Years of psychological research suggests that we are not living life to the full. This research concludes that we go through the motions of daily life, using the faculties of automaticity (to enable us perform almost everything mindlessly), categorization (so that we can pigeonhole every new experience or person that we meet and, in the process, experience nothing new) and recognition (the mental process whereby we try to make sense of what our senses are telling us by using our own “stored knowledge” the greater part of which is decades out of date). We “live life” on auto pilot – and I don’t call that living at all.
In fact, the normal adult, in using these normal, standard mental capabilities, is slowly sucking the life out of themselves every single day of their so-called lives. This slow and mind-numbingly “not-too-bad” self-destruction started in childhood when we were told to conform, to sit up straight, to stop making noise, to stop doing the things that we enjoyed, to stop letting out minds wander and to steer well clear of any fanciful ideas for our future – we needed to get a good education, get a good job, retire and die! As children, our spontaneity, our joie de vivre, our unbridled imagination ruled our lives. These were the things that created the excitement, made life fun and that made long sunny summer holiday days seem to go on for ever. As children – up to the age of eleven or twelve – we were in what the University of Chicago describes as “flow” – we were what our youngest daughter would call “gurdy”. As young children, our lives were carefree, open to all kind of possibilities, exciting and adventurous.
Contrast that with the normal everyday life of the average normal adult! How many of us can truly say that we leap out of bed bursting with excitement every morning? How many of us can say that we live carefree lives? How many of us are fully open to all life’s wonderful possibilities? You may well say that we have to grow up – but, I’m pretty sure that the record (years of psychological research) shows that people grow older – they rarely grow up. Because if you did bother to grow up, you’d be able to control your state of mind. You could choose to be fun-loving, carefree, spontaneous, turned on and open-minded. You could decide to leap out of bed, bowled over at the prospect of the day ahead. You could choose to be open-minded and alert to all life’s wonderful possibilities.
Unfortunately, though, the progression through adolescence changed the electrical activity in our brains. As our network of neural connections reached “fully adult operational” – our mental processes sped up and our logical processes took over. Or at least that’s what the normal person thinks! However, there’s nothing logical about worry – akin to wishing the worst for yourself! There’s certainly nothing logical about stress – obvious when you consider that stress only exists in the mind of the sufferer – we make ourselves stressed. And, believe you me, there’s nothing logical about closing your eyes to today’s opportunities – but if you’re pigeonholing everything that happens before you even experience what’s going on, you will simply never notice the opportunities that are staring you in the face.
This how we behave as adults – our normal subconscious minds living in and longing for those sunny summer holiday days – our conscious minds distracted by the cares and worries of what might happen – instead of focusing, fully focusing as we did as children, on the here and now. We’re slowly killing ourselves – the normal adult, existing in this half-life of useless thought and worry is as good as dead.
But it can be completely different and the great news is that you’re the one who decides – you do not need anyone’s permission or approval. Your life is entirely in your own hands. It is you who can decide to become like a little child again – not childish, but clear, focused, open-minded, fun loving, up for life’s great adventure. It’s entirely up to you to choose your state of mind – didn’t you know that you choose your own thoughts and that your thoughts become things. It is you who can decide to come to your senses – revisit reality by seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling and tasting. Yes, this is how we experienced the wonder of the moment as children. We didn’t make up our minds on what we were experiencing based on the “stored knowledge” of preconceived notions and so-called logical thought patterns – we jumped in, splashed around – we simply let ourselves go.
You’ve got to let go too – of all the crap that’s in your head. You’ve got to come to your senses – see, feel, hear, smell and taste what’s really happening. Break the chain-reaction of normal adult recognition, experience what’s really going on. Today, right now, when you finish reading this article, stop to “smell the roses” and you will have taken the most important action for today – you’ll have taken a definitive step towards living life to the full, in the here and now, where it’s meant to be lived.
Copyright (c) 2010 Willie Horton
Willie Horton enables his clients live their dream – since he launched his acclaimed Personal Development Seminars in 1996. His clients include major corporations: Pfizer, Deloitte, Nestle, Wyeth, KPMG, G4S & Allergan. An Irishman, he lives in the French Alps and travels the world as a much sought after speaker and mentor. In 2008 he launched Gurdy.Net home to his Online Personal Development Seminars, Change Your Life & No More Stress