The Best Way to Change Your Life: Getting Unstuck

July 29, 2019

There are lots of reasons to consider the human mind is unfathomable, beginning with simple evidence like the thousands of psychology books on the market and the years of training required to become a licensed psychiatrist. But it is possible to create huge changes in how your mind is working, here and now, that do not require in-depth knowledge.

Instead, all that is needed is the habit of watching yourself.  Life is about action and reaction. Very complex and tangled influences may be at work—and almost certainly are—but they mostly remain undercover. What we experience is action and reaction, which leads to each person’s unique pattern of behaving.

Looking at your behavior on the scale of months and years, or even days and weeks, is impossible, because everyone has thousands of thoughts that lead to thousands of actions and reactions. But it is very different, and much easier, to simply look at what happens next. If you look at your next reaction to anything—an incident at work, a phone call, your child running in with a scraped knee—the same thing happens next: you do something based on the past.

You possess a backlog, a virtual library, of memories that imprinted how you acted and reacted. Some people are more predictable than others in how they act and react—a frontline soldier confronts very limited options compared with a philosopher. But everyone consults a library of set responses when the next thing happens.

If these set responses work out reasonably well, most people are satisfied. They react and move on. But if you take a moment to observe your next reaction, some disturbing clues emerge about what is actually going on inside you. These observations include the following:

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