If you’re dealing with a loose cannonball person like this, asking them to stop changing their mind is as helpful as telling someone who is feeling hot to dim the sun; or advising someone to hurry up the earth’s spinning if they’re getting bored, or if you have goblin ears telling them to not stick out.
Fat chance of that happening.
Your mind is designed a certain way and your best shot at changing it is if you insert a long, spindly thing through your ear and tinker around. It’s something you’re born with and you have to live with, like an annoying relative. So if you have to live together you might as well try to understand each other.
Every mind is uniquely twisted but when it comes to making decisions they all follow a fairly similar pattern. Weigh the options, list out pros and cons, consult a couple people, read a few reviews along the way, and then finally arrive at a well thought out decision. That’s how it works- minds reason things out and you reach a decision. Except this simple causation theory doesn’t work for a loose cannonball.
The loose cannonball mind will be going about its day, humming a tune and doing its thing. Everything seems just dandy and its gathered all the input it needs and it’s about to make a decision but suddenly everything goes south and it tailspins into a vortex of indecision. Here’s what’s happened: its got hijacked by rogue emotions. Emotions are like the virus that sneaks in at a crucial moment and disables a highly sophisticated software. Emotions disrupt the finely tuned reasoning process and make it malfunction. And once they have free reign they play havoc: jump on a see saw, do as they please, turn you into a human yo-yo and generally make life miserable.
A regular person has it easy when it comes to controlling emotions. They don’t have to wage a daily war with their feelings.
Their reasoning process has a pre-installed anti-virus, which essentially boils down to:
Rationality > Emotions
But for a loose cannonball, things are different:
Emotions > Rationality
Rational thought is based on discrimination and sound judgment. Emotions are based on well, emotions- here today, gone tomorrow. When emotions override rationality, that’s when trouble begins.
So the trick to controlling your mind lies in controlling your emotions. That way you’re not at the mercy of fluctuating feelings. Like all sound advice it’s easier said than done but here are some homegrown remedies to help you on your path to boring-as-bejesus.
DIY kit to build anti-virus for rioting emotions:
- Be conscious of your impulses. Take a break to pause and reflect on your emotions and how you’re dealing with them. Most people feel bad after yelling at someone. So the next time you feel anger bubbling inside, handle it differently instead of lashing out. Research says if you train your brain to identify your emotions it can control them better.
- Channel your inner Oogway.
- Go the Stoic way; those bearded, sphinx-like, outrageously clad philosophers of yore got it astonishingly right all those centuries ago. Their mojo for getting rid of unnecessary drama is one of the few life hacks that works good as new even today. Stoicism teaches you how to keep your mind calm in the middle of chaos. Be calm and love stoicism.
- Stop setting store by everyone and their cat’s opinion. If you really do need help making a decision, rely on a confidante whose opinion you respect. Use them as a sounding board for clearing the fog in your head.
- Tune out. Digital Media is insidious and the folks at the back end grab your eyeballs to get direct, hi-speed access to your thoughts, beliefs, your house address, social situation, your cat’s whiskers and uncle’s drinking problem. Then they use that information to influence you. Subtly. Insidiously. They plant suggestions in your head, make you question your choices and foster a sense of inadequacy in users for self-serving reasons. Don’t look the Basilisk in the eye.
- Channel your excess emotions into creativity.
- Put things in context. Emotional people are the easiest to wound because they respond to stimuli without putting it in context or viewing it objectively. They don’t apply filters so naturally their feelings are sensitive like the hind legs of a housefly. It’s important to not take everything to heart and remember that feedback is not always constructive and vicious criticism is often a symptom of underlying insecurity. So before crying buckets or foaming at the mouth, analyze the source of whatever is upsetting you. And always ignore the trolls.
- Remind yourself that indecision is a waste of time. You spend so much time oscillating between up and down that you never make any progress forward.
In short, be a person in control of yourself. You were not born to run around like a headless chicken.
Which brings us to…
The Part Where We Link This To Travel So It Seems Like A Travel Related Post.
If you think zen is going to be a challenge in daily life what with juggling a million things and working on auto pilot just to get through the day, then you can give it a shot on your travels. Here’s why:
- Travel is the perfect life simulator minus the super-high real life stakes and the constant temptation of falling into your old ways.
- Travel is so soothing, with its many breathless moments and sense of calm that it makes vague and foggy zen practice look like a cinch.
- On the other hand, travel is also a great way to experience the giddy highs and lows that normally send you swinging. It’s not always smooth sailing- there are delays and setbacks and unexpected changes and cancellations. It’s very easy to get frazzled. One minute you’re sunning yourself on a beach. The next minute skies split open and its pouring cats and dogs. Your zen philosophy will help you roll with the punches and not get unduly worked up when things go off track.
The next time you want some excitement in your life don’t tune into your head-y drama, go book a ticket for somewhere.
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