thriving business. You have a great team. You have everything, you know everything.
Some time passes. Let’s say ten years. You’ve been working hard expanding your business and making connections. But as the years rolled on, your health and quality of life have been affected by the constant rush for more and you are in front of a mental breakdown. You are stuck. An indication that you have reached your limits, both mentally and physically.
I haven’t seen you for the past ten years. But today, I came to visit you at your royal palace. You didn’t expect me to come, so you are mildly surprised. You see my smiley face, that I am in shape, and that, despite my bald head, I look good, calm, and confident. But your facial expression, your body, they are not as they used to be ten years ago. It tells me you are exhausted. That you are unwell.
You and I are sitting at a table in your kitchen. We are not, but let’s imagine we are for a minute. I am sitting on one side of the table and you are sitting on the opposite side, against me. And each one of us has got a glass in front of us. It’s a metaphor I am using to convey my point.
If it’s hard for you to imagine it, that’s how it would look like:
You are the sad dude on the right where it says “you”, okay? Don’t try to swap with me just because you are a sad face. You will understand why in a minute. Besides that, why would you when you have a Ferrari?
So what’s the difference between me and you? I am bald, you have hair. You got a full glass, and mine is half-empty. Although you got a full glass and mine is half-empty, I seem to be content with my half-empty glass. Not perfect, let’s not be delusional, but content. And you? Well, it looks like your life is not that exciting anymore.
I reach out for the jug of water and I start pouring water as I fill up the rest of my cup. Then, I reach out for your cup, and I start pouring in it too. But your cup is already full. And it begins to overflow. And it’s now dripping all over the place. Your place. Your 25,000 square feet mansion.
We are at your house, remember? You’ve invited me for lunch and for some little-known reason I am serving the drinks as your maid took a vacation. But your cup runneth over so you freak out and tell me to stop. So I stop.
Basically, your mind, like this glass, when full of your ideas, how can you pour in anything if you don’t empty it first and make room for the new to enter your life? Well, you simply can’t. And in order to change the direction of where you are going, you have to make a sincere effort and cut out everything that does not seem to make you feel good about your life, business or relationships.
The modern world is taking too much of our psychological resources because there are too many things to care about, although most of them don’t matter. If you are more successful or are an expert in your field, you are less likely to be open to new ideas and accept different viewpoints because you are losing yourself in the pool of pre-existing beliefs and ideas occupying your mind.
Our brains are not designed to make us happy. In fact, they are wired to be against us. Scientists have known that for years. So, if you are burned out, if you don’t feel well, if you want to make a change, if you want to start writing a different life-story, you have to wipe the black board clean and then start actively noticing new things. Or in other words, start all over.