Yes, I attempted to make the title sound like ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ so, staying on that theme, let me share another philosophical nugget: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again whilst expecting a different result.”
But what-on-earth has insanity (and un-sanity) got to do with broken shopping trolleys???
When you go to your local superstore you occasionally get a trolley that has a wheel with a life of its own. No matter how hard you push it forward it veers off in a different direction. You aim it for the meat counter: you end up ramming the cereal shelves.
Maybe you can relate in your own life: you aim for a particular experience of success, head for a particular goal and yet time and time again you veer off course and screech to a halt just before you end up with egg all over your face (well, this is my supermarket metaphor!).
Do you ever wonder: Why do I DOthat?
Why do I procrastinate; waste time obsessing about getting it perfect; spend money foolishly instead of saving or investing towards our goal – and a thousand other ways of passing the time instead of staying focused.
Lacking a real answer we just grit our teeth, re-fix our eyes on our goals and try again. Perhaps we buy a new personal development program which we think will ‘fix’ the problem.
Now I’m not biting the hand that feeds me. I feel privileged to be in a generation that has created so many amazing tools for getting unstuck. I use the best ones myself with clients as a professional effectiveness coach.
But doing the same thing again and again gets frustrating and, at some point, we realise we’ve been ‘spinning our wheels’ so the obvious answer arises: we must change our mind-set so we can stay true to our intended course.
But here you find a problem.
Because our mental makeup (which consists of maps/models/schemata and constructs of the world) exists mostly above (out of) consciousness we quite literally do not know why we do what we do. And because we don’t know, we can’t change it. So we repeat our patterns.
This I call ‘Broken Shopping Trolley’.
You will also have found that our minds tend to confuse our beliefs about the world around us with the world itself. This causes UN-sanity or the UN-SOUND MIND.
What do I mean?
Have you heard the saying: “the map is not the territory?” or perhaps “the menu is not the meal”.
When you go to a restaurant you don’t start eating the cardboard, do you? You don’t read the words ‘chocolate ice-cream’ and assume that words ARE the cream, the coco and the ice. If you did, your stomach would soon start to let you know you were wrong!
You know that the words refer to reality but ARE NOT reality themselves. This is brought home even more if the menu has writing in another language.
We then refer to this map for guidance. However, we often indulge in a mental process known as IDENTIFICATION when we erroneously come to believe that our beliefs about the world actually ARE the way the world IS.
If you take a step back and think about this, logically, it is not possible for the processes of thinking (believing, valuing, emoting) to BE the things they describe.
Why all this talk of maps and menu’s?
Look, if you had a Sat-Nav and it led you to a dead end where you expected a through road, you would consider it time to update the software, would you not? You wouldn’t scream at the road and insist it should be like the map. (Or maybe you would.) In any case, the map is obviously wrong.
Yet when it comes to our own ‘mapping software’, we tend to have amnesia for the fact that if we are not getting the results we want it could be that our map needs updating.
Despite the fact that there are six billion people on the planet with their own unique experience of the world, we MUST be right!!!
This is the start of committing UN-Sanity.
Un-sanity is believing that a thing ‘is what it is’ rather than the word existing as a referent to that thing. And when a process in your mind (like believing) gets turns into a belief which feels like a thing. And THINGS are hard to change.
For example, when admiring a flower we insist that the ‘rose IS red’ (of course it IS, are you stupid?’) when actually it seems red to us because that shade references our memories of red-coloured items. I have given up answering my wife when she asks me: What colour is this? (grin)
The reason I’ve written so much at length about this is that unless you get the fact that your ‘map’ of the world (which consists of beliefs) needs constant updating, and is fallible, you are condemning yourself to a life of slow stagnation and failure.
Because the longer you go on with an out-of-date set of beliefs about ‘how things are’, the more irrelevant your thinking will become.
Do you still use Word 98?
I currently use the beta of Office Professional 2010 and most of what I learned from Windows 98 onwards has helped me. But if I insisted that Word 98 was the Holy Grail and nothing beyond it was worth my time, I’d miss out on some great new features.
This is what I call a rolling update and it’s often essential for success.
Now, I’m not arguing that new is always better. For example, I think the virtues of love, integrity and generosity will never go out of fashion.
But I urge you to think about the above. Is your thinking in need of an update?
If you recognise that it is but you are feeling ‘stuck’ you have several choices:
You could get a book like Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy or if you like something revolutionary, get Frame Games. Both of these books have instructions about tracking back to thoughts that drive your behaviour although the second one is more recent.
You could book a free ‘explore your breakthrough session’ with a Meta-Coach like me. Meta-Coaches work at higher levels of the mind to create pervasive change in everyday behaviour.
The most important thing is to learn that whatever you think a thing is, it isn’t. As T.K. Harv Ecker said: The most important step you can take towards enlightenment is this: don’t believe a thought you think.”
Before long you will find, like Neo in the Matrix, that “There is no spoon.” Of course – there is no shopping trolley either. And this is the start of a sound mind.