“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our life is change.”
These are the words with which psychologist Dan Gilbert closes his 7 minutes TED talk “The psychology of your future self“.
In his research, Gilbert asked people “how much your life has changed for them in the last ten years?” and then, to people ten years younger, “how much do you think your life will change in the next ten year?“
He discovered that people vastly underestimated how much change they would experience over the next ten years. He calls this the “end of history illusion”. The idea that we are where we need to be so there won’t be so many changes in the future.
Ten years ago, I would never expect to go through so many changes. Yet, here I am. And I honestly struggle to imagine how the next ten years can bring as much change in my life as the past ten.
But you know what?
I love surprises!
I took a short break from this practice.
Not from the writing, only from the publishing.
Last week I kept writing every morning without posting on this blog.
And it makes all the difference in the world.
Without the self-imposed pressure of posting immediately whatever I wrote in fifteen minutes, I easily get lost in research.
Knowing that my time is limited and then I have to put something out there, pushes me to focus on what I already have.
Another valuable lesson is to avoid the trap of chasing perfection. After fifteen minutes, I post what I have. That’s it. I don’t have the time to rewrite, refine and polish. So, I’ve learned to be content with the words that I found. Some days the post is inspired, some days not so much.
But it’s ok.
Knowing that I have to write and post in fifteen minutes frees me from the need to be perfect. As a result, my writing is more authentic. Maybe less chiselled and refined, but indeed more real.
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”Leonardo da Vinci
It’s my father’s birthday.
He would be 72 this year.
He wasn’t a man of many words, but he sure was a man of actions.
Where something needed to be done, he would just step up and do it.
His wisdom was in his deeds.
To a shy kid as I was, it looked like he always knew what the right thing to do was. I now know that probably he didn’t, not always at least, but that never stopped him for doing his part.
I’m more comfortable with words. I always had.
Though, yesterday during a meditation, I had a flash.
I want to do something.
There is so much going on in the big world.
This pandemic and its many consequences, the fight for equality in the USA, the climate struggles.
But also here, close by.
People whose business have been disrupted, kids without schools, the rise of individualism.
I want to do something.
In my own way, as I’m not my father.
As he did, because I also am my father.
When I was a kid, I loved to play with Lego.
I used to have this bucket with all the bricks in different shapes, sizes and colours. It was always an exciting moment when we emptied the bucket on the floor to build something new.
My other big passion at that time was watching giant robots tv shows from Japan.
It comes without saying that my favourite hobby was to build spaceships and robots with my Lego bricks.
Once – I think I was ten years old – I build a particularly good one. It was a big spaceship that could open and fit a smaller one. I was very proud of myself and my work. So proud that I took the glue and stuck all the pieces together. I wanted to preserve that piece of work forever. I put it on display in my room so I could watch it every day.
A few months later, my precious spaceship was already forgotten inside a box. Until one day, while I was building something else, I couldn’t find the pieces I needed. And then I remembered they were glued in my spaceship. I tried to dismount it with the only result to break most of the parts, making them useless.
I think there’s a life lesson about attachment there.
Personally, I never glued my lego bricks since.
My brain is quite good at understanding things. In particular myself and my own behaviours. My mind can dissect the things I’ve said or done, find triggers and patterns, discover what I should change and how I can do things differently. It can also tell me compelling and reasonable stories.
My mind can do all of this. In hindsight.
However, when it really counts, my emotions and my instinct are way faster and louder than my mind.
Do you know that feeling? When you know what would be the right thing to say or do, but you talk and act differently?
To know or understand something in one thing. To live it or be it, is a whole different story.
What I’ve understood is that it’s all about practice. Using the mind to design and plan the exercises I need to become who I want to be.
And then going for it.
Day after day.
Until I’ll get to the point when my thoughts, emotions and instincts are in sync.
It takes time and a lot of failures.
But little by little, I’m getting closer.