A lot of my posts are derived from things that I have witnessed or conversations that I’ve had with people, but this post was inspired by a conversation that I had with my son. The other night he was having fun on his tablet, playing with his Osmo little genius starter kit. If you haven’t heard of it, I recommend it for all of your little geniuses. Well the kit comes with a bunch of moving pieces that interact with a mirror that senses movement as well as shapes. While he was learning, I noticed him gradually getting more and more frustrated. When asked what was wrong he responded that his activity kept messing up and he didn’t understand why.
After a brief look I realized that even though he was working on a flat surface like he was suppose to, the mirror was picking up the patterns on the table. Rather than fixing it, I wanted to test his problem solving skills. I told him to tell me how the game works and he figured out that by putting a blank white piece of paper on top of the table, it won’t register the patterns and the activity worked perfectly for the duration of the day. Ever since, by understanding how it worked, he never had that issue again.
Having that experience with him allowed me to question if that concept will work with everything including our minds. Coming into this New Years, I have heard a lot of new year resolutions and many people have already gone back to their previous lifestyle. Why is that? They have not gained an understanding of what they want to change and without knowing what’s wrong, they didn’t know how to fix it. Let’s take a smoker for instance. Many smokers think that they are addicted to the nicotine so they try the gums, the pens and the patches, which work for a little while but eventually pulls them back to smoking.
Once you understand what you are addicted to then you can fix it in a productive way. Many people are literally just addicted to the motion of putting something to their mouth and taking it away. If that’s the case, try going to the grocery store and buying a case of toothpicks to keep with you. Put them in your car and in your bag that you carry. When you start craving the cigarette, put the toothpick in your mouth. Try using wooden toothpicks. Once they eventually dissolve, throw it away. It will symbolize throwing the cigarette away.
What about somebody who tends to eat way more than they want to but don’t have the self discipline to not fill up the entire plate every time they eat. A way to change that is by getting a smaller plate. The mind will see that your plate is full while still eating less. Once the food is gone, it can possibly signal to your brain that you are full. That same concept could be used with somebody who feels that they drink too much.
I was in this category. When I was in the military I created a drinking problem for myself. I would drink on average 18-24 beers every night. I knew that I had a problem but I was in denial so I never asked for help even though I truly needed to slow down. If I wasn’t going to get help, then I would have to figure out what was wrong. So I incorporated the big plate, small plate rule but instead of getting smaller drinks I did the exact opposite. I realized that I drank so much because it was easy to just get another beer every few gulps. So instead of buying a 32 pack of 12oz cans, I got a 4 pack of tall boys a.k.a 24 oz.
What I learned is that by the time I made it halfway, my drink would start getting warm. To be honest, I would be bored. Bored to the point that I would have to force myself to drink the others. So try it out and see if it could work for you. I can go all day by understanding how the mind works. Whether it is with bad habits and also great ones that you can incorporate into your regular life to push you into a better position.
In the end, always remember that if there is something that you want to change, fix, or make better in you life. Understand first how it all works and only then can you make changes. If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I can give you a different perspective on what you or somebody you know may be going through.