Ran across one of the best ever explanations of why assumptions make us look like crazy people and how assumptions are a quick and efficient tool to land us in a lifestyle we did not choose while lying to us about how we got there by making us believe make-believe things. For the not-smart in the audience, this is bad. We do want to chose our own life, we do want to know which decisions to make to get there, and we absolutely want to be grounded in reality because its that which makes the things we want obtainable.
For elucidation's sake, I've slightly re-worked the original in more easily digestible terms, and editorialized where appropriate. You're welcome.
When we assume we're right (about anything), we greatly increase our chances of losing everything we treasure. There are two kind of assumptions to be aware of, as both are equally destructive. These are direct assumptions, and indirect assumptions.
A direct assumption is something believed to be true even if it is not real or doesn't exist. There is another group of people we identify as believing in things disconnected from reality - crazy people. Crazy people believe all sorts of imaginary stuff. Even so, why is believing in something that's not real bad? Because the person who assumes the thought is true responds emotionally based on the thoughts. Here's a fun recap: Emotionally responding to something that does not exist makes one appear crazy. For the record, no one wants to be around crazy people. Crazy people are scary because no one knows what will set the crazy person off, or what the crazy person will do next. So rule number one - deconstruct all direct assumptions.
Indirect assumptions originate from an outside source; second-hand information we assume to be true (probably because we trust the source). Second hand information however, is usually inaccurate; wrong. Despite second-hand information being wrong, not-smart people believe it anyway. The reason second hand information is rarely accurate is because in conversations, people tend to hear only the parts that are most relevant to their emotional needs at that moment, and when they relay it to others, it’s entirely out of context, and only contains the information that they felt at the time. In short, nonsense. Fun recap: Its not healthy to believe nonsense. That's something crazy people do.
Thankfully all this crazy-talk can be offset with a proven litmus test of success - happiness. No, its not some sort of witchcraft, hoodoo or that voodoo you do as much as it is a choice. And that's where the one of the best ever explanations on happiness as a choice has greatly helped me understand the grievous error in the dichotomous person's broken brain:
Happiness is a choice. But it’s not one choice that you make. This is where people get confused. They think they can wish or think themselves to happiness by one choice, like a magic button or the right lottery ticket. One choice and they win! Well, life doesn’t work that way, just like the gym doesn’t work that way. One lift will not make you strong. One workout will not make you fit. One PR will not make you accomplished. And one good job will not make your kids love you, or your partner stay, or the dog come home. Happiness is a hundred choices. A thousand choices. A million choices. All day long. Every day. Every week. Every year of your life.
I understand that this could be challenging and uncomfortable for some people. I am often seeking new challenges of my own for personal growth. You cannot have growth without it. Life begins at the end of our comfort zone. We grow and adapt mostly because we have to - environmental challenges, emotional discomfort - we learn the tools necessary to deal and then move on to the next one. Those who withdraw from that discomfort or attempt to regulate the actions of others retard themselves by offloading that responsibility - they never learn to deal with the easy stuff and therefore are ill-equipped to even identify the more difficult challenges. Exactly HOW does choosing our response to every situation, every person, and everything. put us on track for happiness, or despair?
Specific thoughts elicit related feelings, which in turn influence our overall disposition and our propensity towards behaviors. So our thoughts create our stance within and towards our world and consequently our experience of the world—change your thoughts and you change your world. Now this doesn’t seem so new-agey… I take it that we all want more happiness, satisfaction and abundance in our lives, and if changing the way we think helps to bring that about, that’s something attainable over time.
For those who think the soft-science of psychology is the devil, maybe they'll believe hard psychoneuroimmunology?
Lastly, I saw my younger self in much of 7 Shortcuts You Will Regret Taking in Life and now see these same things in those who should know better by now. I suppose I should be thankful that I'm smart enough to acknowledge my shortcomings rather than getting offended by everything everyone has ever said, ever, in the history of the spoken word. I imagine that to be rather exhausting.
- Stop getting offended.
- Don't be a crazy person.
- Be happy.