Why is practicing gratitude wise even when everything is going well? So that we know how to express our gratitude for everything when it's most challenging.
Why is it recommended that meditation be a daily practice? So that we can maintain our equanimity through turbulent times when we need it the most.
I've meditated every day for the past 16 months yet on Saturday I almost broke my streak. Thankfully I remembered to meditate five minutes before bed. It's easy for me to meditate when things are good.
But the question I had to ask myself and the question I ask you, can you do what’s best for yourself even when it’s most difficult to do so?
Installing an Algorithm
Computers (and LOTS of other things) run on algorithms.
If this happens, then this action is taken.
Imagine a thermostat: If the thermostat is set to warm to 66 degrees and the temperature falls below that, then the heat will kick in.
But humans can also benefit from algorithms. Wouldn't it be nice to add the level of consistency and automation that a computer has to our own lives? Yes! Luckily we have our own supercomputer, our brains! We just have to follow a couple steps to have it work in our favor.
There are two main things that have to happen in order for an algorithm to work properly. Back to our thermostat:
1. The algorithm had to be written properly. The code had to be clearly written that if the thermostat is set to maintain a certain temperature and the temperature falls below that, then the heat is activated.
2. The thermostat follows its written instructions 100% of the time. Imagine it's cold in your house and you realize the thermostat isn’t working. "What gives? Why aren't you heating the house?" Your thermostat retorts, "I don't feel like it."
Luckily our thermostats can't experience the same follies we're prone to or we'd be spending time arguing with inanimate objects. Or should I say more time arguing with inanimate objects?
Which brings us to: what algorithms shall we write for ourselves? Which algorithms will best ensure that we act the way we want to when a certain IF circumstance comes our way? In the context of maintaining helpful practices amidst uncertainty, I want to share an algorithm I previously created.
If I don't feel like practicing gratitude or meditating, then I do that thing immediately or prioritize it in my day.
Most days I look forward to meditating, I meditate early in the day. But some days I don't feel like meditating. I push it to later in the day.
What we push away is typically what we need most.
Have you ever really needed someone's support and as soon as they offer it, you ignore them? It works the same with healthy practices. Have you ever skipped a week's worth of workouts when exercise is actually what you most needed to break out of a funk?
We have a tendency to self-sabotage, to make things harder on ourselves when we can least afford to. That's why we need a tool to combat our tendencies. That's why we need algorithms.
If you’ve read up until this point, I thank you. I hope that at least one idea above has resonated with you. Beyond that I hope you reflect on what resonated and take action because of it. Growth and moving towards what we most want in this life comes through action.
So without further adieu...
What are you pushing away at this moment?
Some of us, whether through choice or matter of circumstance, have found ourselves with more free time than we’re accustomed to. We’re in newfound territory. Though we wouldn't want it this way, some of us now have the time we've dreamt for, “If the World were to just pause for a week, I could...read that book I’ve been meaning to, write that letter I’ve been wanting to, spend a full day playing games with my child.”
We’re not a victim of our circumstance but rather a creator of our lives and how we spend our time. How are you going to create what you want in your life today?
Write an algorithm. Then take action.
If ____________________________________, then ___________________________________.
Let’s make the most of what is.
Sending love to you and yours,