The Older I Get, The More I Realize How Little I Actually Know…
Don’t be alarmed, I have my wits. So let me explain what I mean.
LIKE IT WAS JUST YESTERDAY
This story, I am sure you’ll like because there’s ice cream in it; and, who doesn’t like a story with ice cream?
Many years ago, I had a live-in girlfriend who loved strawberry ice cream. Me, I am a vanilla and chocolate guy. To compromise our in-home dessert choices and wanting to be a considerate boyfriend, I would buy Neopolitan ice cream.
Now when I say considerate, I am saying that I am that guy who doesn’t like his food to touch. So having the strawberry neatly placed between my two flavors was a challenge for me; but, I persevered and took one for the team.
Time passed and the relationship came to an end; and no, it wasn’t because of the ice cream. I don’t know for sure why we broke up (who really does?); but to be honest, I’d rather blame our breakup on the ice cream instead of me being the problem.
MY MOMENT OF “A-HA!”
Weeks went by, yet I was still buying the Neopolitan ice cream and throwing away the strawberry. (Hypnotized by habit, I was still buying something that I didn’t enjoy).
One day while pouring the melted strawberry leftovers down the kitchen sink, I realized that I was involved in some mental struggle because I allowed someone to plant a seed in the garden of my mind; and, I had neglected to pull it up by the roots and in its place, plant something of my choosing.
As it happens quite frequently, one a-ha moment leads to a series of connected thoughts. Most importantly, what else did I do based on seeds planted in my mind by my environment that I automatically accepted but don’t serve me well? It was a mind-boggling list, to say the least.
I won’t bore you with the total list; and, after all of these years, I am still discovering some well-hidden ones. I mean there were things in there like how I cook my food, dietary habits, political, and religious beliefs. I am sure you can think of a few of your own.
I WAS WHO I WAS TOLD I WAS
But here’s the paradigm shift for me. My basic understanding of my identity was given to and accepted by me. Think about it, my name, my age, my identity was given to me along with expectations of how I would live my life.
Then there’s the cultural stuff. This incessant need to succeed and how I define success are based on someone else’s idea of what success is. How I define beauty is based on others’ ideas planted in my mind as well.
If you watch the news, you are informed and take for gospel what’s going on in the world without truly knowing yourself. We see this played out daily. The sun doesn’t set or rise and water does boil when you watch it. I am sure you catch my meaning with this.
Familial stereotypes dictate how we determine a person’s value before ever meeting them. We hear the sound of their voice and notice height, weight, or any number of physical characteristics and automatically assign a label to them. Fact is, there is little we experience. We live inside our minds judging the world based on seeds planted there.
While I don’t believe that they were maliciously placed, these seeds have and continue to cause damage, division, prejudices, and hate.
PLATO’S CAVE ANALOGY MODIFIED
To prove a point, here’s a simple example I’ve used on previous coaching clients who were having difficulty finding their place in the world. I presented a red apple and asked them to define the flavor. Each person gave me a flavor profile without taking one bite of the apple. Pretty simple to define if you’ve eaten an apple before.
I would then place a blindfold over their eyes (sensory deprivation) and give them a sip of water and other fruit that they had to describe. I would then give them a slice of the red apple. They would obviously describe it as such but the difference was, they had to experience tasting it first before the mind told them what it was.
As children, we were given labels of many things without actually experiencing them. In the case of the apple, we were told what it is and what it tastes like. The first time we tried it, there was an expectation based on what we were told.
NECKWARE — THE COMPUTER BETWEEN YOUR EARS
You see, in our minds exists this tremendous database of information. It stores every experience we’ve had, either first or second-hand. First-hand is knowledge from experience. Second-hand is an assumption based on what you were told (seeds planted).
Like a computer, your brain has RAM or Random Access Memory = quick data search and delivery. And, ROM or Read Only Memory = longer stored data. The mind wants to operate at peak efficiency and usually does. In the case of the apple, it told the client what it was and what it taste like to alleviate them from having to go through the experience of taste and then registering and restoring that data.
The downside is that we lose the moment-to-moment experience of allowing our taste buds, in this instance, to send a sweet message to our brains and taste the apple with our tongues.
Where ROM comes into play is when you can’t seem to remember the name of that song whose tune has been playing in your head, then out of nowhere the title hits you. That’s the storage-retrieval process. In this instance, you’ve allowed the brain to search your entire database and it sends that message like a bolt of lightning — the name of that tune.
As we are constantly bombarded with data, we need to be careful of what we are allowing in. And, you know very well the amount of bullshit floating around in the atmosphere.
YOU DON’T “KNOW” MUCH EITHER
Imagine for a moment that most of the information that you were given is generally misleading; or, I will call it as I see it — downright lying to you.
Imagine that daily, you take in this misleading information as truth and you live your life by it, then wonder why something just doesn’t sit well with you? Your bullshit detector is blaring loud and clear. But, you tend to ignore it.
The problem persists because this “information” is passed down from generation to generation.
For instance, no one really knows what year this is. No one really knows how long this planet has been in existence. No one really knows the origin of mankind and in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.
I can say now with confidence that I don’t know as much as I thought I did and it’s ok. I’d rather say I don’t know or I’ve not had that experience as opposed to making shit up and trying to sound less like a dumb-ass when in reality I am a dumb-ass about some things. It’s cool.
MOMENTS OF BLISS
It took some work getting to this place but I can tell you this for certain, I have such inner peace because of it. I experience a new day every day because no moment is like the other. I have a deeper respect and relationship with others because I can see the beauty in them without prejudice and judgment.
And, guess what? The universe reflects not what I expect but the wonder and ecstasy of its creation. Now imagine seeing the world today different than yesterday. It’s easy.
1. Start small and take a different route to your well-traveled destination.
2. Go for a drive to nowhere in particular and just observe what you see. I am certain you will notice new things that have been there for some time.
3. Try a new cuisine.
4. Have a sincere conversation with a stranger and be genuinely interested in who they are without judgment.
5. Try to have a new experience daily or a different approach to an old experience.
Well, that’s it. Thank you for allowing me to share my perspective with you today.
Now get out there and show the world how awesome you are!
Live More, Love More, Laugh More, and Be a Blessing to Someone Else.
Care to take a deep look at your thoughts on love, life, and success”? JAH, the Executive “Bizologist”. Author, Speaker, Motivator, Practitioner of Peace, and Profound Lover of Life has authored a complete, self-discovery work detailing practical ways of how to take back control of your life and have the success you know you deserve, titled “You’ve Lost Your Damn Mind!”.