Last night I planned to get to bed at 10pm so I could wake up early for a productive day. Instead I took my phone to bed, opened every app 5 times, read every notification, and then aimlessly scrolled Facebook until after midnight, at which point
I got really pissed off at myself and put my mental foot down- no more scrolling.
And then I scrolled for 20 more minutes,
even though my eyes were watering with tiredness and the frustration of having wasted so much time on meaningless drivel written by friends whose names I don’t recognise.
There was part of me that sat through the whole experience saying STOP. Stop now. Quick, while there are no notifications, get the phone away from you. Lock it! Just lock it! But then the other part of me said no, just one more scroll.
This brings me to my new favourite word- akrasia – the tendency to act against one’s better judgement.
What the hell is this?!
We all seem to have this going on – our mind splits itself into two and has a chat, good cop bad cop. Go to bed! Don’t go to bed, stay up, it’s fun. No, go to bed, you’ll feel better tomorrow…..
It’s like we’re a mad person, having a conversation in our heads. The mad homeless dudes shouting out the inner workings of our mind are only announcing what they hear in their head – we’re just as mad, in fact maybe madder, because we’re pretending it’s not happening!
But it is, you know what I’m talking about.
You don’t see animals doing things against their instinct.
They sleep when they know they need to sleep, they don’t stay up playing with the stick even when they’re too exhausted to keep their eyes open.
This is the part I find most intriguing.
Animals don’t have a mind. They have instinct to survive and seek out pleasure, but no real planning voice in their head.
When birds migrate across the world we call it instinct and leave it at that, but it’s a complete mystery how they know where the hell they’re going!
I reckon we all have access to that same level of instinct, that same wise intelligence that knows more than the mind could ever map out, that wisdom that some people clearly tap into, and others clearly don’t.
What separates us from the deeper intelligence of what we really need in our life (from going to bed earlier to what direction our life should take), is our mind.
Our mind is the bad cop, leading us astray, causing us to do things we don’t feel right about- akrasiacly.
(not a word, I know), against our better judgement.
Mostly I’m able to do this, now that I’ve learnt some seriously ninja mindfulness skills, but sometimes I give in and let my bad cop mind take over. He makes me weep tears out of the side of one eye trying to hold it open so I can watch just one. more. boxer puppy video.
It’s bloody ridiculous I tell you.
When we learn to tame our mind and watch what he’s up to, we can start to act more in line with our instinct, and our better judgement, our more intelligent self.
It the only thing that can lead us to our “true self”.
Even if that phrase makes you want to throw shoes at me (I feel that way just writing it).
If you’re looking for your sense of self, purpose, or direction, as most of my 1-1 and group coaching clients are, and you can’t seem to find it, let me give you a hint that took me a truck load of years to figure out:
It’s not a case of finding your “Self”, but rather unearthing yourself beneath the mind chatter.
I’ll teach you how.