Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Either/or ... and?

Everyone has bad habits. From nail biting to cracking knuckles - we all have those things we know we shouldn't do but we often find ourselves doing without realising it. Generally bad habits are classified as physical actions. Leaving the toilet seat up, picking your nose, and interrupting are all quite obvious to those around us. But there is another way we can form bad habits.

Our brains generally have a mind of their own. Sounds funny, I know, but it's entirely true. If you've ever tried meditation you'll understand what I mean. Our brains tend to think even when we don't try. It's sort of like how your tongue will poke a sore tooth in your mouth, despite your best efforts. Of course, if you pay attention to it, you can stop your tongue from poking around and causing unnecessary pain. The same goes for your thoughts.

A lot of what we think and how we think becomes habitual. Our upbringing, schooling and experiences will all determine how we think and sometimes our thought patterns can form habits which might not be the most healthy for us. A great example is the either/or mentality, something which I have a lot of experience with.

I'm an energetic and creative soul and sometimes my enthusiasm hits an 'all or nothing' block. For example, I recently decided to make a SteamPunk themed costume for Hallowe'en. When it comes to making costumes I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I hold high standards for what I'm going to make and I want the end result to be what I deem 'perfect'.

As I began working on this costume I realised that the time and money restraints on me meant that I probably couldn't do it exactly as I'd imagined. Right away my 'either/or' thoughts kick in and I think it means I either make the costume, or I don't. But when I'm paying attention I can change that thought pattern. Instead I can remind myself that I'm capable of making a really good costume in a less complicated and time consuming way. I can also make a costume that will grow and change over time. I can do it in different ways.

So the ray gun which I imagined could only be made by gathering together some pipe, wood and cogs could be made using a simple water gun spray painted brass with a little winding key stuck into it. It still looks really good and will fit nicely with my costume - even if it's not what I first pictured.

One of my favourite things about life is the opportunities we're given to surprise ourselves. When we surprise ourselves by changing the way we think the result can be really incredible.

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