Tag Archives: change

Do things happen for a reason?

Do things happen for a reason? Or do things simply happen, and we do our best to assign a reason to them automatically. Looking backwards, the path always looks clear.

The later is what many professionals/ scientists believe, and I’ll agree with them for now.

Remember my roach story? Well, the very next day I decided to browse Craigslist to see if there was anything else available, after that less than ideal experience. There was. I found exactly what I was looking for. I found something that I wasn’t able to find during the previous month of searching everyday. And I stumbled upon it only 3 hours after it was posted to Craigslist. Coincidence? Most likely. Or, like they say, when one door closes another door opens.

I went to check it out the very next day, and it was as good as it sounded. I moved in a week later, and I’m now typing this up from my new room. As bad as the roach experience was, it was definitely worth it since it led up to this.

That’s how most things in life are though. If you put in the honest effort, hard work & grueling hours, things are in your favor to turn out well. That’s why people at the top recommend putting in the work & the hours. You can’t control what will happen, or what won’t happen, but you can control your effort. And sometimes your effort is just enough to tilt the odds in your favor.

The good kind of brainwashing

For most people, the word brainwashing carries a negative connotation. That makes sense, since in most cases people are getting brainwashed to do something that is not in their best interest.

Ads and television commercials come to mind. We got thoroughly brainwashed into thinking that soda and fast food are good for our daily diet (many are still brainwashed into thinking this).

Dessert is okay with every meal, and ice cream is supposed to be eaten on hot summer days.

We need material possessions to complete us, and to become happy.

It’s totally the government’s fault (not yours or mine).

What else can you think of?

On the other hand, there’s the positive type of brainwashing, and there is a good kind of brainwashing. That’s when it’s working in your favor. I’ve been practicing this kind of brainwashing on myself for close to three years now.

What does it look like?

Well, it entails reading, listening and watching (YouTube) videos of people waaaaay smarter than me. Constantly, and all the time. Even re-watching and listening to people that have nearly the same point of views (think Gary Vaynerchuk and Tai Lopez).

To some, it might get boring and repetitive. You might even think that you got it after reading it the first time. That is, definitely, not the case though. If you did get it, then you would be doing it. Are you doing that habit you read about today? The habit Seth Godin talked about, or the one mentioned in Tim Ferriss‘s new book? If the answer is no, then you didn’t get it.

I realized, just how I got brainwashed into thinking that fast food for every meal was okay for many years of my life, I needed to brainwash myself into implementing positive life habits. Reading, exercising, eating healthy, practicing gratitude, being social, pushing myself and working hard.

I can, definitely, say that some of the brainwashing is beginning to work. I’m far from my potential but I can see some of the brainwashing doing its job (I still need more).

Ask yourself, what kind of brainwashing are you taking part in? Is it in your best interest or against you? Because, you are being brainwashed whether you want to admit it or not. We all are.

A practical way to overcome fear

There is a good practical way to overcome fear that I read about in Social by Matthew D. Lieberman. That practical way is called affect labeling. The idea of affect labeling is that you describe the feelings that you are feeling when presented with a particular image, task or challenge that is causing you anxiety or fear.

“Putting our feelings into words can be tremendously cathartic and is the basis for the various psychological therapies. But it turns out that putting our feelings into words or simply being able to label them can regulate our emotions and promote our mental and physical well-being without our realizing it at all.” -Matthew D. Lieberman

Somehow labeling the emotions that we are feeling produces a sort of self-control. This self-control decreases the fear response that we are experiencing. Here is exactly how the study was done to provide positive support for affect labeling.

“To get a sense of how counterintuitive affect labeling effects are, imagine you have a severe fear of spiders and you have gone to get treatment for your phobia. The therapist is going to put you through one of three kinds of treatment regimens. She describes the three versions and lets you choose. The first is a standard type of exposure therapy, which involves repeatedly seeing a real tarantula two feet away in its cage. The second is a reappraisal treatment, which also has repeated exposures to a real tarantula, but each time the spider is presented, you will be asked to generate a reappraisal such as ‘Looking at the little spider isn’t actually dangerous for me.’ The third option is an affect labeling treatment, which again involves the repeated exposures, but this time while generating affect label-based statements such as ‘I feel anxious that the disgusting tarantula will jump on me.’ Which kind of therapy do you think would help you learn to approach the spider with less fear? Katharina Kircanski, Michelle Craske, and I ran exactly this test with spider phobics, and we found that affect labeling helped the most and that the more negative the participants’ labels were, the better the final results (pg.220).” -Matthew D. Lieberman

This is a practical way to overcome fear that doesn’t seem too difficult to test out. Are there any challenges in your life that you want to overcome right now? Is there anything that you feel you have an irrational fear of? That can be anything from quitting your job, starting your own business, asking for a raise, making an investment, buying a house or going up to that girl at the bar. It can be difficult to overcome fear, but the rewards are usually great if you manage to figure it out. Regardless of your specific case, your fear can potentially be decreased by using the affect labeling tactics described above.

The easiest way to implement these ideas is to pull out your phone and type out the feelings that you are currently feeling, when you think about quitting your job or starting your own business. Remember that the more negative the labels are, the better the results will be. To me that simply means to make sure that you are truly being honest, with yourself, on how you are feeling. After trying affect labeling multiple times you might begin to notice that your fear is not as great as it initially was.

Why is our mind always focused on the future?

I have noticed that my mind is always focused on the future. Does this happen to you as well? As I go throughout my day doing cool things or doing regular things, I always seem to be looking forward to something I’ll be doing in a few hours. Or maybe I’ll be thinking of something I’m really looking forward to doing at the end of the week.

Lately, I have really noticed this ‘issue’ since my schedule has been really packed with important things. It’s slightly annoying because I would like to just remain present to the moment. I don’t understand why the mind is always focused on the future. I think this is a clear sign that I really need to start implementing meditation into my daily routine. More specifically my morning routine, even if it’s only 5 minuets per morning.

I feel like it’s a waste of life to be going through life always focused on what you are about to do next. After all, what if you never make it to the end of the day, week or month. What if that specific moment is your last moment and you end up wasting it thinking of a moment you will never reach. Being focused on the future takes away from your enjoyment of the now and present moment.

Tomorrow, you should pay attention to what thoughts are running through your mind. Are you focused on the present moment? Are you focused on the future? If your mind is focused on the future maybe you should be looking into meditation as well. I’ll let you know if my implementation of meditation sticks!